- News & Analysis
- Video & Audio
- White Papers
- Industry Reports
During the last decade the macro driver for the Consumer Electronics industry was the shift from analogue to digital, with cameras one obvious example alongside the replacement of tape devices with DVD, Blu-ray and MP3. In the next 10 years the industry will start to leverage all our digital devices and that is going to be where we see the innovation. That is the view of Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist & Director of Research at CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), who outlined what he believes are the major CE technology trends on the eve of CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) 2012 in Las Vegas.
Beneath this macro trend, there are three key themes that will characterize CES 2012, Dubravac predicts. First is the concept of pulling computing power out of traditional computer devices but at the same time putting more power into a myriad of non-core computing devices. He used connected TVs as an example of how computing power is moving into other devices, providing the ability to run apps and browse the Internet, but even thermostats are starting to behave like computers, he said.
For all devices, connectivity is key. Despite growing computing power, reflected by the arrival of the superphone with quad-core chipsets, for example, the focus is on where the computing power is and the ability to connect with other devices, ensuring that content or data can be captured and distributed. For everyone, from CE manufacturers to service providers like a cable company, the key is how you add value to connectivity rather than just providing the connectivity. So for a service provider, that includes making content accessible across devices. Dubravac is predicting that DISH Network and Verizon will both be highlighting a more holistic approach to the connected home this week.
The second big trend for CES 2012 is the user interface, according to Dubravac. He goes as far as to say that this will be the year of the interface. Using connected TVs as an example again, he said the focus for two years has been connectivity but now the emphasis is shifting to what you can do with that connectivity and that will put the spotlight on the interface experience and the richness of that experience for the end user.
Remote controls will become more simple again, in some cases going back to their roots as a four button device thanks to innovations like gesture control and voice control. “The evolution of the remote control to a more natural experience will be a big story with the interface trend in the next few days. Tablets with integrated gesture control and possibly voice control will feature at the 2012 show,” Dubravac predicted.
At a high level, the interface will become more prominent than the technology. “Technology will step into the background. The home of the future will look a lot like the home of the past, where technology is hidden from the end user rather than visible,” he predicted.
The third big trend for 2012 in the CE industry is ‘the prevalence of personal’, Dubravac anticipates. Tablets and smartphones are driving the trend towards unique entertainment experiences even in a shared social environment. And regardless of what you are actually consuming, the fact that you can customize these devices with your choices of apps means each device, even when using the same model, will behave in a way that is specific to its user. “That is a big story,” he suggested.
According to the CEA, the TV hardware trends to watch over the next four years are: Thin bezel or bezel-less devices; 4k x 2k televisions; Autostereoscopic 3D (without glasses); and OLED displays, with bigger panels and better economics.