CES 2016 kicks off next week. TechnoBuffalo will start to arrive in Las Vegas beginning this Sunday in preparation of the show. This year seems like it might be a bit different than previous years. In the past, for example, the focus might have been on hardware: new phones, new tablets, new computers and new TVs. While we think there will always be new products at the show, this year seems like it will be tilted toward the software and services that power those products.
This year seems to be the show where smart TVs are actually, well, smart. We’re expecting more connected devices than ever before, ranging from fitness devices on our wrists that are constantly connected to our smartphones, to connected appliances, smart home management systems and more. We also think we’ll see a lot of drones, a lot of focus on virtual reality and the accessories and products that come with it, and the explosion of 4K content, not just the TVs capable of presenting it. Oh, and plenty of car tech.
Of course, there’s going to be other stuff, too. We bet we’ll see plenty of expensive 8K TVs in sizes that are bigger and more expensive than ever. CES is all about introducing some of the latest and greatest technologies, after all.
Let’s take a look at five predictions we have for the show.
1. Connected Everything
You’ve probably heard about the “Internet of Things” before, or IoT for short, but until now it’s probably just been a buzzword in most conversations. Look for it to really show its face at CES, though, as OEMs start to connect everything.
We’ve already seen signs of what’s to come, with LG’s new IoT-friendly webOS 3.0 operating system and Samsung’s confirmation that its 2016 UHDTVs will offer SmartThings integration. That means new LG and Samsung TVs will serve as smart home hubs, serving up notifications from your connected appliances, providing control of lightbulbs, connected speakers and more.
And don’t forget, we’re being connected, too, and we expect plenty of new wearables that provide constant health data.
2. Smarter Cars
I think we’re going to see a lot of “smarter” cars at CES, in other words, the progression of some of the autonomous features we’ve seen in previous years, in addition to new features that might be found inside the car.
Take the BMW AirTouch concept, which will be on display at CES. It’s a continuation of technology introduced last year and allows a driver to make gestures in front of a “contactless touchscreen” to control music, the car’s temperature and more. That’s just a taste, though.
Last year, companies such as Mercedes and Volvo offered new looks on autonomous safety features, and an Audi A7 Concept even drove itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas for the show. Faraday Future apparently has a huge announcement on this front, so we’ll keep a particularly close on that firm.
Virtual Reality is more than likely going to play a really big role at CES. HTC has a “breakthrough” announcement to discuss for its Vive virtual reality headset.
Oculus had a big demo booth at the show last year, following an impressive showing in 2013, and we expect to hear more on the Rift in addition to more information on some of the features, software and games that will launch with it.
And don’t forget Sony’s PlayStation VR, which we also think will have a role during CES 2016. We haven’t had a chance to put that on our heads yet, so we hope to have a chance to see how it stacks up during the show.
4. Project Tango
Lenovo and Google have some sort of Project Tango announcement to make during CES 2016. We suspect it might be a new smartphone or tablet with the technology built-in, or maybe a more broad partnership discussion, but we know there’s going to be some sort of news.
That brings up a larger discussion about 3D mapping and how those uses will help consumers in the real world. Intel’s RealSense technology, which is also at CES 2016, has been used for creating 3D images for 3D printing, for example, and CES has provided a great place to demonstrate that technology. (Intel, by the way, is also a Project Tango partner.)
What will Lenovo and Google have in store?
5. 4K Everywhere
In previous years we walked the show floor drooling at super expensive 4K TVs. They aren’t all that expensive now, though, so we think we’re finally going to learn about what we can actually do with the 4K displays. Content is King after all.
Expect lots of content discussions from folks like Sling TV, Dish, DirecTV/AT&T and more. It’s possible we’ll learn about DirecTV’s intentions for live 4K sports broadcasts, for example, and Sling TV is overdue for 4K content.
Those are just a few examples, however, and we expect there will be plenty of companies, big and small, talking about 4K content.