Another year kicks off, and another bout of the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is Las Vegas, Nevada is set to begin as well. Next week, the world's largest tech companies and reporters are descending on Vegas for nearly a week of next-gen technology announcements, and we will be there.
CES is always a bit fun as it serves as a barometer for where technology is going in that year. So, what do we expect for CES 2015? Let's find out.
Microsoft used to have a massive presence at CES with then CEO Steve Ballmer often giving one of the keynotes. However, 2012 was their last year at CES, at least in an official capacity.
It is a bit of a shame too as Microsoft's 'booth' was a massive, sprawling labyrinth of technology. Instead, Microsoft now tends to do their own events like //Build/ to make their pronouncements. The reason? Microsoft wanted to line up their release schedule on their timeline, and not the one for CES. Also, messaging. Microsoft controls the news, and they do not have to compete with every other tech company to be heard.
However, Microsoft is still at CES with an off-site showcase where they still have their products, and they invite the press to chat about current and future plans. You can see our booth tour from CES 2014 for an idea. Although it is not as glamorous as a full setup, Microsoft is working behind the scenes in preparation for Build later this April.
Windows Central is visiting with Microsoft during CES although the company is not expected to make any major announcements at the event, especially since they have their own Windows 10 event scheduled later this month.
Instead, Microsoft is featuring Lumia Denim, mobile imaging, connected devices, and other smaller items. There could be a few surprise app announcements along the way, and maybe some US carrier Denim releases too.
So what about Windows Phone? Mobile itself has increasingly moved away from CES with Mobile World Congress (MWC) taking the lead as the premier mobile event. That show takes place March 2-5 in Barcelona, Spain. Apple, Google, Samsung, and even Microsoft prefer to do their own events too for mobile, so CES is less likely to reveal anything big, especially for Windows Phone.
However, with the giant players out of the way, smaller companies like BLU do get to shine. With low-cost manufacturers, especially in asia, taking the lead for Android and Windows Phone, CES is an appropriate place for these smaller releases.
Therefore, although we do not expect new Lumias to be announced, new Windows Phones from various less significant OEMs may make an appearance like Alcatel. We will just have to keep an eye out.
Additionally, if Verizon were to pick up the Lumia 735 as they have been rumored to be doing, CES could be the place for them to make that happen. However, the fate of the Verizon Lumia 735 is currently not known after being pushed back.
Intel, laptops, two-in-ones, and hybrids rule the roost
Samsung, Lenovo, Dell. Intel. You know the names. All big laptop manufacturers and Intel, who makes the chips to power them. All are at CES in force with their new Ultrabooks, laptops, tablets, and PCs for 2015.
Intel is expected to show off their full range of next-gen Broadwell chips to power those Ultrabooks and laptops. Sure, Lenovo has the one for the Yoga 3 Pro, but that was the low-end tablet version. Intel's full Broadwell range should run the gamut up to high-end.
Because of Intel's new chips, Dell, Samsung, and Lenovo will also reveal new hardware. We expect devices like the new Samsung Book Blade 9, a 2.1-pound Ultrabook with a 12.2-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) LED display and 10.5 hours of battery life. Huzzah!
Although a Surface Pro 4 is off in the distance, when it does happen Broadwell is likely to power it. So take notes.
If you are in the market for a new laptop or Ultrabook in 2015, stay tuned, as Windows Central will have all of that news too.
IoT, wearables, TVs and more
CES may have less to do with mobile and computing today than years ago, but there are still lots of neat things that will be announced.
New 4K TVs from all the manufacturers are there as they all race to make the thinnest, most color-accurate television to date.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the stuff of the connected home, like SmartThings and Insteon. For 2015, IoT continues to forge its path into consumer homes, although like smartphones in 2006, the category still needs to hit its stride. We expect many innovations in this area this year at CES, along with smartphone integration, of course.
FitBit, Microsoft Band, Misfit, Wellograph. Wearable activity trackers and heart rate monitors were a big deal at the end of 2014, and more such technology will make its appearance at CES next week. FitBit and Microsoft already have their devices out in limited numbers, but some other manufacturers should be making some announcements too. Expect the continued focus on health and connected technology to help you improve it.
More to come
The fun of CES is not knowing what is happening and the resulting surprises. I hope that we have a few of those as Mark Guim, Richard Devine, and myself head to Las Vegas to cover the event. We are, of course, powered by the whole Mobile Nations team in conjunction with Geek Beat (GeekBeat.tv) to cover all aspects of the show. Make sure you tune into iMore, Android Central, and Connectedly for their perspectives!
Likewise, are doing daily video segments from our very own CES stage (I'll be hosting some shows on Thursday), so make sure to tune in!
For now, many of us are packing and prepping for our flights, so expect it to be quiet for the next 24-hours. Starting Sunday night though, smaller off-site events commence along with some press announcements to warm things up.
Do you want all our news from CES 2015? Just bookmark: windowscentral.com/ces2015
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.