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CES 2011: what's coming

CES 2011 is the biggest technology show in the world and will showcase the technology we will be buying in the next 12 months.

CES is arguably the biggest technology show in the world and every year showcases the technologies which will be appearing during the next 12 months.

Every year, a new technology makes a splash and in 2010 this was 3D. What is going to be the hot technology of 2011?


It's no secret that booths at this year's show will be absolutely dripping with tablets. The tech community's cynicism at CES 2010 over the forthcoming Apple tablet soon turned to envy on its release and cheap Android tablets began flooding the market.

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CES 2011 will be "dripping with tablets" (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

In 2011 we expect things will be much more considered and the iPad will finally face some stiff competition. And tablets will come with their own, custom-made operating systems. Expect to see devices loaded with MeeGo, Android Honeycomb and perhaps even Windows 8.

Many of these devices are still "big telephones" so we look forward to seeing if any manufacturers can do something unique and cost effective with the format.

Wireless Connectivity

Though we doubt there will be much of a focus on it, we think that there will be a heck of a lot of products which will boast integrated wireless. It's in our phones, it will be in our cars and it will come in our televisions. Many TVs in 2010 came with Ethernet ports, but how many people want to drape an Ethernet cable across their lounge rooms?

This extra connectivity will lead to a proliferation of content — whether its internet, radio in your car or IPTV in your lounge room ever-increasing data caps and the promise of the NBN have meant that streaming media is finally an option.


After such a big launch but a collective "meh" from the public, it seems manufacturers will be trying another tack this year. The "glasses thing" is seen as one of the barriers to 3D adoption and so you can expect to see several manufacturers try "glasses-less" solutions at this year's CES.

When it comes to TVs we know one thing that won't be on display: Google TV. The search giant has put a kibosh on manufacturers announcing new products based on the technology following lukewarm reviews. The service is designed to integrate internet TV and broadcast into one unit and use Google's search capabilities to browse them seamlessly. However, several media companies have blocked the TV's from accessing their services leaving the device's future cloudy.

While Sony has announced tentative plans to bring the technology into Australia in 2011, we think it's looking uncertain to unlikely at this point.

While OLED made a big splash several years ago it's yet to take on in TV sizes. We'll likely see a couple from the likes of Samsung and LG at the show, but don't expect these to make it to Australia.

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A wall of TVs from CES 2009 (Credit: Ty Pendlebury/CBS Interactive )

Car tech

While CES has always had a car-technology pavilion it's always played second fiddle to the rest of the show. But this year promises to be different with both Ford and Audi presenting keynote speeches.

Trends to look out for will be integrated navigation systems from car companies as well as third-party options. HUDs and wireless connectivity between not only Bluetooth devices such as Androids and iPhones but also integrated 3G access allowing onboard access to the internet.


Next year sees the release of Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processor which is essentially a "system on a chip" incorporating onboard graphics. Intel is already billing it as the "the world's fastest" processor and it should lead to a proliferation of low-cost laptops and desktops.

In 2010, Apple released its thinnest Macbook Air yet. And we anticipate CES 2011 will see the introduction of several clones. Tablets and netbooks alike have demonstrated that devices can do without an optical drive and that a wireless connection will suffice, and this trend will spill over into Air-like machines. Whether companies can match the Cupertino giant for form and function is another matter.


Like mobile phones, there hasn't been a photography presence at CES, due to the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show being held in February every year. In 2011, however, PMA moves to September and so there is expected to be a heavy photography presence.

While yet to make an impact on television sales, 3D will be a prevailing trend amongst the cameras released this year. Cameras such as the NEX series have added 3D capabilities as a firmware update but we'll see more cameras which are purpose designed to shoot in 3D. Many of these will feature lenticular screens so you can see the results in 3D without needed special glasses

Expect the number of interchangeable lens cameras to blossom in 2011 following the success of the Micro Four Thirds system and Sony's NEX range. Price points will undoubtedly drop in the new year too.


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LG's Optimus 2X will lead a megahertz war in phones (Credit: LG)

Will 2011 be the Year of the Robot? While there will be Windows Phone 7 devices at CES the majority of phones on display will undoubtedly be based on Android. CES isn't traditionally a launching point for many new phones as it's too close to Mobile World Congress in February. But we know that Motorola will be exhibiting this year and they usually let a couple slip at the show. Given its past history with Android it's highly likely there'll be at least one more.

Design will be at the forefront, but we'll see a focus on processing power. The megahertz race may have ended some time ago for computers, but it's only just beginning for phones. LG will next year focus on power with the release of its first dual-core Optimus 2X a sign of things to come.


If there's one thing that trade shows are good for, it's stuff that is plain bizarre. Where would we be in a world without gadgets such as the Taser with built-in MP3 player holster.

Is there anything you want to see announced this year? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow all the latest CNET Australia coverage at CES as it happens from January 5-9 2011 (PST).