CES 2012: Tablets, TVs and lots of gadgets!

Welcome to CES week. Even though the show doesn't officially start until Tuesday, already gadget blogs are awash in new product announcements. There were a few press conferences yesterday and there'll be many more today. Smaller companies have been blasting out press releases in hopes of getting some notice before the deluge of announcements from the big names hit.

What are you hoping to see this year? I often end a post by asking for comments, but today I'm asking here, up front. I'm most interested in what my readers are looking forward to, but I have a page to fill so let's talk about my predictions/expectations/desires.

Of course there's going to be lots and lots of Android tablets; probably so many that no individual tablet stands out. I think part of Android's problem in the tablet space is that there are so many contenders that the message gets fuzzy. I'd love to see a company with clout produce a quad-core Android tablet with an 'ecosystem' built around it. One of the things that makes the iPad so great is that, in addition to the tablet itself, there's a wide variety of accessories, cases, stands and other gee gaws made just for the iPad. Samsung is the only company that's come close to building this kind of support system for their traditional Android tablets, but they don't come close to the kind of support the iPad has. Amazon's Kindle Fire has great support but it's kind of its own thing; I don't tend to think of it as an Android tablet.

I'm also interested to see what Windows 8 tablets look like. I expect the Windows 8 hardware to be at about the same place that Android tablets were at CES 2011; lots of prototypes and concepts that we'll "ooo" and "ahh" over now, and then forget about until June or July.

I'm finding televisions are awfully interesting these days. It used to be that buying a TV was more or less a matter of picking out a size but now, wow it's getting complicated. We'll be seeing OLED TVs alongside LED, LCD and plasma sets. Internet-connected TVs with proprietary operating systems, with Google TV inside, or running a more stripped down version of Android without all the GTV functionality. And then there's the 3D issue: active-shutter 3D, passive 3D, and now glasses-free 3D. Lastly just when we got used to 1080P being the ultimate TV resolution, the "4K" sets are starting to proliferate. These displays are about 4,000 pixels wide and are supposed to offer about 4 times the resolution of a 1080P set (that's my layman's understanding, at least). For instance, Cnet reports on a Toshiba model that has a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel display.

Over the holidays I actually considered buying a 3D LED TV to replace my 4-year old LCD model, but the technology is moving so fast that it just seems like a bad time to buy. But it's a great time to window shop. Heck even Lenovo is getting into the TV business! They're one of the companies bringing Android, but not necessarily Google TV, to your living room.

So tablets and TVs. What else? One of my favorite aspects of CES is all the nifty little gadgets that spring up. For example, Engadget has coverage of a gaming contraption for the iPhone. You slip your phone into it and voila! Real buttons to control your mobile gaming. Another early-announced gadget is SolarFocus Technologies SolarKindle, a cover for the Amazon Kindle that includes an external battery, a solar panel for charging, and a reading light that'll run for 50 hours on that external battery. For every day you leave the SolarKindle in the sun you'll get another 3 days of unplugged charge for your Kindle.

It's going to be a crazy week of announcements and I won't possibly be able to cover all of them, but I'll be calling out devices that catch my quirky interest all week. And one last time I invite you to use the comment form to let us all know what you hope to see coming out of CES 2012!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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