Smartphones continue to be a changing category at the Consumer Electronics Show. Though they started out by taking a relatively low profile in the face of giant TVs and fancy Blu-ray players, over the past couple of years they've gone big.
So what does the 2012 show hold? Considering that the industry never stands in one place for more than a week, it will be an exciting few days for mobile geeks. This time around, carriers and manufacturers appear to be taking longer finalizing their plans, but we have quite a few guesses as to what we'll see on the show floor. And after conferring with CNET's smartphone experts, Jessica Dolcourt and , here's what we expect.
Ice Cream Sandwich
The repeated delays of Verizon's
To that end, we expect to see the Ice Cream Sandwich-powered
One of the biggest stories at the 2011 show was the mainstreaming of dual-core phones. Not only did we get the Atrix, but also Motorola rolled out the
Nothing is official yet, but rumors over the past two months have pointed to
At the time of this writing, HTC hasn't scheduled a CES event, but Nvidia is hosting a press conference January 9 where it could make a Tegra 3 announcement. And since we doubt that it would move ahead without a manufacturer partner, we expect that a handset or tablet manufacturer will join the company onstage.
Windows Phone 7
After Nokia World in October, we finally know of Nokia's first foray into Windows Phone 7. Sure, the of the
A Nokia device at either Verizon or AT&T is a strong possibility, especially now that Nokia is reportedlyfor both carriers. Indeed, LTE would be a nice boost for Windows Phone 7 and a much more exciting development than the recent at T-Mobile. As you've heard every other tech journalist say, Windows Phone 7 can be a great OS, but it needs some love from manufactures and carriers fast.
Just like at the 2011 CES, announcements around 4G networks should dominate the next show. But in a change from the earlier event, LTE phones (and not HSPA+ devices) should take center stage. After first announcing its LTE plans last January, AT&T has grown its network slowly with just covered so far. At CES, however, we hope to hear more about where AT&T will bring LTE next and when we'll see more 4G phones like the
Verizon appears to be taking a quieter approach to CES, but we expect that it will announce more cities added to itsLTE network. Sprint has nothing more than a cocktail reception planned so far, but the carrier may release more details about its promised LTE and .
The usual suspects
Or course, all the regular smartphone heavyweights will be in Las Vegas in one form or another. LG has its usual early press conference on January 9 where new phones should play a play part. We'll be there to bring you the news live. Sony Ericsson and Samsung should follow with Android-related news, but Sammy could surprise by dipping another toe into Windows Phone 7.
Strangely, though, after charging full steam into the 2011 CES, Motorola canceled its press conference. The company will keep its giant booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center, but we're guessing that the manufacturer won't pull a lot of new phones out of its hat. Smaller manufacturers like ZTE, Kyocera, and Pantech haven't announced their plans yet, either, but given their past focus on CTIA, we don't expect much from them.
And new players
On the other hand, CES could see VewSonic enter the smartphone game. The display manufacturer first showed its last February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, so it may offer us more details.
As of today we have just three weeks to rest up until the fun begins. Though plans can change and few things are guaranteed until they're announced, we'll have plenty of new phones to dish from Vegas. If leaks should trickle out during the holiday break, we'll bring it to you here and be sure to check back often once it all begins on January 10.
From the moment the CNET team arrives on the ground, we'll deliver every morsel of mobile goodness.What would you like to see at CES? Let us know below.