Every year, come January, everyone who matters in the tech world assembles in Las Vegas for a week-long technology conference which sets industry’s agenda for the year to come. The 50th edition of the Consumer Electronics Show or CES 2017, which is now underway, promises multiple showfloors, each the size of the average football field, packed with gadgets which consumers the world over will be lusting after – at least until the next CES rolls around. Here’s an overview of the trends we expect to dominate the premier technology trade show this year.
CES is no stranger to walls of televisions and this year will be no different. The push towards 4K may not have made a major dent in the Indian market yet, but major TV manufacturers are already set to unleash the next stage of televisual evolution: 8K and HDR. Expect all the usual Japanese names, as well as a few unheralded Chinese ones such as LeEco and TCL to show up with units boasting of the new tech. Another interesting sub-trend to watch out for in the TV space will be the battle between the various display technologies: LG is rooting for OLED, Sony’s still convinced LCD is good enough, while Samsung is pushing the new Quantum Dot technology.
Also Read: 7 Things We Loved at CES 2016
The virtual reality hype train generated a lot of buzz last year, but it did not translate it into significant sales numbers. However, this year, all the major players are finally sure of their tech and ready to make a strong push to market. So while last year’s showfloor was dominated by standalone proof-of-concept demonstrations of VR, this year could see the launch of a number of major games and applications that will be available to end users. And of course, if the Microsofts and HTCs disappoint, there will be a massive second-rung of VR-focused startups exhibiting their own virtual chops.
The trend towards making the average home smarter, with a combination of artificial intelligence and a whole load of sensors, has picked up a strong head of steam over the past few years. There is now a strong ecosystem of connected appliances begging for a capable command centre. Cue the entry of the personal assistants: stationary speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home and even robots on wheels like ASUS’ Zenbo. Expect more product and service integration, fresh features, better voice recognition and a general maturing of personal assistant devices this year.
For many years now, the auto industry has slowly and steadily been expanding its presence at CES. With developments in the self-driving space reaching fever pitch, the auto majors are set to permanently cement their space on the showfloor. There will be a lot of autonomous concept cars from recognisable brands like Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota, as well as add-on components from pure tech companies. The standout product though, will be Faraday Future’s FF91 self-driving electric car, which is set to be unveiled at the show. According to the company, it can do 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and find a parking spot all by itself with zero driver input.
The world’s most valuable tech company, Apple, famously doesn’t do CES. They prefer to control the media narrative tightly with their own highly-choreographed events. However, when Apple makes a move, the whole tech world reacts and that reaction will be visible at this year’s CES. Cupertino’s killing off of the headphone port and their wholehearted adoption of USB-C and Lightning for data transfer and charging will drive an industry-wide shift in connection standards and spawn a horde of new peripherals – headphones, speakers, dongles, adapters, external storage devices and the like. Of course, these will remain expensive and make little sense for the average buyer until the second wave of major device manufacturers jump on the bandwagon.