CES 2012 is now long gone, but we have seen a number of things that will likely mark the rest of the year, so we wanted to report back, and share with you our top 5 trends of CES 2012. Drop a comment to tell us what your top 5 trends are!
1/ Ultrabooks are real
Ultrabooks have killed Netbooks, which is now a “zombie” computer category that catered to only two aspects of mobile computing: size and price. Unfortunately, tablet blows them out of the water for size at a similar or lower price. On the other hand, people still want computers that are thin and light, comfortable to use, relatively fast – and they don’t mind paying an extra for it. The Ultrabook category was born to address this need, and this is working. With models like the HP Envy Spectre (see a demo), the Dell XPS 13 and the new Samsung Series 9, mobile computers start 2012 with a bang.
2/ Smarter devices, Android spreading beyond Smartphones and Tablets
A few months ago, we had predicted that consumer cameras and other “dumb” electronic devices will soon get Android, a fact that has been confirmed at CES 2012. Polaroid came to the show with the Polaroid SC1630, an Android-powered smart camera which will boast a high definition 16-megapixel camera that has built-in 3X optical zoom, a touchscreen display on the flipside and Wi-Fi connectivity, which lets you upload photos to social networks with but a single button press. It comes with support for Google’s Android Market and practical apps pre-loaded, such as the Polaroid Zink app that lets users easily print photos on the inkless Zink portable printer, the camera gets a really interesting new set of capabilities.
Following Samsung, Sony launched its own Android media player at the show, the Sony Walkman Z-series. A number of Wifi enabled camcorders were launched as well: Samsung QF20, Canon Vixia M52 and M50, JVC Everio Wi-Fi and the Sony Bloggie Live HD that enables live video streaming to online service Qik. 3D was not so trendy anymore and Smart TVs stole the show with Samsung announcing its new Smart TV lineup that will feature a built-in camera for hand gesture, voice commands, face recognition, and video conferencing via Skype.
Nyxio, a manufacturer that provides Smart TVs with built-in Windows media center, has announced the launch of its Android-powered TV at CES 2012. The Nyxio Smart TV will feature a touch-capable display,voice control and screen sizes ranging from 21.5” to 65”.
3/ Intel dives deeper into low-power territory
While many industry observers regularly watch Intel’s handset with a skeptical eye, most forget that Intel has made some steady progress in lowering the power of its chips. At CES 2012, Intel has presented a pretty case, and the first handset and tablet reference designs do look very good, and so are the benchmarks. Core for core, Intel has about twice the performance of ARM-based competitors, but the “Medfield” chip only has one core at the moment. That said, single-threaded performance does matter a lot, since most apps aren’t optimized for multi-core. (above: the Lenovo K800 the first commercial smartphone to launch with Medfield)
4/ OLED and Ultra-HD displays eclipse stereo-3D
We usually roll our eyes when we hear (stereo) “3D”, but we were clearly impressed by self-illuminated 55” displays from LG, Samsung and Sony. LG and Samsung are using OLED, while Sony has presented a new Crystal LED technology, which is at the “prototype” stage for now. The image quality on these self-illuminated screens is simply awesome, and we expect most people to be more interested by higher image quality than by “3D”. Don’t miss our hands-in with the LG OLED TV
5/ Better and more powerful connectivity, thanks to the Cloud and new 4G LTE offerings
Most leading consumer electronics manufacturers now have their own cloud services to offer “seamless” content delivery and better devices synchronization. At CES 2012, we have seen a number of examples illustrating the continuous effort that the industry is putting into building more cloud services, accessible from a wide array of gadgets. At the press conference, Sony showed a live demo of its Sony Entertainment Network that includes Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited, Sony Reader store and Play Memories, that was launched at the show,a new suite of photo/video management tools hosted in the cloud and accessible from multiple Sony devices. On the network side, AT&T continues to roll out its 4G LTE network, and Sprint has committed to use LTE as well (the Sprint LTE Galaxy Nexus has been announced). Now, all we need are LTE smartphones that have great battery life. If you are familiar with the different “4G” networks, read our “4G Networks, where are we at” post.