A fresh new year is almost upon us and that means we are mere days away from the biggest consumer electronics show in the world. CES 2014 kicks off in Las Vegas on January 7, and this year what happens in Vegas definitely doesn’t stay in Vegas, it pops up on AA for your reading pleasure just as soon as our intrepid reporters check it out. We’ll be bringing you hands-on peeks, analysis and news covering everything of note, big and small.
In order to whet the appetite and get your expectations cooking we thought you might like a primer. The show runs from January 7 to January 10. Here’s what we expect to see during and around it.
The year of wearable technology
Everyone and their dog is developing a smartwatch or a competitor for Google Glass, and you can be certain that CES will be positively awash with wearable technology. There will be plenty of fitness trackers in the mold of Nike’s Fuelband and we expect more smartwatches to compete with the Pebble, Galaxy Gear, and Sony Smartwatch 2. The majority of these devices are going to be designed to hook up with the smartphone in your pocket, but there will be a few standalone models running Android. Keep your eyes peeled for the Neptune Pine; it’s basically a complete Android smartphone in a watch.
There will definitely be a wave of smartwatches and smart glasses from smaller manufacturers, but there’s always room for a surprise reveal from one of the big boys of tech. Could a Google Watch make an appearance?
64-bit processors galore
We know that 64-bit computing is coming to Android, but the iPhone 5S turned up the heat on the time schedule. We may see Qualcomm, Nvidia and Broadcom announcing 64-bit processors at CES this year; in fact, we think it’s quite likely.
Intel’s plans for tablets
The Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is one of the keynote presenters at CES 2014, so we’ll surely hear about its latest architecture and how it’s saving battery life and boosting processing power in a host of tablets and laptops. More interesting for us is the possibility of some mention of 64-bit computing for Android.
Sony shows off
Kicking off last year with a serious bang in the shape of the Xperia Z, Sony may have big things planned for CES 2014. It hasn’t escaped our notice that CEO Kazuo Hirai will be delivering a keynote. He’ll surely talk about how Sony is turning things around. We’ll be surprised if there’s no new mobile release on show, an Xperia Z1 Mini looks like the most likely candidate, but with the PS4 enjoying a great holiday season, the focus may be on gaming — there are strong rumors about a virtual reality headset to rival the Oculus Rift.
Samsung expands its Galaxy
It felt like the Galaxy S5 rumors started the day after the S4 was released. We’d be surprised if Samsung broke with tradition to unleash the S5 so early, but it can’t be ruled out as a possibility. The rumor mill has ground out a number of suggestions including a 2K display, an all-new metal body, and a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 805 processor. If it does land at CES we don’t think it will be alone. There could be a Note 3 Lite and other new models on show as well. And rumors of a 12.2-inch Note Pro just surfaced. It’s all part of Samsung’s self-appointed mission to create literally every possible size and variation of device.
Samsung may have beaten LG to the punch with the Galaxy Round, but the G Flex is hitting general release and grabbing all the plaudits. Perhaps the Round will rear its head again, or maybe Samsung is ready to unveil a more exciting flexible display design? We’ll be hoping for a smartphone that folds out to become a tablet, but a wraparound section of screen with dedicated UI functions seems more likely.
We also won’t be surprised to see a Galaxy Gear 2 that addresses some of the criticisms leveled at the original. Expect support for all Android devices, built-in GPS, and some decent apps pre-installed.
Remember webOS? LG is going to show us all what it has done with the ill-fated smartphone platform it acquired. Apparently webOS is going to run in its new smart TV range. We expect the ability to stream content from mobile devices and elsewhere will be a big part of the “smart” in your TV, so this could get interesting. We’re also hearing plenty about LG Chromebase, which is essentially an all-in-one PC running the Chrome OS that should be on show.
Back in mobile, the LG G Flex has been generating plenty of interest. The rumored G Flex launch in the U.S. and beyond could well take shape at CES. Apart from that, we don’t expect anything major so soon after the LG G2, but you just never can tell.
Oppo makes an entrance
We’ve been keep an eye on interesting developments such as the Oppo N1 and we think this Chinese manufacturer could shake things up. It will certainly be showing off a few devices at CES and hoping to raise its profile. It’s probably too early for the Oppo Find 7, but there’s a chance it will be on display, even if the release is a few months off. Expect it to sport cutting edge specs, including a possible 2K display and a whopping 4000mAh battery.
From what we hear, Oppo won’t be the only little-known Chinese name showing off its wares, Meizu is set to show off some Android smartphones at CES this year as well. If its 128GB MX3 is anything to go by, there could be some surprises.
Android vs iOS in the car
Car manufacturers are no strangers to CES and Audi will be showing off their fully automated vehicles at the show. We’ll also see exhibits from Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota. In the background there’s a battle raging for control of in-car entertainment systems and we think CES will showcase some apps and planned integrations with the major mobile platforms. Kia and Hyundai are two manufacturers rumored to roll out models equipped with Android-based infotainment systems, but there could be more.
And the rest…
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is another keynote speaker and we’re sure she’ll discuss the importance of mobile strategy on traffic. We’ll also see loads of TVs, tablets, headphones, and a host of other weird and wonderful consumer electronics. One of the most exciting devices on show for gamers will be Valve’s Steam Machines game console which will run the SteamOS and have a special controller in a bid to bring PC gaming to the living room.
We’ll keep you posted on everything Android, so stay tuned for CES 2014.