Analysts at Consumer Reports, the independent and nonprofit product-testing organization, have chosen the five most important trends seen at the 2012 International CES, which officially opens Tuesday in Las Vegas.
While others are trudging around looking for the latest breakthrough, Consumer Reports is more interested on what regular people are going to have in their real-world homes. Therefore, R=rather than look at any one product category or technology breakthrough, Consumer Reports looked at the big picture to determine what the coming year is likely to hold for everyday life.
1. Thinner yet stronger
Every type of hardware is getting thinner, and probably lighter and more powerful, too. This obviously applies to the ultrabooks that many manufacturers will have on display, but it also holds for televisions, tablets and everything else.
2. Cloud connections
All kinds of devices will be connecting to the cloud in order to store or retrieve content and applications. This trend will be most important in regard to mobile devices and motor vehicles.
3. More power
Consumer Reports sees more computing power in “just about everything,” including appliances, vehicles and even toys. Most obviously, this CES will see the advent of mobile phones with quad-core processors.
4. More voice activation
Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Kinect are the most high-profile demonstrations of how useful voice controls can be. It’s evident that more mobile phones will embrace voice interaction, and Consumer Reports expects to see televisions that allow users to simply say the show they want to watch as well. There also will be a surge in apps that enable consumers to use their voices to control their TV, car, music systems, home lighting and many other things, taking these capabilities into the mainstream.
5. Less 3D, better 2D
The belle of the ball for 2011 CES was 3D television, and it’s not going away: this year will see 3D TVs that don’t require special glasses, for instance. But what Consumer Reports expects is the rise of improvements to the regular 2D version, incuding 4K super-high resolution TV sets.
“This year’s CES promises to introduce products and services that allow easier access to content as well as some notable enhancements to make that content better, notably in in visual quality,” said Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports’ Electronics Editor.