So, I'm currently sitting in a plane, on a flight to Vegas and I am about to experience my first trade show ... ever. As you could expect, I can barely contain myself. That said, I would be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little nervous and curious as to what to expect when we touch down in Nevada. There are obviously going to be more like-minded tech junkies and companies than you can shake a stick at. But what we really care about are all the new and upcoming gadgets and devices.
In normal tradition, this year's CES should be just as jam-packed with all kinds of mobile tech as any other. But what companies will be making an appearance? What devices are they going to announce or at least show off? What tricks to they have up their sleeves to make their devices better than the competitors'?
The show itself doesn't officially start until Tuesday, but Aaron and I will be on-site in just a little while to catch all of the pre-show events and previews, so we'll know what all of the hubbub is about before too long. Nonetheless, I have some expectations of my own. We've been catching wind of rumored devices, getting sneak peeks from companies and teasers left and right. Here are some of the things I hope and/or expect to see at CES:
Official Galaxy Note for US
Over the last few weeks, word of a US-bound Galaxy Note has been picking up. All fingers seem to be pointing to the phablet heading to AT&T in the not too distant future and a more recent rumor leads us to believe it will find a spot on the Now Network's lineup fairly soon, too. It's tough to say if we'll see a Galaxy Not in the US at CES. But if these rumors pan out and the Note does get unveiled in Vegas, I may have a hard time sticking to my tech resolutions. I may have to deviate from plan and pick up a Note.
Tablets galore, new form factors
With the Ice Cream Sandwich release behind us and Tegra 3 processors (among other quad-core chipsets) now available, tablet manufacturers are going to begin pushing out their second generation devices. ASUS led the pack with the Tegra 3-toting Transformer Prime, but I also expect to see a lot of new and unlikely companies entering the lucrative tablet sector. Best of all, I expect a wide range of prices, new and different sizes and possibly different form factors.. With extremes like the Kindle Fire and Motorola DROID Xyboard, pricing is wide open for tablets, so rest assured there will be plenty of new tablets to choose from in the months following CES.
I would say we will see a lot of phones at CES, too. But with Mobile World Congress right around the corner, I imagine a lot of manufacturers will be holding off for the mobile-centric show. That said, there will definitely be new devices making surprise appearances and some – possibly the HTC Fireball and LG Spectrum – even being made official this week.
Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
We've been long awaiting a Windows Phone to actually get excited over. Sure, a lot of the current Windows Phones are just fine. But what most of us are really looking forward to is the fruits of Microsoft's partnership with Nokia, The Lumia 710 is just weeks from launching, but it's really nothing special. The Lumia 800 and 900, however, are exactly what we were hoping for when we learned of the deal with Microsoft. While they will perform on mostly the same level as the 710, these two devices are the epitome of excellent Nokia hardware and are what Windows Phone has been needing in the States.
Just yesterday, we learned of the possibility of the Lumia 900 being revealed at CES as soon as tomorrow. Like I've said before, I may not be a huge fan of Windows Phone, but the Lumia 800 and 900 might be enough to sway me.
This year is already shaping up to be the year of smartphone peripherals. The candybar form factor has been stressed to the max and as smartphone technology accelerates forward at breakneck pace, finding a way to differentiate the devices themselves are waning. Companies like Nokia, Samsung, Google and Apple have spent the last year or so fueling cash into research and development for new mobile technology, As of late, we've seen the push for all kinds of peripherals: smart watches, smart glasses, smart clothing and everything in between. Use of such devices will make your everyday smartphone more accessible and more capable.
For whatever reason, this is probably what I'm looking forward to the most. It's not to say that phones or tablets are stagnant or boring. But the excitement has worn off with so many incremental updates to specifications over the years. With peripherals and attachments, it will be possible to use the same phones we're already using in different and more unique ways. Now that's something to get excited over.
Much like the R&D efforts that have been pumped into peripherals and attachments, Nokia and Samsung have been hard at work, dabbling in the futuristic realm of flexible devices. Nokia had a working model at Nokia World, which worked kinetically – you have to flex the phone to navigate the interface. There was also a teaser released by Samsung that showed off a fully transparent and flexible, dynamic tablet. Despite there being rumors of flexible devices launching in 2012, I don't expect to see any finished products at CES. Nonetheless, I hope to get my hands on different flexible tech and see what all the fuss is about.
New ways to charge your devices
For any of you who have followed CES before, it's all about the new gadgets, gizmos and technology. (Duh! Why else would we care?) Something that's been popping up more here recently is new ways to charge your mobile devices. Since battery life has remained mostly stagnant for the past two years while connectivity, processing power and literally everything else has improved, the actual stamina of the battery has dropped off the charts in many cases. And since we're not always around an outlet to tap into the power grid, some companies are coming up with new ways to keep mobile devices charged while on the go. Nokia, for instance, has shown interest in solar charging, saying it's possible to do but difficult to perfect. There have also been water-powered charging methods and others popping into my Google Reader over the past week.
Being my first trade show ever, I'm extremely excited to hit the show floor. And I'm sure I'm going to be overwhelmed with experiencing everything first-hand. There's going to be a ton of neat stuff to check out and I'm going to do my best to relay that stuff to you. Tell me, readers, what do you hope and expect to see at CES this year?
Image via The Verge