There’s no better way to kick off each year in tech than with the Consumer Electronics Show. Technology brands from across the globe descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center and the surrounding casinos to show off some of the newest technological innovations with the event also serving as the indicator for what will likely be big in the year ahead.
Last year new TV tech was a major talking point with 3D, 4K and 8K cropping up time and again, whilst in mobile we saw a big push towards LTE on a broader range of devices as well as tablets taking up a lot more of that 1.8 million square feet of floor space.
2013 is already shaping up to be a big year in mobile. LTE is rolling out to more locations worldwide, multi-core processors are enabling even more demanding hardware and display technology is not only going Full HD but we might see some more creative uses of flexible and transparent screens from the more adventurous brands.
We’ve already discovered what will likely be Sony Mobile’s biggest announcement in the next few days, two previously rumoured handsets; the Yuga and the Odin will take the stage as the Sony Xperia Z and ZL respectively (X and XL were alternative names rumoured to be gracing these two handsets). Both fitting the bill as two sides of the same coin, the Z and ZL will feature as Sony’s new flagship Android handsets for at the very least the first half of 2013.
Specs include a 5-inch 1080p Full HD display, a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and a 12-megapixel camera, plus Android Jelly Bean on board. How Sony skin the Z remains to be seen, but expect all the be revealed on the 7th.
Although Sony may have already accidentally played their hand, Chinese manufacturer Huawei have been far more forthcoming with their intentions. We are expecting two if not three new smartphones, one stepping in as the company’s first global Windows Phone 8 handset, whilst the other two Android-powered devices will showcase the latest iteration of their own Android UI overlay: Emotion UI.
The Huawei W1 (pictured above) is the result of the development of the W2 or ‘Huawei Surface Phone’ concept and is the first handset out of the company to run Windows Phone 8. Specs wise the W1 is said to utilise a 4-inch WVGA (480×800) display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage and a 5-megapixel rear camera, with sites like Liveside.net citing an arrival to market anytime after its CES reveal during Q1 2013.
The two Android players we mentioned take the form of the Huawei Ascend D2 and Huawei Ascend Mate. The D1 featured heavily at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last February, but its successor looks to dwarf its predecessor, with specs (according to phandroid.com) and size comparable to that of the aforementioned Sony Xperia Z: think 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 5-inch 1080p display, 13-megapixel camera and 2GB of RAM to wet your whistle.
Should the D2’s 5-inch display not suit your needs, Huawei will also be stepping into the phablet market with the Ascend Mate; a premium tablet/phone crossover with a vast 6.1-inch screen. Expect similar specs to the D2, with a Full HD display and 2GB of RAM but a larger 4000mAh battery to get the job done. Like Sony, Huawei’s press conference takes place on the 7th.
Android Authority have uncovered some of the freshest information on Huawei’s local rival ZTE and their new flagship, the ZTE Grand S. The Grand X which launched last year was targeted at consumers looking for a flagship experience on a budget, but the Grand S looks to be a far more powerful beast, aiming to tango with the best of CES with its 5-inch Full HD screen and quad-core processor, not to mention a range of colours. 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the giant smartphone considering the size of the competition.
With regards to mobile, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is no doubt the most hotly anticipated device, but we suspect the Korean manufacturer will keep that under wraps until at least Mobile World Congress in February. The company told local press that they do expect to ship upwards of 510 million phones in the next 12 months and of those, “390 million are slated as smartphones” (as quoted by WMPoweruser), with the rest being feature and budget devices.
Failing the S4’s appearance, we can assume that Samsung Mobile’s US device portfolio will see a few new additions for their respective carriers and there’s an outside chance we’ll also get to see some new Windows Phone 8 and TIZEN-powered devices, although again, they could be holding such releases back for Barcelona. Beyond that, it’ll be a case of looking to the company’s other endeavours such as in their TV and camera departments for some tasty new technology.
Although we’re not expecting any major mobile announcements from Samsung’s local rival, LG Display are expected to have been the busiest in the run up to CES 2013, with super-thin bezel HD displays on TVs and tablets, not to mention talk of starting to manufacture their own ARM-based chipsets and being the first manufacturer to partner with HP to produce the first batch of Open webOS devices (according to afr.com that is).
With rivals piling on the pressure, Intel have had to learn quickly to maintain a foothold in the mobile space, but 2013 could be the year they go on the offensive, offering more efficient processors capable of some impressive number crunching, without such a thirst for power as the reputation of their current product eludes to.
Speaking of rivals, Nvidia are going to be one of the first companies to take the stage at CES 2013 and rumour has it, they’re going to use it as a platform to unveil the new batch of Tegra processors, with the Tegra 3 currently having a special place in many manufacturer’s hearts. We’re intrigued to see what its successor has to offer.
With such huge names bustling for space on the global technology stage, it’s easy to spot who isn’t present as well as who is. Nokia, who have had a troublesome year selling off assets and reevaluating their brand image look to be keeping silent until at least MWC following on from their most significant announcements having already taken place at Nokia World 2012.
HTC too are employing a similar tact, although US consumers might get some exclusives or products featuring amidst AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s respective press events, as with the Titan 2 last year.
Motorola have also fallen silent, with Google still deliberating what to do with one of their most significant purchases of late.
We’ll be bringing your our own coverage of CES as it unfolds next week, so check back to see how on the money we’ve been.