PART 1 - CES
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas drew 165,000 attendees from 150 countries to browse the latest and greatest from 15 product categories, including audio, automotive electronics, connected home technologies, digital imaging and photography, electronic gaming, entertainment and content. Hinda’s director of merchandising, LeeAnn Schumacher, was on the show floor and reported back with the trends for the coming year.
Last year, mini tablets were all the rage. Now, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and new larger “slates” are coming to the forefront. Companies such as Panasonic®, Sony® and Lenovo® are introducing tablets that are being billed as multi-user table-top devices that can be used for collaboration in the workplace. These are scheduled to launch in summer of 2013.
In related news, notebooks are appearing lighter, thinner and available at lower price points. Touch will be a big feature for Windows® 8 notebooks. PCs are being developed with tablet flexibility and removable keyboards, and PC gaming is looking to make a comeback in 2013.
Apps, Apps Everywhere
At CES, Apple® announced it had topped 40 billion downloads during the show. But that’s just the beginning. Everywhere you turned, apps were being used for everything from voice-controlling a car to organizing your kitchen.
For example, Ford®’s Fiesta and Focus let drivers manage the Ford app through voice and 16 various radio controls. Samsung®’s T9000 – which is a refrigerator – has an LCD front and comes with pre-loaded, kitchen-friendly app Evernote.
TVs: Smarter, Brighter, Larger
These aren’t your grandparents’ black-and-white-and-rabbit-eared sets. HDTVs are a big business that’s continually evolving. For example, tech giant LG® will be launching a 55-inch OLED screen in March. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode and represents the latest in thin, power-efficient and bright displays. Samsung countered with 85- and 110-inch TVs.
Another trend among TVs is the doing-away with the traditional remote control by making TVs compatible with smartphones and letting users operate their TVs using their phones. We’re also going to see a rise in ultra-HD 4K, OLED, smart integration and large screen displays of 60-inches or more.
Talking Tech Becomes the New Norm
Voice-activated products are making a big splash, especially in automotive technology and developments in television. Software company Nuance will bring more speech-recognition solutions to the near future. Dragon dictation, taking verbal notes on the iPhone® 5 and other solutions prove that it’s all about getting a lot more work done without lifting a finger.
Other News from the Show Floor
Health and fitness is one of the fastest growing product categories in the consumer electronics industry. Wireless technology and portable devices are two major drivers in this market. “Wearable technology“ is hot, and over 60 million sports, fitness and health monitoring devices with Bluetooth® technology will ship by 2015.
Cameras remain a popular category, and 2013 will see an increase in long zooms, Android™ and Wi-Fi® connectivity, larger image sensors, sports/action cameras and camcorders, mirrorless (or compact system cameras) and retro-looking cameras.
…Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trade show wrap-up, where we’ll be focusing on trends from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo.