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What To Expect At CES 2013
The Consumer Electronics Show, the year's largest gadget expo, gets underway next week. Historically, it has been the place for major electronics companies to show off their most amazing and futuristic wares. Here's a quick list of stuff that debuted at CES: the VCR, the audio cassette, the Pong home console, affordable digital watches, the Nintendo Entertainment System, Tetris, the Apple Newton, and the Palm Pre. Here's an awesome photo roundup of past CESes.
It hasn't been that way for a while; technology is no longer a niche market for hobbyists, and the introduction of new gadgets is major national news, so the big companies have stopped announcing flagship products or stopped attending CES altogether. Why bury your news among a thousand other products when you can wait a few weeks and have the news cycle all to yourself? This year, Microsoft isn't even attending, and the other real players in tech--Apple, Google, and Amazon--either haven't attended in years or have never bothered.
But that also opens the door for smaller companies, which have a larger platform during CES than they'd have normally. We don't know exactly what to expect from them, because those companies often are not on our radar until they reveal something that wows us on the show floor. Barring that, here are some other things we're pretty sure we'll see.
Tons of Windows 8 stuff. Windows 8, Microsoft's most innovative version of Windows in, well, maybe ever, is promising and super interesting, though it hasn't been a blockbuster success. We've only just seen the first wave of Windows devices, so we're expecting to see lots and lots of crazy form factors, from small tablets to large tablets, convertibles to detachables, and probably a few we haven't even thought of yet. Will they be better than the Lenovo Yoga 13, our current favorite laptop? We hope so!
4K is the new 3-D is the new HD. One of the trademarks of CES for the past few years has been wildly expensive TVs that may or may not actually exist. Last year's was a $25,000 55-inch OLED, but this year I think 4K will be the big wow-TV. 4K is four times the resolution of what we think of as high-definition. It's pretty amazing, but only if you're very very close to the screen--from 10 feet away, sitting on a couch, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Still, we're expecting a whole bunch of 4K screens, and we will get all up in them.
You are fat. We haven't been impressed with fitness trackers in the past, but that's not because we don't like the idea of fitness trackers--it's just that fitness trackers aren't smart enough yet. CES is the perfect place for a new crop of trackers to pop up, and in fact, the Basis Band, one of the most innovative and intelligent fitness trackers we've seen yet, debuted at CES last year. These gadgets are mostly made by smaller companies, and we wouldn't be surprised if we see some very cool new high-tech ways to get in shape.
Connect your home. Soon enough, we'll be able to control every element of our homes through our phones. Lights, temperature, humidity, all of our appliances, door locks, everything. We're not there yet--mostly we see a lot of cobbled-together "connected" tools--but we'll move closer on the path to the connected home this year at CES.