Year of the app signals CES shift from hardware
Makers of TV sets were also keen to emphasise how high definition would develop on their platforms. The big news from the major TV manufacturers was so-called 4K TVs, boasting four times the number of pixels as the current HD TVs, giving them crisper images. Sony even promised to launch a 4K video service to help spur adoption of the new technology.
It had echoes of recent years, when 3D TVs were the big story, but a mixture of high prices and a lack of easily accessible content has meant they failed to live up to the initial hopes of the industry. In 2011, Sony even launched a 3D video content service to provide content to customers.
Despite the scepticism from some quarters, not everyone was convinced 4K TVs would go the same way as their 3D predecessors. “With 4K TVs, it’s easy to upscale from HD content, and it looks beautiful,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group.
Sony unveiled a prototype of a 4K OLED TV, while LG demonstrated a curved display, and Panasonic showed off a 4K tablet computer and a 56-inch OLED panel with 4k2k resolution.
This was also the year big-screen mobile phones got a boost. While we once dismissed the larger-screened devices, it seems so-called “phablets” are here to stay. Joining Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 are offerings from ZTE and Huawei.
ZTE unveiled a five-inch phone dubbed the Grand S, while Huawei added the Ascend Mate with a 6.1-inch screen to its line-up.
“We expect 2013 to be the year of the phablet,” said Neil Mawston, UK-based executive director of Strategy Analytics’ global wireless practice.
While many of the products shown at the expo will make it to consumers somewhere in the world, it’s inevitable that some will fall by the wayside.
There were plenty of weird and wonderful things around the show. The Brain Wave TV from Haier, which demonstrates how you could use your thoughts to interact with electronics – in this case through a game that involved raising and lowering a ball on screen simply by thinking about it – through a band that translates your thoughts into movement isn’t going to be in your living room any time soon. But it showed how TV manufacturers are turning to ever-quirkier ways of interacting with TVs to keep consumers interested.
One of the more bizarre yet potentially useful items that the exhibition turned up were Nano Nails, which attempt to get around the problem of using touch screens while having long nails. It’s a fingernail stylus, so you’ll always have it right there when you need it.