The 2014 International CES will be the 47th time the tech extravaganza is being held and it continues to remain one of the most important events in consumer electronics. It opens in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 7. Here are some things to expect:
1. Wearable Technology
After a rapid growth in 2013, wearable technology will be further on the rise in 2014. The road for this was paved by, among others, Google Glass, smartwatches such as Pebble, Qualcomm's Toq, or Samsung's Galaxy Gear, and the FitBit wristband for the fitness-conscious. Now we can expect a deluge of even more wearable technology.
After the smartwatch, manufacturers are on a race to manufacture a wearable smartphone. Fitness writsbands are also aiming beyond simple pedometer tracking to smartphone integration beyond apps. Google has taken the leap with Google Glass and it looks like smaller companies have submitted patents, readying themselves for their own big leap.
They have taken the world by storm for years, and will continue to do so this year. While the smartphone charge is being led by Apple and Samsung, expect smaller rivals such as HTC, Sony and Lenovo to go all out in their effort to catch up with the rank leaders. With almost all smartphone makers unveiling handsets with 5-inch-plus display and upping the screen resolution, it'll be a matter of time that 3.5-inch and 4-inch smartphones will be history. Also expect to see handsets with curved display, such as the one released by Samsung (Galaxy Round) and LG (G Flex).
3. Smart cars, green cars
Rumor has it that Google will be announcing an Android partnership with Audi vehicles. But expect more than just connected car technologies, as companies will vie to show off their latest developments in alternative fuel and self-driving vehicles. Audi, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, among others, will be demonstrating their autonomous test vehicles, not to sell, but just to show the world how far along the industry has gone in developing this technology.
4. TVs, OLEDs, screens
Displays will be bigger, and resolutions higher. Though the OLED made waves in 2013, the only thing keeping it from taking the mainstream by storm is that it's still too expensive. The 4K TVs, on the other hand, can become much cheaper despite a very expensive debut. Expect companies to foray into curved displays and monitors.
"Smartness" will also be a key thing to watch out for this year. There will be smart TVs that respond to voice commands and apps that integrate all smart gadgets together.
5. Even smarter homes
With smartphones, wearable technology, smart cars and integration for all of them, it only makes sense that homes should be smarter as well. With appliances and smartphones talking to each other to control your thermostat, lights, track choices and music volume for you beginning in 2013, the next big thing to watch out for this year would be a total home security system that keeps all of these secure.
Devices that blur the line between laptop and tablet will get quite a lot of attention this year. All new laptops are much slimmer, lighter and have batteries that run much longer, while some even have detachable screens, or the ability to fold over themselves so they can be held like tablets. Also, almost all new Windows PCs have touch screens. This holds much promise for gamers. Valve's Steam Box is already undergoing beta testing and its first wave of actual hardware might show up at this year's CES.
7. Ambitious start-ups
The CES is a melting pot of big and small, old and new, mainstream and strange. Because it is open to so many, many startups find it a convenient and fun venue to introduce themselves to the world of consumer electronics. The internet also makes crowdsourcing easier and cheaper, and further helps to fuel all those strange ideas, which, after much testing and tweaking, eventually turn into something we can all use everyday.