CES 2013: What's Next in Digital Media
Watching Qualcomm keynote video with wife at dinner table. Better than Seinfeld.
Dan Frommer, @fromedome
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the world's largest gadget show where the consumer electronics industry sets out the trends for the coming year, and this year's show was the largest ever. But as the competition intensifies, so does the need to impress. Qualcomm lead the charge with a celebrity-packed keynote including Maroon 5, Big Bird, and Desmond Tutu, along with some especially memorable moments. Keynotes aside, here are some of the bigger trends that will change the way we work and play in 2013:
Your current TV is blurry. Your state-of-the-art Full 1080P HD TV is now blurry according to the television industry as it looks to convince you to upgrade to 4K sets in the coming months. Also know as Ultra HD, 4K sets promise four times the resolution of HD and will be coming from all the major players including Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic. It's a logical progression from HD and should be more successful than 3D, that let's face it, has failed to take off. The only problem is that 4K content is few and far between at the moment in the home, but at least it is everywhere in movie theatres. Meanwhile, LED and Plasma technologies have been battling it out for years, but both are likely to be replaced by OLED in the near future. A number of companies including LG, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic all had OLED TV sets to show off at CES. For now they're expensive or not available yet. But the picture quality is stunning and clearly the future.
Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are no longer game changers. The world of gaming used to be controlled by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. If CES 2013 shows us anything that's unlikely to be the case for much longer as plenty of new smaller companies and start-ups enter the arena. CES saw a portable gaming console called Project Shield from Nvidia, game streaming service Valve show off a number of potential prototypes for an under the TV box, and a couple of dedicated gaming tablets from companies like Archos and Razer. The new devices have Android or the PC at their core so instantly come with a plethora of games. It's going to get nasty.
You are the media. While the hardcore gadget fans await Google Project Glass, smart watches were everywhere on the show floor led by Pebble, a successful Kickstarter project that starts to ship this month. Whether they were focused on aiding you doing sports, telling you you've got a phone call, or just letting you see the time, the thriving industry expects your watch to do a lot more than just let you know you are late. There was also a parade of "smart" fitness devices this year like these.
Your dashboard is the new battlefield. The car is the next front line in tech and there were plenty of examples from companies like Audi, QNX, Tesla, and others all keen to show what the dashboard of the future will look like. While some of the tech will appear this year, because of the long lead time of cars, much won't appear until 2015 or beyond. Still get ready for big interactive displays and always on connectivity.
Tablets really are everywhere. If you're wondering whether to go for a 7-inch or 10-inch tablet you are doing it wrong. Electronics manufacturers at CES want you to think table not tablet size. Asus, Lenovo, and others all touted tablets 20-inches and above with Lenovo going as far as showing off a table-size 27-inch tablet that comes with its own stand. Why? We're not sure either, but according to those making them, it's all about collaborative work. The industry has embraced the tablet form factor now it wants it everywhere.
[Photo: Snooki's new iHip mobile accessories for women at CES 2013]