CES Preview: What to Expect at the Show

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which takes place Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, is rapidly approaching. Numerous important technologies — such as 802.11b, the first really widely adopted Wi-Fi standard — got their early boosts at the show. Here’s what to expect this time.

Smart TVs. TV manufacturers such as Vizio have been steadily talking up smart TVs (GigaOM Pro, subscription req’d), incorporating widgets, full-blown software applications and many other features that point to convergence between computing and televisions. CES is expected to be a major step forward for next-generation televisions. TV Everywhere implementations (GigaOM Pro, subscription req’d) are likely to be abundant, too.

Intel’s Cores. Intel CEO Paul Otellini is delivering a keynote speech at the show, and the company said that he’ll discuss new chip sizes and manufacturing technology, as well as Core processors for desktop and laptop computers. In total, Intel is expected to launch a whopping 17 processors at CES.

USB 3.0 Devices and Connectors. Version 3.0 of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection has the potential to be even more disruptive than USB 2.0 was, and that technology became the de facto way for us to connect everything from iPods to digital cameras to computers and other devices. The new USB 3.0 standard is 10 times faster at data transfers than USB 2.0 and is bi-directional. Expect new types of devices, dongles, connectors and applications based on it at CES.

Increased Smartphone Competition. In addition to a keynote address featuring Nokia executives, Palm has an event at CES, which some are predicting may be a major announcement.  Expect new Android phones to be shown, and lots of smartphones with new and different form factors.

The Camera Cavalcade. CES is always a big show for digital cameras, accessories and software for photographers. This year will be no different, with fuel cell-driven cameras and those with advanced touchscreens seen as possibilities on the show floor this year. As usual, point-and-shoot cameras will be in abundance.

Android-Driven Home Entertainment. MIPS Technologies and Tensilica just announced a joint system-on-a-chip alliance that’s designed to accelerate the deployment of the open-source Android operating system in home entertainment devices. (MIPS already has its own Android distribution focused on the same goals.)  At CES the companies will be demonstrating the potential of their joint alliance for everything from Android-based “mobile wireless phones to low-cost digital picture frames, high-definition DTVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray disc players and more,” they note in their announcement.

Android Tablet Devices. As Colin has reported, Android tablet devices are set to appear in numerous form factors, and some are already here, such as the Archos 5 video tablet. Expect to see several of these at CES.

Windows 7 Everywhere. Microsoft is riding a more positive wave on the operating system front than it has in years with the recent release of Windows 7, and CES is likely to be packed with many new netbooks running the OS, many types of laptops and other devices that take advantage of its touchscreen capabilities, and more.

GigaOM will be reporting from CES, so stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Flickr user wili_hybrid.

This article also appeared on BusinessWeek.com.