CES Roundup 2013: Trend Watch

Elizabeth Huebner This week the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas came to an end. It is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year, but lately I am having a hard time keeping my excitement up. Last year I noted in my round up the lack of groundbreaking product / innovation announcements and this year the sentiment holds true again.
The TV category gets a lot of buzz every year, as visitors from around the world are captivated by the incredible visual displays. A few years ago the technology and term OLED was introduced and last year it was certainly a buzz word. However, will 2013 be the year the buzz word becomes a reality for consumers? LG certainly seemed to think so and mentioned they would be launching a couple OLED TV models later in the year, with price tags up towards $12,000. I’ll state the obvious, but I expect this technology to be an extremely tough sell for quite some time – especially considering consumers may experience “upgrade fatigue.”

Consumers purchased the largest number of tablets to date over the last holiday season. One report mentioned more than 50 million iOS and Android tablets and smartphones were activated from Christmas to New Year’s Eve. With that said, it was not the right time for manufactures at CES to announce new products.

However, of the few announcements that did happen, I enjoyed the one from One Laptop Per Child the most. It will continue to expose more consumers (especially in developing countries) to tablets from an educational perspective. The product will be available in Wal-Mart later this year, with pricing yet to be determined.

Just as companies are focusing on developing countries for tablet use, the same holds true for mobile. Intel announced a new smartphone platform (code name Lexington) targeting customers in developing countries. And while Intel’s target is unique, the product still remains comparable to many standard smartphone platform features. The company claims they could reach 500 million devices by 2015.

Another opportunity to increase mobile exposure and usage came from FreedomPop. The company announced the ability to turn an old iPod Touch into an iPhone through VoIP. This would further assist in the sharp increase in mobile connectivity we’ve seen over the past couple of years.

Personal Health
With New Year resolutions set, the integration of technology and personal health was a real winner for CES. The exhibitors in this category were up 25% this year showcasing everything from digital forks, heart rate monitors, pedometers etc. The category and product offerings will continue to grow as more boomers become accustomed with technology and look for ways to monitor their health – the younger demographics may just integrate it earlier.

Did you attend or follow CES online? What were your thoughts?

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