CES 2016: A Preview and a Prediction for the Future
Happy New Year!
Here I am getting ready to head to Las Vegas to once again cover CES, and as I look at my predictions and coverage for the last few years it seems that most of what I've written was right on track. Life is not always that kind with regards to meeting our expectations, but for the last few years not only have the predictions for technology’s future been mostly on track, it seems that they have been exceeded and that progress has accelerated.
With regard to CES, I am sitting here trying to set priorities regarding whom to visit and what to see. This year it is even more impossible to see everything, or even see all of what I am most interested in.
This gigantic show has spread out yet again, with exhibits not only filling the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands, but also much of the Venetian, Mandalay Bay and this year, various other hotels and venues. This year there are a number of seminars and several technology segment sub shows. We will be also covering CES Unveiled, which is a press-only event showcasing new devices ranging from the awesome to the ridiculous as well as Showstoppers and other categories (more on that below).
Last year I made a number of predictions for CES as well as for consumer tech for the year 2015 in general. I promised to review them and see what actually happened so let’s do that along with some new predictions for 2016.
My 2015 CES predictions from a year ago, alongside today’s reality:
2015 prediction for IoT: We will see a great deal of hype on the Internet of Things, where everything is connected, but my prediction is that the cost and pain-in-the-butt issues will keep this from becoming fully mainstream except in some areas such as fitness.
2016 reality: I was mostly correct, in that devices such as Apple watches and many other wearables have not taken off. Yes, many new devices are being announced at CES this year and fitness wearables such as Fitbit, the Microsoft band and others have certainly gained a large following, as predicted last year, but with the exception of fitness the story is still being written.
2015 prediction for 3D printers: No doubt they are making great strides and I expect to see cheaper and more capable ones this year but…except for a few very specialized uses I do not see everyone having or even wanting one—perhaps ever.
2016 reality: I just may have been wrong on this one. I still feel that the average home or office will not need or even want a 3D printer for a long time, but the overall technology is advancing so fast that 3D printing could supplant many of our tried and true manufacturing processes over the next 15–20 years. Imagine, 3D printing a complete device all in one piece, no circuit boards, no screen, no components, no case. Sound crazy? So did portable phones and instant communications from anyplace at any time in the mid-20th century.
2015 prediction for PC components: We’ll see more powerful, faster and in general cooler PC components such as processors, the new DDR4 memory, amazing motherboards and graphics cards and even mice and keyboards. The PC is seeing a resurgence as many who turned to tablets and netbooks and Chrome books have realized the extreme limitations of these devices. Don’t get me wrong. They will survive and grow, but most people generally do not want or need a second one. I predict that the PC resurgence will gain steam in 2015 driven by the many new advanced components that will be shown at CES.
2016 reality: Right on, netbooks are dead, Chrome books are almost dead, and very powerful PCs, both snap apart tablet and laptops such as those offered by Lenovo, Dell and the amazing Microsoft Surface Book, with its best-in-class super high-res screen and 12-hour battery life are becoming the rage. Both light and thin devices that are very powerful, and some new super computer desktops are selling well with many new devices and new amazing screens all powered by new standards such as USB3 C, Solid State PCIE M.3 drives and the so far, so great Windows 10, are causing a resurgence in the PC market. Of course, those that just use e-mail and peruse Facebook have no need and will and should keep their older devices until they do have a real need. But for the rest of us, it is time to upgrade that 2010 Dell or HP. I predict that standard tablets such as the various droid-type tablets and the iPad will continue to sell but will become a smaller and smaller segment as no one really needs to replace a rather simple display device every few years. The new, true computer tablets will gain share.
2015 prediction for Windows 10: The elephant in the room will be Windows 10. It will not be shown at CES as Microsoft has taken a page out of Apple’s book and has chosen to unveil the first real beta later in the month at a special event; however, you better believe that Windows 10, which has gotten excellent reviews from the pre-beta testing group, which includes me, will be a major topic of conversation.
2016 reality: Windows 10 has been a huge success, and I have seen estimates of almost 150 million installations; Windows XP is diminishing quickly and with the expiration of the free upgrade to Windows 10 coming up at the end of the first half of 2016, this will only accelerate. Windows 10 has seen a number of improvements already and almost all reported bugs have been recognized and the vast majority of them fixed. If you want to see how well it is doing just look at Microsoft stock for the last six months. I predict that Windows 10 will become the dominant OS over the next two years.
2015 prediction for automotive electronics: This is a topic that has first quietly and in the last few years not so quietly gained prominence. I expect to see amazing advances in automotive electronics this year and not just new cutesy Bluetooth devices, but true 21st century science fiction technology. I expect to cover this topic extensively.
2016 reality: All of what I wrote and more has come to pass. The advances in automotive electronics and the sci-fi-like capabilities of cars that are just around the corner are truly amazing. Here at I-Connect007, we covered automotive electronics in great depth in September, and we hear that there will be some amazing new announcements made, including new devices and capabilities that will be shown at CES this year. I predict that the first truly autonomous vehicles will be available within the next two years, but their use will be limited to specific areas or situations—but only for now.
2015 prediction for drones: OMG, drones…they have been at CES for years but they are no longer toys. My prediction is that this is a device that will be in more households than you might imagine and for reasons both fun and perhaps alarming.
2016 reality: Again, I was right on but the story is far from over. The hardware has advanced and the capabilities have improved, but the scary part is just starting to be realized. My contacts in this industry segment tell me that the real story is the legislation that is sure to come—and come soon—possibly requiring a license to fly all but the smallest drones and only then at very low altitudes. I will be conducting a number of interviews on this topic during the show, so stay tuned.
2015 prediction for streaming media: my prediction is that cable and satellite TV companies are, and should be concerned. My feeling is that many of us will be cutting the cord over the next five years and that we will see advanced reasons why we can this year, starting at CES.
2016 reality; Again, spot on. There is no longer any reason to maintain a cable or satellite service as long as you have good Internet connection. The Amazon Fire stick, the latest ROKU and others, as well as the services they link you to, have made great strides. This is an evolving story and I feel that the cable/satellite providers who make you buy a bundle that includes so many channels that you have to pay for, but have no interest in, still do not get it. They will however, they will.
2015 prediction for virtual reality: This is something that I truly believe will become mainstream. Yes, Oculus Rift will be soon showing a new headset, but I expect the true acknowledged leader in this field 10 years from now is a company that none of us have heard of yet.
2016 reality: Once again, spot on. Oculus Rift will be showing new devices, but so will a number of other companies. As for the future of VR and augmented reality (AR), it is a done deal; virtual and augmented reality are so much further along than almost anyone realizes. And it’s not only virtual—there are some technologies that will let you actually feel the object being projected. Star Trek Holodeck anyone? A number of new devices and systems will be shown at CES for watching, playing games, etc., and a major display technology driver, one that helped push the popularity of home movies, TV, VCRs and DVDs is apparently starting to persue VR and AR. If you want to know who, you will have to ask me privately. This is a topic that we will be following at this show.
There are so many other things that we hope to show you, many of which we do not even know about yet. We will be covering events such as the Eureka Park exhibits, the Shark Tank-like event Launchit, Showstoppers, and a number of private press events such as the highly anticipated NVidia event that will again this year focus on smart automotive technology. We will be looking at a number of new PC (personal computers, NOT political correctness) components, the aforementioned new display technology using OLED and 4K or even 5K resolution, USB3 C, snap and go devices, and so much more.
In the meantime, if there is any specific technology or product you would like us to cover, please contact me and we will do our best.
Stay tuned as I will be providing many pictures and comments on what I see day-by-day at CES 2015.