Yes, it’s that time again. A time when the tech industry goes into a rare quiet period as it gathers its strength for the year’s biggest gadget bonanza, otherwise know as the Consumer Electronics Show.
For tech enthusiasts, CES is like the Super Bowl, The Oscars and Olympics all rolled into one. And it’s massive. With a show floor that covers the equivalent of dozens of football fields, it’s nearly impossible to see all of the technology being displayed within the 4-day show run.
And yet, every year, that’s what your Sync team endeavours to do.
This year is no exception.
And, as in years past, we will be putting the focus on the hidden gems – the small companies that you may not have heard of but that have cool products which will be hitting the market in 2012. And again, you can count on us to ask that all-important question: “When will Canadians be able to get it?”
Starting late Tuesday Jan. 10, check back here for our daily updates from the show.
Each year, we get asked by friends and family (and readers too!) “What are you expecting this year at the show?” And each year, our eyes go slightly crossed as we attempt to answer. But here’s a quick summary of tech that has been pre-pitched to us by the hundreds of PR companies representing CES exhibitors this year:
- Wearable tech. Every year this category grows and 2012 won’t be an exception. Video still dominates with cameras mounted to eyewear, goggles, hats – you name it. But where once these devices were simple record-only units, the latest models will have full wireless integration with smartphones and tablets, letting you preview and review what you’re shooting.
- Smart TVs. Another category that has been getting a lot of attention in the past few years. Look for internet connectivity to expand beyond the top-of-the-line models into every screen size from 19″ and up. We’ll also see a host of new services designed to run on these enhanced TVs – everything from games and social media to home security and automation solutions. Plus, GoogleTV – a service which has yet to debut in Canada – will likely be feature on many more products this year after spending 2011 in near-obscurity even in its home market of the U.S.
- Personal Power. No we’re not talking about Anthony Robbins. This category is dedicated to keeping the explosion of portable gadgets charged up, no matter where owners take them. We’ve even been told there will be a product that can charge your cellphone with just water!
- Apple-influence everywhere. For a company that hasn’t exhibited at CES in years, Apple has a surprisingly big presence at the show. It come in the form of accessories for their iOS products (iPhone, iPad etc.) and it has become nearly impossible to find a booth that doesn’t show integration with Apple’s products in some way, shape or form. This year will be the same – perhaps even more so given that Apple’s iPad remains the only serious competitor in the tablet field a year after Android was expected to take the lead.
- 3D. Despite the fact that consumers have shown what can best be described as a luke-warm appetite for this technology, companies are pushing ahead with 3D on every screen they can get their hands on. Last year, it seemed as though a format war of sorts had broken out in the 3D world: Active shutter vs. passive lens. With more and more consumers declaring their preference for the inexpensive and light-weight passive glasses, we think 2012 may see passive emerge as the dominant standard.
- In-Car Tech. CES has had a dedicated auto-tech area for several years. This year, we think major manufacturers such as Ford will show cars that are every bit the communications and entertainment hubs that your living rooms have already become. Is this a good thing? Time will tell.
- Windows 8 PCs, phones, tablets. Windows 8 hasn’t launched yet (officially) but plenty of hardware vendors are already at work creating devices that will run the OS. And since Microsoft has promised that the newest version of Windows will be touch-screen friendly in a way that Windows 7 simply isn’t, it could be that Apple’s greatest tablet threat won’t be coming from Android after all.