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CES 2011: What's Hot

International CES 2011 trends include tablets, e-readers, apps, Internet connectivity and more.

January 5, 2011 By Stephanie M. Adamow
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The pre-CES opening State of the Industry address, brought to you by Shawn DuBravac, CFA, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, and Ben Arnold, senior research analyst, promised attendees four major trends at this year's show. Show-goers are likely to find products and applications related to the great demand for portable devices, with the proliferation of tablets and e-readers; device connectivity and interconnectivity; sensor domination; and the rise of apps.

Conspicuously absent from these major discussions was 3D. DuBravac noted that although numbers have not been finalized, 2010 figures project $1 million+ in 3D sales and 2011 sales are projected for just under $2 million.

DuBravac revealed that the average home now owns 24 technology products. The great demand for portable and "pocketable" devices has fueled the increased production of devices in the five to 15-inch screen size, a range that previously was left void.

Tablets will be the major theme at this year's show, DuBravac said, adding that there are over 100+ manufacturer offerings on the 1.6 million square feet of show floor.

Most tablet manufacturers realize they are up against stiff competition, so DuBravac urged the audience to look for differentiation from the plethora of companies, specifically relating to form factor, operating systems and price.

Production of tablets will double in 2011, spurred by consumer demand for portability, the No. 1 reason for tablet purchase, according to CEA research. Optimal price points for tablets hover in the $300 to $400 range, also indicated in the association's research.

There will be a "massive adoption" of tablets in 2011, with about 30 million shipped. E-readers will account for approximately 20 million shipments. In addition to manufacturer differentiation, DuBravac urges onlookers at CES to look for manufacturers' response to use-case scenario, enhancing their products to fit consumer demand. Also popular will be the integration of sensing technologies, like cameras and accelerometers.

A close eye should be kept on the e-reader/tablet climate in 2011 regarding whether they will clash or coexist, DuBravac added.

Arnold examined the concept of "intelligence of things," referring to the connectivity and interconnectivity of devices, which promotes a more beneficial user experience. For example, the digital camera industry capitalized on this concept with Casio's Exilim camera with GPS functionality.

Other products, like the Sphero ball, which can be controlled via a smartphone, provide intelligence where it never existed before. The iGrill meat thermometer, for example, which can send updates of your dinner's progress directly to your phone.
 

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