2012 International Consumer Electronics Show: Top Trends and Highlights

Top Trends and Highlights from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show starts Jan 9-12, 2012 (Image: CES )

CES has come and gone, and in its wake we will be left with a trail of cool and groovy, sleek and stylish new electronics. But for the average consumer it may all seem like a big blur of hype and hyperbole. Here are four trends that resonated across the gamut of retailers and will certainly change how everyone interacts with their technology, their clients, and each other.

Ultrabooks. You may not have heard of them before, but this year just about every company has introduced a new one. What is it, you ask? Basically, it’s a laptop with specifications, defined by Intel that put it below a certain price, usually $1,000; less than 21 mm thick and 3.1 lbs. heavy; and with processor speeds of 1.4 GHz and above. The battery power on ultrabooks are also usually exemplary.  In a nutshell, it’s the PC world’s answer to the MacBook Air, the iPad, and other tablets. Unlike Netbooks, ultrabooks are small and they pack all the power you would need to do heavy lifting like multitasking, video editing, and gaming. Ultrabooks make all other laptops look either fat and lazy or small and incompetent. Intel’s aim is that by the end of 2012, 40% of the consumer laptop market segment will be Ultrabooks, and I believe they’ll meet that goal with no problem at all.

Face, motion, and voice recognition. Now that people have been introduced to motion recognition games like xbox Connect and Wii, or voice recognition services like Apple’s Siri or Google’s Speech to text, it’s only natural that people will expect this type of technology to spill into their other electronic devices.  In fact, face, motion, and voice recognition was one of the more popular features on products on the showroom floor at the 2012 CES. Recognition software was integrated into televisions, cars, and mobile devices.

Connected life. Wireless world. Devices are no longer keeping secrets from one another. From now on we’re going to start expecting that whatever our laptop knows, the television and refrigerator should too. The vacation photos you take on your camera will be available on your printer. With Samsung leading the way “smart electronics” are going to allow consumers to not only enjoy and share a wide range of content across devices anywhere and anytime, but backup important data that is accessible at work, home or on the go.

Increased processor speeds. Processor’s get faster every year. It’s a given, but is it worth the upgrade. Possibly. Many of the above mentioned technologies introduced this year can’t be executed on your older computers, even if your current computer is two years old. Now that Intel has introduced Ivy Bridge, its next generation of processors, the bounds of our limitations are completely out of sight.