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CES 2012 - What Will Be This Year's Hot Products?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 by cyberacoustics

In less than two weeks, the marvel of CES will begin. People from all over the world come to Las Vegas to see what the electronics industry will showcase for 2012. If it plugs in, runs on batteries, or uses solar power, then more than likely you’ll find it at CES, and the question is always “Which product will steal the show this year?” I already know that mobility is going to be hot once again. Any hand-held device like phones and tablets will dominate the floor space. Here is what I expect to see.

The latest rumored device is the HTC Quattro in a 10.1 platform along with the quad-core HTC Edge and dual-core HTC Ville. I’m also anticipating a quad-core processor update for Acer's Iconia 700, which is rumored to be Acer’s attempt to impress us a little more than it did with the unengaging Iconia A500. The A700 is also said to feature a 1080p resolution display, which ought to grab a few headlines. Samsung has promised to launch the Samsung Galaxy S III at CES 2012, which should be exciting. LG will be there with the LG Optimus U1, which has the secret power of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc HD is also expected to be introduced at CES.

I have no good news for you console gamers. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the PS4, Wii U and the Xbox 720 (?). As an event more concerned with the tech industry as a whole, CES doesn't seem like an appropriate venue to debut a gaming console. Microsoft in particular has been known to do their own thing when it comes to console announcements. A more suitable event will be E3 in June 2012, where all eyes are on the gaming industry, makes a lot more sense. Sony hinted that we'd likely see a PS4 launch around the same time as the Xbox 720 release, but Sony isn’t always reliable.

So while Nintendo won't actually have a booth or major announcement at CES, the company is "working with the 2012 International CES management and will offer demos of the upcoming Wii U console to members of the media who did not see the system at the 2011 E3 Expo.” That leads me to wonder if there has been anything in the works at Nintendo to change the Wii U, since it got a shockingly negative reception at E3. Only time will tell.

Another hot item will be Smart HDTVs. 2012 is going to be interesting as we are seeing Apple moving forward with its assault on television. More details of the rumored Apple flat-panel TV have surfaced, thanks to a report from The Wall Street Journal last week. Here are the key features highlighted in the article:

- Wirelessly streams shows, movies and other content from different platforms

- Voice and motion control

- Supports "pay once and consume anywhere" function to watch the same content across devices

- Uses smartphones and tablets as remote control

- Digital video recording and cloud computing integration

- New video and pay services

Most of these ideas are hardly new and some are already available in current smart TVs. That said, it's too early to dismiss this Apple product judging by the company’s track record. Just look at how the iPod, iPhone and iPad have shaped the consumer electronics market and user behaviors.

The best thing about CES is seeing the small companies that have great ideas. It is like finding the whole in the wall place that’s got the best food. CES has announced that its new Eureka Park TechZone will feature 94 startup companies occupying some 9,000 square feet of floor space at The Venetian. There were some real winners last year and I expect to find some more.

Let me know in the comments what you want me to search for - I love a treasure hunt.

Steve Murphy, CA CFO


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