CES 2016: what to expect

by: Darcy LaCouveeJanuary 1, 2016
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CES logo

Every January the massive CES tradeshow kicks off in Las Vegas, showcasing a wide variety of technology from televisions to washing machines, headphones to smartphones, wireless charging, smart homes, and so much more. For fans of mobile technology, the show might not be nearly as exciting as MWC, but it is still significant in a number of ways.

First, CES represents where we are heading in tech for the years to come. Second, CES often has a few mobile-related surprises from cool new wearables to even flagship-level devices like last year’s LG G Flex 2 and the ill-fated Saygus V2.

CES represents where we are heading in tech for the years to come.

Next week Android Authority will be at CES 2016 in full force, and while mobile tech will be our primary focus, we’ll also be checking out cool developments in the world of automotive, smarthomes, virtual reality, and more.

Although CES doesn’t officially begin until January 6th and ends on January 9th, there are often press announcements days before the official event begins. Due to just how much goes on at CES, and how much is kept under wraps until the show kicks off, it’s hard to give our readers a full breakdown of what to expect. That said, we’ll do our best to highlight some of what we might expect to see at CES this year:

Editor’s Note: this post was originally released on the 29th of December, but has been updated to reflect new info on Google and Lenovo’s Tango event, as well as a bit more details about Android Authority’s big presence at CES this year.

A massive amount of coverage from Team AA

This year Android Authority will arrive with a massive team including many of your favorite YouTubers such as Josh, Lanh, Ash, and Nirave. We will also have plenty of talented editors, writers, and photographers on scene. The end result? It should be a year to remember. Aside from the obvious mobile coverage, we’ll cover several extended topics, and we’ll do our best to bring you plenty of “Behind the scenes” sneak peaks in the days and week to come.

Huawei at CES 2016

Huawei Mate 8 AA-

Huawei has been really taking things up a notch over the last year or two, but 2015 has seen the company rise to new heights with the creation of the very first Chinese-made Nexus, the Huawei-built Nexus 6p. Towards the tail end of 2015, we also the company’s new flagship Huawei Mate 8 debut in China.

At CES we expect the company to show off the Mate 8 to the western world.

At CES we expect the company to show off the Mate 8 to the western world. There are even rumors that Huawei may be planning to bring its flagship Mate 8 to the United States, while its predecessors only saw launches in Europe and Asia. In addition to its plans for the Mate 8, Huawei’s Honor brand will also be making a US debut at CES. Some of the products expected include the Honor 5x, Honor 6 Plus, and Honor 7.

Finally, a Huawei smartwatch is also expected at CES, though not necessarily a full-fledged sequel to the Huawei Watch. It’s unclear whether this rumored watch will arrive under the Huawei or Honor brand.

Samsung at CES 2016

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With the Note 5 behind us now, the next big thing from Samsung will be the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Rumors of these devices are already starting to trickle in. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, as it is pretty much guaranteed that we won’t see this one at CES, though it’s certainly possible the phone could be shown off to select industry partners behind closed doors.

So what can we expect from Sammy at CES? Last year, Samsung’s CES show was almost entirely revolved around smart appliances, the Internet of Things, and television sets. In fact, there were hardly any mobile-related announcements at all. This year, we’d expect more of the same, but it is certainly possible we could also see some new tablets, some mid-range Galaxy A-series phones, and other lower-tier mobile products.

Samsung will also be showing off camera tech, including its new BRITECELL camera technology.

note-5-thumbSee also: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review42

Sony at CES 2016

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You can pretty much safely bet Sony will primarily focus on TV sets, Playstation-related announcements, and other general consumer tech products. As for mobile, CES 2015 saw the Xperia M4 Aqua and the Z4 Tablet. This year could see similar mid-tier products.

It’s also conceivable that Sony could use CES as a launching ground for the Xperia Z5 in select western markets such as the US and Canada, but we wouldn’t hold our breath for that.

LG at CES 2016

lg g flex 2 unboxing aa (24 of 31)

Last year LG brought the world’s first Snapdragon 810-powered handset, the LG G Flex 2. Initially the handset looked quite impressive, though its actual performance left some to be desired. At this year’s CES, we are led to believe that the G Flex series will not being seeing a third iteration, with LG instead focusing on creating a followup to the reasonably successful LG V10. Unfortunately, we don’t expect to see this follow-up either, at least not until sometime around MWC.

Instead, we’d say it is more likely LG will focus on entry-level and mid-range offerings. Last year at CES, LG gave us several new phones in this category, after all. Beyond this, expect LG to show off audio equipment, accessories, TVs, smart appliances, and other general consumer technology.

Asus at CES 2016

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser-9

CES has been the launching ground of the ZenFone series since the debut of the ZenFone 4, 5, and 6. While the first three phones never saw a true US launch, the ZenFone 2 debuted in early 2015 and has had a ton of success in the western world, resulting in a variety of spin-off products under the ZenFone 2 banner.

Will we see a ZenFone 3? It’s hard to say. While history tends to suggest the answer is “yes”, rumors have been few and far between and so it’s possible Asus could wait off, considering products like the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser are still fairly new and so the need for a next-gen successor is arguable at this stage. If we do see a ZenFone 3 at CES, we can expect an Intel processor to likely be at the helm again and options with up to 4GB RAM (or higher?), though Qualcomm variants of the ZenFone 2 did exist later in its life, so anything is possible.

Asus also has a history of producing great laptops, tablets, and other similar tech products, and so we’d expect to see some of this at CES. It’s also possible we could see some lower-end smartphone entries too.

ZTE at CES 2016

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There have been some whispers about ZTE’s CES plans, which have been said to include the launch of the Nubia Z11, which reportedly will be powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor. Whether this is true or not remains anyone’s guess, but we wouldn’t get our hopes up. While it’s possible that they could debut a flagship-level product as CES, it’s just as likely that they will focus on their entry and mid-level products.

It’s also possible we could see some more in the way of smart projectors, given what we saw at CES 2015.

HTC at CES 2016

HTC-logo-aa-1

HTC tends to use CES as a launching ground for its entry and mid-level products, and we expect to see a similar presentation this year. There haven’t been many rumors on what to expect from the company exactly, at least not on the mobile front.

Instead, it’s likely that HTC will focus on the Vive VR headset, with its commercial launch just around the corner. After all, the company has already teased that it will be making the Vive a central part of the show. That means hopefully more details on the launch date, pricing, and PC requirements needed for the Vive to work.

Other mobile players at CES 2016

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Above we listed some of the bigger players in the mobile space, but you can also expect to see Alcatel release a number of lower end smartphones, LeTV may have a presence (possibly even an 820 powered phone), and players like Vivo and Acer are also expected to show off new products.

Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Intel, and other processor makers at CES 2016

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CES was the launching ground of the NVIDIA Tegra X1, and so it’s certainly possible we could see yet another new high-end processor from NVIDIA. It’s also possible that we could see more tablets and devices using the X1, in addition to the recently launched Pixel C. As for Intel, we imagine they will have a few new chips up their sleeves, though whether or not any of them will be mobile focused, remains unseen.

Qualcomm can be expected to show off the first smartphones and tablets running on the Snapdragon 820. As to who will make these first 820-powered phones? That’s less clear, though Chinese players like LeTV, Vivo, ZTE, and others are some of the most rumored candidates.

Smartwatches at CES 2016

moto 360 2nd gen review aa (26 of 27)

Will any company use CES as a launching ground for new smartwatches? Absolutely, though it’s less clear if there will be any new watches running the Android Wear platform, aside from whatever Huawei is allegedly planning.

2015 has not only seen a number of new watches from Motorola, LG, Asus, and Huawei, but even from traditional watch makers like Tag and Fossil, this means CES could see one of these companies create a new entry, or even introduce a new manufacturer or watch maker to the Android Wear game.

VR at CES 2016

HTC Vive hands on

As already mentioned, we can expect the Vive to likely show up at CES. Additionally, we will see the Oculus Rift, and hopefully even learn more solid details about when the commercial version will launch and maybe even how much it will set us back. It’s also possible we’ll even see Sony’s Playstation VR. And of course there will be plenty of smaller players attempting to stir the pot, with companies like IonVR and CastAR both confirmed to be present at CES 2016.

Bottom-line, expect VR to make a pretty big splash this year.

Auto tech at CES 2016

GM Chevrolet Chevy Bolt 2016 Android Auto -95

From self-driving cars to better mobile integration, we expect a lot of cool mobile tech at CES 2016. There’s even rumors that Blackberry’s QNX will be showing off its own concept car, and Ford is allegedly preparing to announce a partnership with Google for self-driving cars and perhaps better Android Auto integration.

Lenovo and Tango

Earlier Project Tango demo unit

Earlier Project Tango demo unit

We’ll we can’t divulge much at this stage, Lenovo and Google have officially made public the news that they will be holding a special event next week revolving around Project Tango. It remains unseen whether this is a full-fledged commercial launch, just an extension of the developer program, or something else entirely. Regardless, we look forward to bringing you all the breaking details from the event later next week.

Whatever it is, odds are we are either looking at a new Tango tablet, or even a new Tango smartphone. Could Motorola also be involved? Hard to say at this point, but I know I’m excited at least.

 

 

Wrap up

That’s just a brief look at some of the big stuff we’ll be looking at during CES, and admittedly much of this is speculation. CES-related leaks tend to be fewer and further between when compared to shows like MWC and IFA, which can be seen as a good or bad thing, depending on whether or not you like surprises.

Judging by the sheer presence of vendors related to VR, auto tech, and smarthomes, we can tell you that this will likely be the biggest focus at CES 2016

Aside from mobile tech, there will also be plenty of out-of-the-box gadgets, wireless charging innovations, headphones and audio equipment, and the list goes on. Judging by the sheer presence of vendors related to VR, auto tech, and smarthomes, we can tell you that this will likely be the biggest focus at CES 2016 for most general tech publications. That said, mobile tech and wearables will continue to play a crucial role as well, and will be an obvious primary focus for Android Authority – alongside a little bit of everything else that’s hot in tech.

What do you hope to see at CES 2016 this year, both in regards to mobile and when it comes to general tech? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.