Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) predictions and coverage plans

2

January

On Tuesday I'm headed to Las Vegas and to Gadget Heaven, the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The CES is known as the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology and all the latest and greatest personal tech items are announced there each year. ces-logo.jpgBeginning Wednesday I will be scoping out the gadgets and sending you as much information as I can from the show floor. Here are my thoughts on the main technology themes we can expect at the show.

 

  • Tablets, tablets everywhere - The iPad started the tablet revolution and it's just beginning. Samsung, HP, Dell, and Research in Motion now sell their own tablets and more are coming. The last two days there has been a lot of buzz about a tablet from Vizio that may have been intentionally leaked in a TV commercial during the Rose Bowl. According to Oppenheimer & Co., tablet sales were on a pace to reach 15.1 million units in 2010 and that number is expected to skyrocket to more than 115 million by 2014. One analyst has predicted we will see 50 new tablet computers at CES this year.
  • Internet-connected everything - If you've shopped for home theater components lately you know almost everything is Internet-ready now. TVs, Blu-ray players, the Apple TV and Roku boxes are just a few things too add to your home network but more are coming. Then add security systems, alarm clocks, gaming consoles, tablets, phones, etc....so we're gonna need better home networks which leads me to...
  • Home networks and homeplug - Have you heard of homeplug technology? With WiFi becoming a household word over the past 7-8 years, homeplug took a back seat and never really blossomed. But now with everything but our toilets connected to the Internet, we need more bandwidth and speed than a single WiFi router can provide. Homeplug devices plug into your AC sockets and use your existing copper wiring to create hardwired networks. Hardwire connections are faster and you don't have to worry about distributing a wireless signal all over your house.
  • Distracted driving - The major cell phone network providers, peripheral manufacturers and insurance companies are finally acknowledging the tragic situations being played out each day because of texting and driving. AT&T released a gripping documentary video on the issue just before the holidays and State Farm created an Android app that sends auto-replies to text messages. Cell phone peripheral and mobile electronics companies have a huge opportunity to develop devices that can keep us connected with safety as a priority. A special TechZone at CES will feature products that will assist in auto collision avoidance, land drift assistance, parking, speed monitoring, hands-free, text-to-voice, driver drowsiness detection and much more.
  • 3D home theater - More and more 3D TVs, Blu-ray players and cameras are hitting the market every week and we should see a lot more at the show. As 3D develops the next big thing will be 3D video communication and maybe even holographic video conferencing. That scene with Darth Vader and the Emperor is going to be you, saying to your boss, "what is thy bidding, my master?" during a conference call. (Cue heavy breathing here.)

Wednesday is media day so I'll be attending a bunch of press conferences and will get sneak peeks at some of the bigger items. The show opens on Thursday and I will be there through Saturday morning. I'm planning to travel light and only carry my iPad, some small cameras and my iPhone. I can't post to this blog with my iPad, so during the day most of my posts will be sent out through Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't found me in those places yet, here are some links:

Twitter - @TimesGadgetGuy

Facebook - The Gadget Guy on tampabay.com

The Twitter and Facebook posts will be brief and in the evenings I plan to post a summary of the day's finds here, with more details. I also hope to post some short videos featuring the cool gadgets I find.

There will be lots of information coming from many sources at the show and I plan to send you as much as I can. To be a little more unique, however, I also plan to spend some time at the smaller booths digging for the cool and inexpensive gadgets that will make your life easier and also make you smile.

So keep watching because what happens in Vegas this week is definitely not staying in Vegas!

[Last modified: Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:51pm]

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