We just finished CES 2013, and my poor feet will be a long time recovering. While I still think it comes far too early in the year, this year’s show did have a number of amazing announcements. Next year is slated to be even bigger, because a number of technologies we saw hinted at this year will begin to go mainstream and the overall theme will likely be “bigger is better.”
It’s still a whole year away, but let’s go through what I think we’ll see at CES 2014.
One of the hottest products at CES this year was an Android-based smartphone with a 6.1-inch screen, which is within shooting distance of the ideal convergence product: a 7-inch tablet with phone capability and dual subsidies (one from the carrier, and one from the retailer). The result will clearly be a large phone optimized for media consumption and online shopping. A Retina-class display with a stronger backlight is a given, as is a very low entry price, tied to that two-year contract we’ve come to hate. But size shouldn’t be a hindrance, since many of us have either shifted to using headsets, or holding our phones in front of us and talking to them. I also expect more people will be walking into light poles after these phones hit the market.
Yes, I know 4K TVs just launched. They aren’t even in stores yet. But if nothing else, CES is about showcasing that the cutting-edge tech you bought the prior holiday season is obsolete, even if the new stuff is months or years out. This means that LG, Samsung, or Sony are likely to showcase the next generation of TV at CES 2014: the 8K TV. This technology will surely be one of those incredibly amazing moves that will keep you from fully funding your retirement yet one more year, but hey, look at it this way: You probably won’t live till then anyway, thanks to global warming or an incoming asteroid.
Internet TV service from Apple or Intel
Intel is getting pretty close to launching its own TV service, which would be similar to what you get from a cable company, but delivered over the internet. Apple is on the same course, but isn’t as well staffed. (Likely because Steve Jobs thought TV watching was for idiots. No, that’s not true, he thought watching TV turned people into idiots.) In any case, expect at least one big (enough to make Netflix and Hulu obsolete), compelling Internet-based TV service to launch at CES 2014. Apple would never announce at the show, but could try to steal the momentum from it by announcing during the show someplace else, as it did with the first iPhone.
Lots more electric vehicles
Automakers only made tentative plans for electric vehicle launches at CES 2013, because during the planning stages, it still wasn’t clear whether Obama would win or lose. If he lost, the electrical vehicle subsidies would have been toast. But since he won, expect to see electric car, scooter, motorcycle, and skateboard vendors to multiply massively in 2014, We’ll walk away with many more electric alternatives to both gas and exercise. You may turn into a fat blimp, but at least you’ll be riding in style!
One Chinese car company
One of the hotter sections of the CES show floor this year was automotive, and while Ford won for content, Audi clearly had Ford beat for staging. There were several Korean and Japanese car vendors at the show and one Italian (Fiat), but I didn’t see a single Chinese car vendor at the show. Meanwhile, the tech section was dominated by Chinese vendors, including Hisense, the company that took Microsoft’s old spot. Next year, I expect one Chinese car vendor to show up. While its cars will look a lot like cars from either US or European vendors, they’ll also be high quality, and amazingly cheap. They are also more likely to perfect in-car entertainment, allowing it to be upgraded and be far more consistent between car lines. A carmaker with that kind of product could even scare the Koreans, but I’ll bet they’ll be having a problem getting through the DOT approval process and founding dealerships.
10-hour battery life on PCs and tablets, and bigger tabletop computers
The PC segment is due for a big change next year as Windows tablets and notebooks move, in mass, to a 10-hour battery life standard for x86 configurations. Meanwhile, the traditionally weaker ARM configurations will begin to match their Intel- and AMD-based competitors in power. Tabletop computers, a new form factor spearheaded by Lenovo this year, are likely to grow even bigger. We’ll likely have one that is bigger than the huge 3M model – based on a big-screen TV – that was showcased this year. Think 30 inches and bigger. Of course, this will only happen if we seem some really compelling games this year. I’m still hoping the one I’m hooked on that runs on the Microsoft Surface table will get ported to Windows 8.
One big surprise
This will all be cool stuff, but I’m also expecting a few surprises at the show, like maybe the sneak early announcement of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720, the second generation of Nvidia’s Shield, or even an electric vehicle (under development) that blends the excitement of a motorcycle, with Segway technology, and the safety of car. (Yep it is coming in 2014.) So if you think this year’s CES was amazing, wait until next year. I think I’ll hold off on buying that new 4K TV for a bit myself, until after next year’s show.
Guest contributor Rob Enderle is the founder and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, and one of the most frequently quoted tech pundits in the world. Opinion pieces denote the opinions of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Digital Trends.