What to expect at CES 2017, the world's biggest tech trade show

Almost every year, TVs have taken centre-stage at CES, and the main focus this year will probably be on High Dynamic Range sets.
Almost every year, TVs have taken centre-stage at CES, and the main focus this year will probably be on High Dynamic Range sets.PHOTO: ST FILE

LAS VEGAS - At the start of every new year, there is always the CES consumer technology trade show happening in Las Vegas. This year is no exception and The Straits Times' Tech writers Lester Hio and yours truly will be in Sin City to cover the biggest tech trade show in the world.

From Jan 5 to 8, more than 3,800 exhibitors from over 150 countries are expected to show off their latest wares to more than 165,000 attendees in CES 2017.

The total exhibition area is a massive 2.4 million square feet - the size of 40 football fields or eight times bigger than Singapore's IT shows - spanning three exhibition areas in the Las Vegas strip.

So what can we expect to see in CES 2017? We look at the possibilities.

TVs

Almost every year, TVs have taken centre stage at CES. For the past few years, it has been Samsung versus LG. This year is no different.

However, the main focus this year will probably be on High Dynamic Range (HDR), which makes colours look more contrasting with the dark areas more visible and detailed.

LG is expected to show off its new Oled 4K TV with HDR, while Samsung looks set to continue its curved LCD TV range.

However, Sony is probably launching some Oled TVs with HDR as well. And do not discount Panasonic too. Other emerging TV companies like TCL, HiSense, LeEco are likely to show off their latest products.

PCs

Apple might have said the PC is dead. But it is still pretty much alive.

Lenovo is expected to release a slew of laptops in CES 2017. But look out for launches from Asus and Acer as well.

Razer and MSI are probably going to launch new gaming laptops. And Razer is likely to come up with some concept PCs that never see the light again.

Wearables

Wearables have been touted as the next big thing for a while. However, smartwatches did not exactly take the world by storm. In fact, the momentum seems to be slowing.

Apple Watch might be selling, but not at the volumes that analysts expected. Smartwatch poster boy Pebble was sold to fitness tracker leader Fitbit last December.

 

Fitness trackers might be outselling smartwatches, according to research firm IDC. But Jawbone has stopped making its UP fitness trackers while others are still trying their best to throw Fitbit off the throne.

But it is still too early to dismiss the entire genre. It might be a case of the industry finding its foot.

The amalgamation of smartwatch and fitness tracker looks inevitable, when more micro-technologies to analyse our body's patterns, such as blood pressure, blood sugar and other vital statistics, via our skin become more readily available in the consumer market.

Already, there are exhibitors that are supposed to showcase wristbands that detect ageing arteries as well as smart shoes that track the wearer's movements.

Smart Home

The Smart Home concept has been around for a while. In the past, we have seen connected fridges that inform you how many eggs you have left or connected washing machines that let you monitor the spin cycle. But these home appliances have not caught on in a big way.

However, with voice assistant home hub Amazon Echo being surprisingly popular and Google launching a similar product recently, maybe voice control will be the catalyst for connected home devices.

And hopefully, there will be more such voice-assisted appliances at CES 2017. If so, asking your house's voice assistant to turn on the air conditioner or cook a pizza might not be as distant as you think.

Cars

Cars have been a surprise staple of CES in recent years. Toyota showed off their single-seater concept car a few years ago. Last year, the Chevrolet Bolt all-electric car was announced here instead of at a car show.

Thus, there will be plenty of booth space dedicated to cars, in-car electronics and entertainment system this year.

Self-driving concept cars are also expected to grace the trade show. And we hope to take a ride in it.

And many more things

It is impossible to cover everything in any CES, unless you have a crew of 60 to 80 staff on the ground like tech websites CNet and The Verge.

But there are definitely going to be many more things that we hope to see in this CES. For example, wireless audio. With Apple cutting the cord on the headphone jack and the release of Bluetooth 5.0 technology, it would be interesting to see what headphone makers come up with.

Drones will be also another thing to look out for. DJI has been eating up market share with its portable Mavic and the superb Phantom 4. It will be up to competitors to see what they can come up with to deal with the GoPro of drones.

Other things expected to be on display are phone accessories, Thunderbolt dongles, battery packs and gadgets of all sizes that you can think of.

The Straits Times will be here to bring you the latest of technology from the Sin City. So, watch this space for more reports over the next four days.