Prediction round-up: What we’ll see at CES 2012

CES 2012CES 2012 is upon us, and that means the months of predictions are finally coming to a head. While there are always a few surprises that manage to sneak through, we’re thoroughly prepared to see some long-standing speculation and rumors fulfilled. Get a look at all our CES predictions, and stand by for full confirmation starting next week.


We might as well put this category out of its misery right away. Ultrabooks have become the tablet of this year’s CES: everyone’s making one, Apple got there first, and it’s very possible that only a handful of makes and models will find their way to true success. But we know they’ll be there in droves this year.

A couple of specific ultrabooks there’s been some frenzy about are the HP Spectre, a lineup of LG ultrabooks, and the Lenovo ThinkPad ultrabook.

Windows 8

We’ve been anticipating Windows 8 since last year’s CES. Over the year, more details about the upgrade have surfaced, and we expect to get an even more thorough understanding of the OS next week. Get ready to see a number of “Windows 8 ready” tablets and laptops.

android tablets(More) Android tablets

There were more than a few tablets on display at CES 2011, and of course, many (most) of these got lost in the shuffle. And while the iPad and iPad 2 still enjoy an easy command of the market, there were some new challengers this year that made their mark. For all their early kinks, the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Asus Transformer Prime were able to give Apple a slight run for its money, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab remains a top Android option.

We expect these small victories to act like kindling and renew the Android tablet wildfire. A tablet is now a device that electronics manufactures want to have in their arsenal, and this year’s CES will be rife with them.

4G smartphones

4G has taken its sweet time getting into consumers’ hands, and this year at CES we expect it will finally make its biggest push yet. Now that all four major networks support 4G technology, there are likely to be a slew of smartphones and tablets boasting the capability at the show next week.

Smart everything (cars, sound systems, homes)

This year, everything is going wireless. We’ll see devices ranging from personal electronics–like speaker docs or cameras, to big appliances and tech like dishwashers and cars–that are “smart.” Plenty of built-in apps (many of which will use the Android platform) will be installed in everyday use items.

We’ve seen glimpses at the “smart home” concept before, the interconnected environment that caters to a family’s every need. But we think this will become less conceptual and inch closer to the department store floor this year. Especially cars: a vehicle with a touchscreen dash and integrated apps like Pandora and Google Maps used to be a novelty, but it will be entirely main stream this year.

4K TVs

lg-4kThis is a rather new trend but one that will get its legs at CES. 4K is a new resolution standard (3840×2160), and it’s the format most films are actually shot in. LG has already taken the plunge and announced it will be showing off an 84-inch 4K TV at CES (in addition to its 55-inch OLED TV).

Problem is that 4K doesn’t quite work for Internet TVs. Streaming content platforms don’t offer 4K streams (except YouTube), so it sort of forces buyers to choose between insanely high resolution or a connected device.

Still, we think we’ll see some manufacturers tip-toeing cautiously into this territory.

Glasses-free 3D

It’s not CES without an overwhelming surplus of 3D! Over the last few years we’ve seen more 3D devices at CES than we care to remember. But this year, we think companies will turn the corner and get rid of the glasses. They’ve been the longstanding barrier between consumers and the technology and a handful of manufacturers were just starting to get rid of the things last year. Now we’re expecting more than a few big name brands will be going glasses-free and showing off superior quality. Will this finally get buyers on board with 3D? If not, nothing will.

fujifilm-x-pro-1-cameraCompact ICL camera systems

These compact, DSLR-rivaling camera systems have picked up steam in recent years. While CES isn’t a major outlet for camera manufacturers, the big names all make an appearance and we’re expecting to see a couple of compact ICL lens devices in the mix. Our gut (and a host of leaked information) tells us that Fujifilm will be showing off the X-Pro1. Refreshes to current lineups could be a possibility as well, and we’ll be scoping out the likely culprits to find out.

Gesture-based technology

We’re going to continue to see more and more gesture-based technology premiere at CES. For the most part, this has been a gaming feature, but we’re going to see it woven into other elements. Manufacturers will be showing off devices that recognize and respond to users based on video input and gesture, to varying degrees of success.

nokiaNokia smartphones

The Nokia-Windows partnership will show off a new flagship Windows 7 smartphone, the Lumia 900. But Nokia isn’t stopping there, and will reveal much about its mobile roadmap for the coming year. From early reports, it looks like we’ll be hearing about handsets at different price ranges, some higher-end devices boasting LTE support and others that hit a lower price point.

Movies & TV

How ‘invisible’ effects brought Winnie the Pooh to life in ‘Christopher Robin’

Christopher Robin earned an Academy Award nomination for the innovative way it merged Winnie the Pooh and other imaginary characters with its human cast in postwar London. Here's how visual effects studio Framestore worked its movie magic.
Product Review

Sony's Xperia 10 falls frustratingly short of budget brilliance

Better know for premium products, Sony does also have a budget smartphone range, but can the Sony Xperia 10 compete with great cheap phones from Nokia and Motorola? We put it through its paces to find out how it measures up.
Product Review

Motorola's sexy Moto G7 will change the way you look at budget phones

With glass curves, a large display, and an eye-catching price tag the Moto G7 will turn plenty of heads in the budget smartphone market. We tested it out to see if Motorola has done enough to top the value charts.

T-Mobile, unlocked Galaxy Note 9 phones finally getting Android Pie update

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Movies & TV

Why First Man’s Oscar-winning visual effects are a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the award-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that made the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later and won the film an Oscar at the 2019 Academy…

From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.

Long before Gates or Jobs, 6 women programmed the first digital computer

ENIAC was the world's first electronic digital computer, and it was programmed by a team of six women. Remembering their contributions could inspire more young women to pursue careers in the tech industry.

One of Nat Geo’s first female photographers captured stories others ignored

Annie Griffiths has spent 40 years as a photojournalist, starting her career as one of the first women photographers at National Geographic. She now runs her own nonprofit working to empower women around the globe.

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Smart city planners are rethinking parking by getting rid of it

What will parking look like in smart cities of the future? Will we even need parking spaces? As more people are deserting car ownership, planners are coming up with concepts for parking.
Emerging Tech

Blockchain is overhyped, but it’s also perfect for California’s drought problem

With California’s aquifers overdrawn, the state is making a push to better regulate groundwater use, and a group of researchers have an intriguing solution, combining two exciting technologies: Blockchain and the internet of things.

Devil May Cry is an aging series, but its demon hunters still party hard

It has been more than a decade since we've been to Capcom's original Devil May Cry series, and it has returned in a big way with Devil May Cry 5. The game revels in excess to great effect.

13 inspiring female photographers to follow on Instagram

On International Women's Day, here are some known and lesser-known women photographers to fill your Instagram feed with inspiration, from travel and street photography to fine art and commercial work.