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What to Expect From CES 2017

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Every year, the CES technology show in Las Vegas is one of the highlights of the year for gadget and consumer tech fans eager to see the latest and greatest from the world’s top tech companies. Here are some of the highlights that we can expect from this year’s show, scheduled for the first week of January 2017.

New TVs

It wouldn’t be a CES show without companies highlighting the latest new TVs. In 2016, it was the new Ultra HD 4K televisions that caught everyone’s attention. This year, the biggest manufacturers – Sony, LG, Philips, Samsung and Panasonic – are likely to be back with new 4K televisions.

Moreover, some tech analysts have promised that a new buzzword at CES will be High-Dynamic Range (HDR) tech, which basically means TV screens that have superior color, contrast and brightness. We may see some 8K and OLED displays this year, as well as some TVs that are completely unconventional – such as those with screens that you can bend or roll up.

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Virtual reality

At the 2016 show, VR was one of the big winners, and it’s likely to be the case in 2017 as well. One idea that analysts have been buzzing about recently are new affordable VR headsets from Microsoft. Earlier in the year, the company promised VR headsets around the $299 price point, which would make them far more affordable to consumers than the $600 or $700 they might pay for an Oculus Rift VR headset. Expect to see Microsoft Windows 10 VR headsets from the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer.

That’s the hardware side of virtual reality. There’s also the prospect that we’ll see examples of new VR content from movie studios, media companies and streaming services. The reason is simple: there’s no point to buying an expensive VR headset if there’s no content for it. As a result, some big-name Hollywood studios may debut some short VR films in an effort to entice more people to try virtual reality.

Wearable tech

Fitness bands are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearable technology. In 2016, one of the standouts of the show was the Fitbit Blaze, so expect to see one of the big leaders in wearable fitness bands – such as Fitbit or Garmin – unveil new offerings this year as well. Also, look for wearable tech in the form of shoes and clothing that can do everything from monitor your heartbeat to give you a customized fitness regimen when they sync with your smartphone.

Smart cars

In recent years, CES 2017 has turned into a mini-auto show, as the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volvo, Chevy, VW and Kia have unveiled aspects of their smart cars. In many ways, cars are transforming into tech-powered mobile entertainment centers.

And, in 2016, NVIDIA unveiled a supercomputer for driverless cars. So that could be one area where we also see some activity: driverless cars. In fact, some analysts have suggested that this year, there may be driverless car demos down the Vegas Strip.

The one car that’s getting a lot of buzz is the new electric car from Faraday Future. On Twitter, the company has promised to “unveil the future” in Las Vegas. The company has also promoted brief teaser videos of its car on YouTube.

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The smart home

Everything about the modern home is getting smarter – smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, and even smart coffee makers. Everything is getting hooked up to the Internet and becoming part of the Internet of Things. And with the growing popularity of Amazon Echo and Google Home, it’s easy to see how this trend is going to continue into 2017.

Robots

With just under two months to go until CES 2017, one category that’s starting to attract attention are new “family companion robots.” These robots can manage all your smart home products, remind you of upcoming events in your schedule and even play music for you or your family members.

Drones

In 2016, the hit of the CES show was the Parrot Disco Drone. In 2017, look for other consumer drones that boost amazing camera features and increased flight time. One major trend to watch for are new compact drones that can be folded up into a backpack and taken anywhere in the world. In many ways, the line between action cameras (e.g. GoPro cameras) and drones is starting to blur, leading to an entirely new category: action drones.

Cameras

Another perennial hit at CES are all the new high-end cameras that are really high-end computers. In 2016, one of the most talked-about cameras was the Intel RealSense R200 camera, which essentially enables users to take 3D pictures. The camera, for example, allows 3D scanning of people and objects. These “photos” can then be printed using a 3D printer. In 2017, we could be seeing an update from the company on its RealSense technology.

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Smartphones

Typically, the world’s best smartphones get unveiled at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, but there are always some high-end smartphones that launch at CES first. In 2016, for example, Huawei unveiled the Huawei Mate 8. So keep your eyes open for new smartphone entrants, especially from China.

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In addition to these product categories, keep an eye on the keynote addresses from the leading tech companies that take place during the first days of CES. That’s where you’ll get a sense of where many industries are headed. In past years, for example, participants learned how buzzwords like “the Internet of Things” are shaping the strategies of companies going forward.

This year, one of the keynote addresses will be from NVIDIA, which has promised to discuss AI, self-driving cars, VR and gaming. But there’s one innovative company you won’t see at CES – Apple. That’s because Apple never has a presence at the CES trade show.

The real fun of CES, though, is simply walking around and experiencing some of the truly head-scratching and puzzling gadgets and gizmos that make their way to the showroom floor. Often, these products appear to have no real practical value – they’re just a proof-of-concept showing what can be done when emerging technologies are combined in fascinating and innovative ways. That’s part of feeling like you’re experiencing the future at CES.

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