What to expect at CES 2013

Published: January 2, 2013

The new year has begun, and that means one thing: the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is right around the corner. Officially, it starts January 8, but the press events, announcements and parties all begin days before. I will hit the ground in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, January 6, and have a couple things scheduled for that night.

CES is a different beast compared to what it was years ago. It has always been about a broad range of consumer electronics. But, from the perspective of many companies, it used to be a great platform for announcing new products.

Over the years, however, product cycles have vastly changed and many companies have branched out to announce new products on their own terms and own dime.

Going into such a vast trade show such as CES, it's difficult to know exactly what to expect, specifically in terms of mobile announcements and new products. Which companies will be there? What new devices will we see?


Nothing major from Samsung or HTC

It's always our initial reaction to expect great things at any major press event from the major players. Samsung and HTC practically run the Android show here in the States. However, don't expect much from them at CES 2013. Or Motorola, for that matter.

It has been rumored that we would see the Samsung Galaxy S IV at CES or Mobile World Congress (MWC), and possibly even HTC's rumored M7. And some figured Google might have some presence at the show now that they're breaking into the consumer electronics business with Motorola Mobility. It was believed by some that the rumored X Phone would make an appearance.

Samsung already laid to rest any belief that the Galaxy S IV would be announced in Las Vegas next week or MWC in February. Sammy will likely throw together its own press event for the fourth-generation device in its iconic series. Or maybe they'll going the fold at another press event later in the year, geared more towards mobile electronics, like CTIA.

And there's no reason to believe either HTC or Motorola/Google will have any reason to announce anything next week either. Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain, comes at the end of February. It's where HTC announced the One devices last year, and I expect the Taiwanese company will follow suit in 2013. The M7 and any other new HTC phones will probably debut then. And the rumored X Phone will more than likely be announced at Google I/O in mid-May at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.


Sony, Huawaei, ZTE, LG will announce new phones

The mobile manufacturers who will (or might) use CES as a platform to debut their latest products are Sony, Huawei, ZTE and LG.

LG, I imagine, will have the smallest stake in mobile technology at the show. Its current devices are all still very new – Optimus G, Nexus 4, etc. It will be at CES primarily for its other branches of business, such as televisions, computer monitors and home appliances.

Sony is expected to announce the Xperia Z and ZL, two Android phones – the latter of which is likely to make it to the U.S. market. There has also been talk of Sony branching the Xperia brand out to Windows Phone 8, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a Sony-made Windows Phone device.

Finally, ZTE and Huawei, neither of which have a major stake in the States, will announce several handsets. ZTE has at least two handsets confirmed for the event, and there are at least three from Huawei.


BlackBerry 10 preview, but no phones to announce

As much as we'd like to see new hardware from Research In Motion, don't expect to see any at CES. I have a BlackBerry 10 apps preview marked on the calendar, but I doubt it's too far outside anything we've already seen.

Instead, RIM has its own press event marked for January 30 in New York. There we will likely see all the BlackBerry 10 handsets that have recently hit the FCC and made headlines: N-Series, L-Series, etc.


Some announcements from T-Mobile

T-Mobile has a press event marked for Tuesday, January 8. By all means, they could be announcing new devices. Last year, it was about Bobsled and Colbie Caillat. This year, David and I figure this one is about the much-awaited and long overdue transition to LTE.

We'll see, but T-Mobile might steal the show this year!


NVIDIA Tegra 4?

The Tegra 3 was awesome when it was first announced. Quad-core? A fifth companion core? In a phone? Eight graphics cores? Count me in! But quad-core chipsets are a dime a dozen now, and the Tegra 3 is aging rather quickly. There are faster and better chips out there.

Last year, NVIDIA explained to me in a meeting that the future of Tegra chips would hold great things for smartphones and tablets, and eventually offer console-like gaming from mobile devices.

It's been rumored more than once that the Tegra 4 would show its face at the January trade show, but only time will tell. If so, 2013 is sure to be an amazing year for mobile gaming.


As always, tons of accessories, cases and wireless charging

For many, this show is about showing off the new and exciting accessories for mobile technology. Hundreds of case manufacturers will be on the show flow, showing off their latest creations. I know olloclip will be there, which I'm personally excited for. The Pebble team will be on site, too. (Maybe they'll give me my Kickstarter Pebble Smartwatch a tad early, eh?)

We're sure to see tons of cases and various accessories. I'm hoping to see more smart docks, and hopefully Canonical will be around to show off Ubuntu for Android.

One thing is certain: there will be tons of wireless charging and NFC accessories at CES. I'd bet money on it.


Don't expect a ton of devices, folks. CES is a broad show that covers much more than mobile. With MWC and CTIA around the bend, we're likely to see many more smartphones and tablets in the near future. Then again, we saw quite a few phones at CES 2012.

Only time will tell! And I'll be on the ground in Vegas bringing all the news to you guys as it happens. Keep it locked on PhoneDog next week for all your CES coverage. And for the time being, feel free to speculate in the comments section below! Tell us what you want to see  in Vegas next week!

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