LAS VEGAS -- For lovers of consumer-electronic gadgets in general and mobile devices in particular, the annual International Consumer Electronics Show here sets the stage for what to expect in tech throughout the year.
The Las Vegas event has evolved into a venue for companies to unveil not only gadgets such as high-definition televisions, or HDTVs, and speakers but also mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. By and large, it is still one of the most significant tech gatherings of the year.
CES 2013 may not see the launch of this year's flagship smartphones, but one thing is for sure: It will see an assortment of large-screen handsets.
As Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005930) proved last year, the so-called phablet genre has become a lucrative sector of the mobile-device market. The South Korea-based company's flagship Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 have demonstrated there is significant demand for smartphones with monstrous displays.
The Galaxy S3 has been called the world's most popular smartphone, an assertion backed by data released by Strategy Analytics in November. Even Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) extended its iPhone's screen size in the most recent release, bumping it from a 3.5-inch display to a 4-inch Retina display.
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We can expect to see other manufacturers showcasing their own rendition of large-screen smartphone-tablet hybrids at CES this year. Huawei Technology Co. Ltd. (SHE:002502) will reportedly introduce its massive 6.1-inch Ascend Mate, which may be the only smartphone to break the 6-inch barrier thus far. However, there is a rumor LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570) may show a successor to its Optimus G, offering a refresh that will allegedly measure 5.5 inches in length, DigiTimes reported.
Ultra HDTVs are likely to hog a great deal of the spotlight on CES 2013's showroom floor. These ultra HDTVs boast four times the resolution of standard HDTVs, bringing movie-theater picture quality to users' living rooms. LG, Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE), and the privately held Westinghouse Digital LLC are among the vendors expected to showcase this type of technology in their forthcoming flat-panel displays, but these devices probably won't launch for quite some time.
Television lovers wishing to purchase one of these advanced display TV sets better have a ton of money and space to spare. These sets can cost as much as $20,000 each and will probably measure more than 60 inches diagonally, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to bigger mobile devices and enhanced TVs, CES 2013 will also encompass the personal-computer community, meaning that we're likely to see some fresh convertible computers this week. The Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) introduced its Windows 8 operating system back in October, alongside some bendable laptop PCs from manufacturers including Acer Inc. (TPE:2353) and Lenovo Group Ltd. (HKG:0992). This category of laptop-tablet hybrids with touch-screen displays and detachable, foldable keyboards are sure to make an appearance in the showroom.
"All the PC manufacturers recognize that they have to do things differently," Kumu Puri, a senior executive with consulting firm Accenture's electronics and high-technology group, told AP.
Larger smartphones, ultra HDTVs, and more hybrid PCs are only some of the major trends we expect to spot at CES 2013. We'll be on the showroom floor and in the keynote conferences catching all the announcements, so be sure to check back for more coverage.