Here are several products to keep an eye out for: EchoStar (home automation), Dish (an over-the-top video service?), Intel (new Broadwell PCs), Ford (its new SYNC3 entertainment system) and Samsung (just about everything).
Smart home turns into a networked playground
In 1999, TiVo and DVRs defined CES. In 2014, so did wearables. And in 2015, it’ll be the connected house. There was a time when this technology was accessible only to wealthy households and hardcore hobbyists with the ways to hire custom installers. But that time has passed.
A breakout period for 4K TVs
We’ll see 4K TVs–curved and flat, cheap and pricey–all over the show floor. I’m expecting to see LG pushing its new OLED technology and joining Sony, Samsung and other manufacturers in touting new displays based on “quantum dot” technology that shall be able to deliver a wider color gamut. Because no one will purchase a 4K TV without 4K programming to watch on it, look for service providers to announce new products to fill that niche.
Wearables: Here we go again
It might be much too generous to say wearables are “growing up” this year, but apparently the consumer tech industry is advancing and spreading the definition of what a wearable can be. At the CES this year, we can expect a new generation of much more niche and mission-specific wearables–perhaps a reaction to the fact that activity trackers have become ho-hum commodity hardware; that Android Wear and Apple Watch have sucked all the oxygen out of the smartwatch space; and all current-generation wearables are still struggling to win a receptive audience.
Cars rev to catch up to phones
Smartphones are changing very fast, while cars are not. That’s made their relationship tough, but CES 2015 will mark a milestone, where cars aren’t just catching up to smartphones–they’re converging.
In mobile, Sony might seize the moment
I don’t usually expect too much from CES in the mobile space–at least not when it comes to Android tablets and smartphones. Intel and Nvidia typically announce Android-compatible mobile processors, but beyond that it’s usually quiet until a few months later, when Mobile World Congress takes place in Barcelona.
And let’s not forget about the PC
For PCs, the most shocking news that will cut across all brands will be the unveiling of Intel’s 5th-generation Broadwell-U chips.
Making sense of it all
The problem with CES is that both reporters and readers can be quickly overwhelmed by the flood of new products. I’m not going to waste your time on the minutiae. Look for me to identify the trends you need to know about, and the products you’ll want to have.