An Early Look at CES 2013: What to Expect From Tech's Big Guns
by Jonah Loeb, Minyanville staff writer
For those of us who like parties, champagne, and general bonhomie, the turn of a new year is a great occasion to have fun with friends. For those of us who like pushing buttons and having things go “beep” at us, there’s a different reason to get excited after the ball drops: the Consumer Electronics Show is on its way.
When the CES kicks off in Las Vegas next week, some of the world’s hottest tech companies will be hoping to wow attendees and press alike with their biggest, boldest, and most far-out innovations. Some of them may look like things that Q gives to James Bond, but some of them may end up changing the world. Here’s what to expect from the big guns at the 2013 CES.
Just one year on from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the 2012 event, it already seems strange that he gave it at all; after all, the hottest operating system in the world doesn’t belong to Microsoft but rather Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). Since Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) doesn’t officially participate in the CES, practically every high-end tablet or fancy new smartphone in the room will be running Google’s Android OS. While Google may not be rolling out anything particularly shocking, the extent of its market share will be made abundantly clear to everyone who switches on a device to find a very familiar user interface.
Korean electronics behemoth Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) has become the Buffalo Bill Cody of the tech world, kicking off every quarter or conference by making extravagant claims about the mind-bendingness of what’s coming next. The 2013 CES is no different, as Samsung has announced the launch of a new HDTV set with an “unprecedented new shape,” along with an ad campaign that has many believing that the new set will be taller than it is wide. Add this to a big unveiling for the company’s Smart TV Evolution Kit, and it looks like Samsung could do for Korea in 2013 what PSY did in 2012.
Chip-maker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is locked in an all-out war with rival ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH), and the CES needs to be the site of its next big move. Intel’s chips are not at all popular with smartphone manufacturers, and even its ace in the hole, Apple, has been developing its own chips. Rumor has it, however, that Intel plans to introduce a new mobile processor at the CES in hope of stealing back some of the mobile market from its competitors. There have also been rumblings about Intel producing its own television; while its brief foray with Google TV didn't charm consumers, the company may have learned enough from the tepid performance of Apple TV and Google TV to give its own product the edge. Intel has been hanging on, but if there was ever a make-or-break time for Intel in the mobile market, it’s now.
For the CEO of a company whose main source of income is advertising revenue, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) chief Marissa Mayer has not spent nearly as much time with ad clients as executives at Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Google, and elsewhere. Despite the media buzz around her, Mayer has been curiously tight-lipped about her vision for Yahoo’s future. While tech start-ups peddle their HD television/phone/speargun combo gadgets, advertisers and investors alike are looking for more basic answers from Mayer about the directions Yahoo might go in search of revitalization. One such direction may be original content; Tom Hanks has signed on for an animated series to be hosted by Yahoo, bringing a massive name to the company's efforts to diversify. Speculation is rife about Yahoo's plans, but it’s unclear how much of what goes on behind the scenes will be made public. After all, what happens in Vegas…
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