What To Expect At CES 2017

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The Consumer Electronics Show 2017 or CES 2017 is almost upon us (January 5-8, Las Vegas), and while many of you are preparing your New Year’s Eve, the electronics industry is gearing up for its most high-profile event of 2017 – the show’s 50th anniversary.

Below is what we think you should expect from the show, but we highly recommend that you follow the hectic unfolding of CES on Ubergizmo, daily, if not hourly. Although there are tens of thousands of new products, we will look, try and filter so you can effortlessly glance at the most interesting ones. We’ll close the show with our Best of CES, and you can look back at the Ubergizmo’s Best of CES 2016 to get a taste of things to come.

This year, Ubergizmo’s main sponsor at CES is Lenovo, so we would like to thank them, and remind you that they will show their new products at CES Unveiled, an event that will happen on Tuesday, Jan 3 at 5pm Las Vegas / 2pm ET. Lenovo has already announced some of their new products for CES, we have listed some of them below, and you can follow Lenovo at CES on Twitter @lenovo with the tag #LENOVOCES or on Facebook at facebook.com/lenovo. The official Lenovo CES webpage with the countdown.

Televisions and HiFi

It’s undeniable that CES is the event of the year for Televisions, where trends will be announced for 2017. Obviously, both Samsung and LG will occupy as much surface on the show as they can grab with amazing display setups.

If last year can serve as a guide, LG will likely promote OLED, while Samsung will push its SUHD LCD-based technology. Both companies have taken radically different approaches, and we will see how things turn out (don’t miss our LCD  vs. OLED reference article).

But these are not the two only players: Sony is rumored to show OLED TVs powered by Android TV and LeEco may leverage its 2 Billion dollars acquisition of Vizio to wow us with affordable TVs in addition to the LeTV U4 TV-box ($80). We visited their Silicon Valley offices earlier in 2016.

NVIDIA is also rumored to be showing a new NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV box at CES 2017. Philips, Toshiba, and other players are likely to show new TVs as well. This year, there will be no escaping from HDR TV or High Dynamic Range TV, and 8K resolution won’t be too far as well, although, in practical terms, most TVs will be announced with a 4K resolution.

HDR makes the high-contrast scenes look more vivid and more life-like. Previous display technology limitations had a tendency to make these scene a little “flat.”

Computers

 

In recent years, CES has become a good place to show new PC computers. Lenovo launches a host of PCs every year (Lenovo shot its first CES launch salvo on December 28 with the ThinkPad 13, ThinkPad Yoga 370 and ThinkPad T570 among other things…), and Dell has already teased about a new design-oriented AiO PC and confirmed that an XPS 13 is in the works. Where there is Dell, Alienware is never too far away…

We have already received press invites from MSI (Gaming PCs/Laptops), and ASUS is rumored to launch new Chromebooks, although Computex (in Taiwan) is where ASUS shines the most. We’re also heading to Xiaomi’s press event, and they are certainly a PC maker…

Monitors are also an important part of the computing experience, and you can be sure that LG, Samsung, HP, Dell and other large monitor OEMs will show new products. On the menu, higher resolution, larger size, better response time, depending on the use case. Monitor’s visual quality has made impressive gains, while prices have gone down substantially. It is one of the most attractive updates for computers.

Smartphones

Although Mobile World Congress (MWC, we’ll be there too) is “the” phone show of 2017, CES has a history of yielding interesting launches. We know that LG will be showing new (mid-range) 2017 handsets because it’s been announced.

We’re also very curious about what this new BlackBerry/TCL business will mean for handsets. On December 15, TCL has announced that it will exclusively build BlackBerry phones. A few days later, they confirmed that New BlackBerry handsets are coming to CES 2017. This would be part of an overall strategy to generate growth into the BB brand.

Huawei also has a habit of unveiling handsets at CES, with the Huawei Mate 8 shown last year. It wouldn’t be surprising at all that a Huawei handset would be announced. With the Sony XPERIA XA successor leaked, there’s a good chance that it could be announced at CES 2017.

There’s just about zero chance that Samsung would announce the Galaxy S8 at CES, but some mid-range handsets are not completely out of the question, although last year, Samsung chose to announce PCs, and we expect the same thing to happen this year.

Finally, CES 2017 may be the show of the foldable smartphones. Samsung has shown various concepts over the years, and with Lenovo joining this trend, we could see these concepts get closer to becoming products. Interestingly, T-Mobile is the only carrier that plans to make a consumer-oriented announcement at CES. Usually, AT&T hosts developer events at that time.

Cars / Auto

Following last year’s successful (media-wise) introduction, Faraday Future (FF) has already announced that it will show “extreme technology” at CES 2017, whatever that means. The CES official schedule shows that other automakers will also be presenting their vision for 2017. Hyundai, BMW, Jaguar, Ford, Nissan and other prominent automakers will be demonstrating new concepts.

Honda, for example, has already posted a “personal mobility” teaser which shows small transportation means that are radically different from existing products on the street.

Virtual Reality

There are really two fronts with VR: hardware and games/content. In terms of hardware, the heavy hitters Oculus and PlayStation VR have all shot their salvo, but an HTC VIVE 2 could be shown, and a VR YouTube could be demoed on PS VR, Netflix VR isn’t far away either.

At CES, we may see more prototypes such as the Snapdragon VR 820, or something like it powered by the upcoming Snapdragon 835, which will be revealed at CES 2017 (leaked 835 benchmarks are already out there).

Additionally, it is likely that there will be a host of mobile-driven headsets, although Google’s DayDream and Samsung’s GearVR remain the tip of the spear for mobile VR, with more Samsung VR Headsets on the horizon. It will be interesting to see if there are new PC VR Headsets from the likes of HP, ASUS, MSI or Lenovo – all of whom were named by Microsoft as working on $299+ VR headsets.

Artificial Intelligence and Smart Homes / IoT

Artificial intelligence (A.I) is making its way to more and more places. Perhaps, “perceptive computing” is a better way to describe it since it is the main value that Deep Learning has brought to this space. Expect more refinements in self-driving cars, for example.

Another form of A.I is the natural language processing which, thanks to Alexa and Google Home, is allowing people to control and query more things, simply by speaking to an electronic assistant.

There will be no shortage of home automation devices, and even home Appliances, but the next-generation WiFi seems to us like one of the most interesting developments in the home. With Self-Organized Networks (SON), WiFi networks will go from being centralized to being a small mesh in the home. That translates into better coverage, higher speeds and more importantly, less setup. A good home network is the required foundation for any smart home.

Wearables and Drones

Ubergizmo co-founder Eliane Fiolet during flight tests. Photos by Brian Craig

CES has become the place to launch new drones as well. Last year, Parrot made a huge entry with its Parrot Disco drone, and we hope that Drone makers will wow us once again.

There is a huge variety of drones at CES, many you and even us have never heard of, but so far most of the stunning designs tend to come from established players, the competition tends to attack based on pricing and the occasional new feature.

Wearables are also plentiful, although it is a very tough market to get noticed and to innovate. Of course, there are plenty of ideas – some quite attractive – but ultimately, the success in the Wearable space is to bring continuous value to the user, with an experience that is satisfying.

Smartwatches and Sports bands remain the most successful applications, and even then, a lot of work remains. It’s unlikely that Samsung would launch something since the Gear S3 watch just hit the shelves. Huawei has announced its new sports band as well. We’ll see what the competition has in store for us.

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