CES 2012 Buzz: What To Expect in Vegas

With the Consumer Electronics Show quickly approaching, everyone is wondering what this year’s hot trends will be.  A few things we know – the buzz around 3D continues to peter out after peaking at CES 2010, tablets and e-readers continue to find their way into more consumers hands, and “thin is in” as the hottest TV’s, laptops, tablets, and phones will be thinner than ever in 2012. But will there be any big surprises? Here’s a quick roundup of what to expect in Las Vegas next week…

Panasonic is blowing it out at CES, particularly on the HD front, with more than a dozen new HDTVs, a near limitless flow of DVD and Blu-ray players, new Skype capabilities, a new soundbar, and 3D video conferencing.

Google is going to make another go of it with Google TV, lining up LG Electronics in addition to existing partners Samsung Electronics, Sony and Vizio as commited partners in the Web-centric TV strategy. But don’t expect actual sales of new Google TV hardware from these vendors anytime soon.

According to the latest data from Nielsen, the buzz on TV’s is up this year, while the buzz on tablets is down. The most talk is still around tablets but TVs are seeing the biggest year-over-year gains in online buzz. TVs accounted for 21% of pre-CES chatter, up from about 10% a year ago, while tablets dropped from 31% to 23%.

Much of the excitement around TVs stems from a company that won’t even be at CES next week—Apple, which plans to launch its own connected TV this year. And that is why, according to Forbes, this year’s CES is all about Apple – as it is every year these days.

And not to be forgotten – Microsoft represents another major vendor that will be all over CES, without actually being there.

Motorola Mobility will roll out the Connected Home Gateway, which promises to plug into any outlet in the home and automatically connects to the different devices it discovers. That promises to let service providers sell new services that let customers remotely control and monitor their lights, thermostats, security systems and other “smart home” components.

Dish Network is planning to announce a broadband satellite and is planning to debut a three-tuner, multiroom digital video recorder at the show.

HD audio provider DTS will make its first appearance at CES (Central Hall booth #9443), demoing products like DTS Boost and DTS Envelo, offering up expert opionions from DTS execs, and hosting guest presentations from notable audio professionals including music producers Alan Parsons, the Avila Brothers, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Research In Motion will debut the next PlayBook operating system in an attempt to regain is quickly loosening foothold in the mobile industry.

NVIDIA will be showcasing its Tegra, GeForce, and 3D Vision product families, as well as previewing some very cool in-vehicle navigation and infotainment systems.

Civolution will demonstrate a service that could allow content owners to deliver interactive video and advertising to mobile phones and tablets that is synchronized with programming that a viewer is watching on TV.
The Tiffen Company arrives in Vegas with an arsenal of new products in tow, including the new Steadicam Smoothee handheld mount that allows for ultra-smooth shooting with an iPhone.

Sennheiser’s booth will be highlighted by the debut of the IE 60 and IE 80 earphones, which promise a new wave.

Fujifilm has announced a total of 18 cameras that will be on display in Vegas next week.  While the company’s in-development mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is noticeably absent from the list, sources suggest it may be there after all.

JVC will unveil an aftermarket car stereo at CES that you can control with hand gestures.  The base model KD-X40 deck will feature audio streaming on paired BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android phone, and allow users to change songs using a swipe of a finger on the screen.

Sony Erricson has been teasing what appears to be a new smartphone all week.