Consumer Electronic Show Warmup


12/3/2014 4:08 AM

Event Opinion

New year, New devices

Merry C...onsumer Electronics Show!

It's almost that time of year again, rooms decked with bright flashing lights and millions waiting to see what new toys they can play with. That's right it's almost time for the Consumer Electronics Show! (CES) 2015, held every January in Las Vegas. Where the biggest and brightest companies get to show off their new technology. It's also the place where many in the telecommunications industry choose as a platform to showcase their newest smartphones, tablets and related goodies.

CES is one of the biggest technology shows of the year and arguably the most famous. The show kicks off on the 5th January so that gives you four days to recover from any hangovers that may have come your way and to get ready to see what trends will emerge throughout 2015. To get you into the techie mood here's a preview of what might be announced at the show.

CES Product Preview

Samsung's 2014 flagship model the Galaxy S5 hasn't fared as well as was hoped, receiving poor sales this year and it's reported almost 40% less than Samsung expected. During the second quarter of 2014 the Galaxy S4 sold 16 million units whereas the Galaxy S5 only sold 12 million units in the same period in 2015. It's reasonable to expect some details at CES from the Korean giants regarding the next incarnation. The rumours thus far indicate Samsung will be keeping tradition with the 2015 flagship with the Galaxy S6 moniker. As with the Galaxy S5 the S6 should be available in two versions, one with an octa core Exynos chipset and the other running a Snapdragon, quite possibly the 808 model. According to Android Pit the display will still be 5.3" but will incorporate an ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Other rumoured specifications include 4GB RAM and a 20MP Sony camera sensor and we're likely to see storage options in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. It's entirely possible the Galaxy S6 will also get the dual edge screen seen on the Galaxy Note Edge earlier this year.

This time last year we had the first commercially available curved display on a mobile device in the form of LG's G Flex. Released with much applause and lauded for its technological advancements. However it quickly faded into consumer obscurity, probably in part due to the ridiculous price tag. According to a recent report LG may announce the G Flex 2 at CES, details are currently light but the device will retain the curved display, non-scratch back cover and is likely to up the resolution from 720p to 1080p, we could also see a smaller overall form factor making it more desirable to a larger audience. The internal hardware is anyone's guess at the moment but it won't be long to find out if the reports are true and we'll be sure to update you in our CES coverage. If you're interested in the next LG flagship you may need to wait a while, the LG G3 was released in June this year so it stands to reason that we won't see much about the G4 until Mobile World Congress in March, at the earliest.

Another company preparing to unveil its 2015 flagship at CES is Xiaomi, a successor to the popular Mi4 which will naturally be titled as Mi5. Whilst nothing is yet confirmed it's believed that the Mi5 will get a 5.7" QHD display and will be powered by a quad core Snapdragon and a fingerprint reader is even said to be in the works. If industry sources are correct this would make it the second flagship to be released by Xiaomi in the space of a few months. In recent years Xiaomi has become a force to be reckoned with in the Asian markets, chiefly because of its ability to push smartphones at highly competitive prices, if it retains the current pricing strategy we could see the Mi5 for around $300 which could be a threat to bigger OEMs, especially in China and India where it has already taken a substantial share of the market from market leaders such as Samsung.

It's no secret that Intel has had renewed interest in the mobile markets of late and the news is that ASUS's CEO Jerry Shen has recently announced a new line of Intel based smartphones which will debut in 2015. So far all we know of said devices is that they will have LTE connectivity and will come in at around the $300 price range. There are no details on what kind of hardware these Intel based devices might be sporting or how well they can hold their own against other devices utilising ARM based chipsets such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon line. It was also mentioned that whilst the CES focus would be Intel based ASUS are not giving up on ARM technology, ARM based devices will be available later in 2015 with current plan to release these first in the Chinese market and then later expand globally.

Sony has taken the bull by the horns and has already announced the date for its press conference on January 5th. Xperia Z4 rumours have already started to make the rounds but it's unclear if we will see the new flagship at CES or Mobile World Congress (MWC) in March. Recent reports have claimed that Sony has abandoned its release schedule from every six months which was implemented early last year and instead revert back to a yearly schedule in order to save research and production costs, this could mean it's more likely the Xperia Z4 line-up won't be seen till MWC. Despite that the rumours suggest the Z4 may come with a 5.5", 2560 x 1440 resolution display, backed up by the 64bit capable Snapdragon 810. Wearables are likely to feature quite prominently this year and Sony is expected to demo a working version of its SmartEyeGlass, a direct competitor to Google Glass and we may even get a peek at the Inception Glasses technology, so called because of their ability to bend the environment around you. We could also find out more about the Smart Lifelog Camera which was displayed as a concept at CES 2014 and recently confirmed for production.

CES has never been a big show for HTC and instead usually announces new products at Mobile World Congress which is generally speaking less tech orientated and more mobile focused. Coupled with the fact the HTC One M8 was announced at MWC last year makes it likely we won't see any details about their next flagship till later. However HTC will be at CES and there's an outside chance we might get to see the HTC One Wear, an Android Wear based smartwatch with a circular watch face similar to the Moto 360. The One Wear has been teased for a while, with interested onlookers expecting an official announcement since August. With Android Wear based watches popping up everywhere and the Apple watch not far away now would be a great opportunity for HTC to stake its claim to a piece of the wearable pie.

CES Awards 2015

Every year in preparation for the CES show there are the CES innovation awards which were held recently. CES awards are given for several different categories which cover the whole range of technologies on offer. This year Samsung won a total of 36 awards, in comparison in 2014 when they won 24. This year Samsung's awards included 2 in the Best of Innovation category and 4 from the Eco-Design category. Samsung mobile devices that won awards include the Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Gear S and Gear VR.

LG also picked up quite a few honours, going home with a total of 10 this year and making a grand total of 150 awards received in the last 10 years. LG's award winning mobile device this year is the LG G3, which was also voted best in show by several independent news outlets when it was announced in CES 2014.

Stay tuned for our CES coverage early next year and in the meantime if you're wondering how you're going to optimise your website for all these new devices coming very soon then you need look no further than 51Degrees. We'll provide the intelligence to your servers enabling them to detect new devices as soon as they are available, leaving you more time to enjoy the show!