For the tech industry, every year starts off with a bang in early January with the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
This is the event that sets the tone for what to expect in the coming year. At CES 2015, it was trends like 4K TVs becoming a mainstream product instead of something exotic, an explosion of wearables preparing to do battle with Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) forthcoming Apple Watch and curved displays on everything from smartphones to smartwatches and TVs.
What’s coming next week at CES 2016? Here’s what we’re expecting to see.
There is a lot of buzz around automotive technology at CES 2016, and it’s not just about smartphone integration. There are some really big deals expected to be announced.
Mysterious Tesla (TSLA) competitor Faraday Future is launching its first concept vehicle at CES. The California electric car startup is expecting to begin production at a Las Vegas factory by 2020 and is touting a disruptive subscription-based ownership plan for its cars.
The bigger story might just be one of the world’s oldest car companies, though. Rumors have Ford Motor Company (F) teaming up with Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) to announce a joint venture on a self-driving car. A vehicle combining Ford’s manufacturing and distribution know-how with Google’s advanced self-driving technology could be the deal that rocks CES 2016.
VR headsets have been a crowd favorite at CES for the past few years, but expect them to be firmly in the spotlight at CES 2016. Facebook’s (FB) Oculus Rift will be hitting store shelves in 2016, Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation VR is expected to be released and other manufacturers — including HTC, Samsung (SSNLF) and Microsoft (MSFT) — have VR technology that’s either in production or due to move from prototype to consumer release during the year.
CES 2016 will be the opportunity to whip up the hype around virtual reality and get consumers pumped about the prospect of putting down hundreds of dollars on a VR headset.
Many companies use CES as an opportunity to launch new mobile gear for the year, including wearables, smartwatches and smartphones. The big guns like Samsung tend to wait until Mobile World Congress in February for this sort of thing — and Apple always skips these events altogether — but CES 2016 is expected see a heavy Chinese presence.
In particular, look for Huawei (fresh off the success of manufacturing Google’s flagship Nexus 6P smartphone) to use CES to make a splash for the launch of its own mobile devices in the U.S., including the powerful Mate 8 phablet and a new smartwatch.
Finally, the smart home continues to be a big thing. Consumers seem excited about the potential to save money on their energy bills and save time by automating chores like shutting down lights and TVs for the night, not to mention being able to use their smartphone and voice commands to control their gear.
In the leadup to CES 2016, my inbox has been inundated with press releases touting the smart home technology that will be on display.
Internet-connected appliances (big and small), TVs, heating and cooling systems, lighting, cameras and home security systems will continue to be showcased. And it won’t just be the devices themselves on display, we’ll also get a better sense of the jockeying going on in the background to be the central hub of these smart devices, with competing standards like Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Weave, LG’s SmartThinQ and the Samsung/Google/Nest collaboration called Thread.
Of course there’s going to be a lot more, too. Virtually every consumer electronics company in the country (except Apple) and a flood of startups will be there, hoping their product steals the spotlight. And you can be pretty sure the TV makers will be showing off plenty of eye candy, too. 4K Ultra HD and curved screens may be old news, but expect to see some monster sets on display.
Stay tuned for CES 2016 updates starting next week.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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