CES 2014 is almost upon us.
From 7 January until 10 January, consumer information technology titans will descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) to showcase what they have in store for 2014, be it the next 'must-have' piece of technology or, like last year, a potty that doubles as an iPad stand.
The show hasn't even kicked off yet, but the announcements have already begun, with Acer unveiling new tablets, ZTE outing a handful of new smartphones and Lenovo's Vibe Z smartphone making its debut ahead of CES.
Although the announcements have already started pouring in, some people are asking, will CES really be worth getting excited about this year? Recently, more companies have started taking a leaf out of Apple's book, holding glitzy standalone launch events for their latest black rectangle and shunning CES and February's Mobile World Congress (MWC).
I'm starting the new year with a positive outlook, and while we're unlikely to see any groundbreaking smartphones at CES, I think this year's Las Vegas technology show might be the most exciting yet.
Why? First, because wearable technology - if the pre-CES teasers are anything to go by, at least - are likely to dominate the show, building on Google Glass and Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Speculation suggests that Sony will use the CES stage to unveil its third generation smartwatch, and there's also chatter that Samsung might unveil its second generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which might improve on the original that failed to impress during our review due to its poor battery life and lack of compatible devices. Pebble also has a press conference planned, hinting that we'll be seeing its second generation smartwatch, too.
Even the smaller name firms are beginning to jump on the smartwatch bangwagon, with ZTE set to debut its Bluewatch at the show, along with Archos' sub-£150 smartwatch device, suggesting that such devices will soon become mainstream consumer technology.
We're also excited about 64-bit chips, which are likely to make plenty of noise at this year's CES. If online murmurs are to be believed, Nvidia will announce a 64-bit chip in Las Vegas, and Qualcomm is likely to use the event to show off its first 64-bit processor that it unveiled last year.
Perhaps more exciting are the devices set to launch using these 64-bit chips. While we're unlikely to see many exciting smartphones at CES - with firms instead holding off for MWC or their own glitzy unveilings - we might well see some 64-bit tablets, with Android tablets looking likely to dominate the show once again.
Acer and ZTE have already unwrapped Android tablets destined for CES, with LG teasing the unveiling of its Tab-book2. We're also likely to see new tablets from Sony, Samsung and Asus at CES, with the dominance of Android tablets showing no signs of slowing down yet.
As for Windows tablets, I'm not so sure. Microsoft famously doesn't have much of a presence at CES, and given poor sales of Windows 8 devices so far, I don't think we're likely to see many at this year's show.
That isn't all I'm expecting. 3D printers, which now have their own showcase at CES, are likely to make at big splash at the show, as are flexible screens and 4K video.
If you haven't already guessed, I'll be at CES next week, so check back with The INQUIRER for all the latest news, and to see whether all the hype was worth it. µ
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