In less than a week, thousands of reporters, vendors, and technology enthusiasts will descend on Las Vegas for CEA's International Consumer Electronics Show 2012. As hardware manufactures show off their latest creations, a few trends always emerge. Last year, it was tablets. The year before, 3D TVs were all the rage. So what will be this year bring?
Television and computer display makers will be showing off new OLED TV and 4K displays, but these technologies are still a few years from being ready for mass consumption. Two technologies that will be will affect the tech markets in 2012, and be front and center at CES, are ultrabooks and quad-core mobile devices.
These thin, energy-efficient laptops are designed to be ultraportable and almost as powerful as full-size notebooks. Driven by Intel, they're basically the Windows version of Apple's MacBook Air. I expect PC makers to unveil several new ultrabooks at CES 2012 and release many of them this year. Prices are likely to start around $1,000 (US) but drop as more models enter the market.
Quad-core tablets and smartphones
The first quad-core Android tablet, Asus' Transformer Prime, hit the market in December. Tablet and smartphone manufactures are expected to unveil several quad-core devices at CES 2012, and like ultrabooks, many will hit the market in early 2012.
Windows 8 Tablet - Wildcard
Microsoft released the Windows 8 Developer Preview last year and is expected to release the full version in 2012. A big part of Windows 8 is the operating system's support for ARM mobile processors and the new touch-centric Metro UI. Microsoft is clearly looking to break Apple and Google's stranglehold on the tablet OS market. Rumors are swirling that Acer, Lenevo, HP and perhaps even Microsoft itself will unveil a WIndows 8 tablet at CES and release it late 2012. Having seen Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hype a Windows-powered HP tablet at CES in 2010, only to have HP kill it shortly thereafter, I won't believe the rumors until a device actually hits the market.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.