How to Watch the Great CES 2012 Circus

The bloggers are ready. The gadget hawkers are ready. Everyone is primed to push forward what we’re going to be buying this year and especially next holiday season. CES 2012 is underway and there will be more words written about new gadgets, new technology, and new promises than we can consume in a  month of Sundays. As in past years, most of what we’re going to see has been leaked already, so there will be few surprises at the press conferences an on the show floor.

It all takes place in Las Vegas, the magical kingdom, where night is turned into day and hopes and dreams abound. The smoke and mirrors that make up CES 2012 require eagle eyes to sort through all the hype (and incredible email filters to sort through all of the press releases.) A good amount of what we’ll see will never make it into the hands of consumers, but this is the land of hopes and dreams. It is also the time where Apple dominates everyone else by not showing up.

As has been my custom the last several years I’ll be watching from afar this year and commenting on the themes and trends we see emerging. Intriguingly it makes it easier to spot trends, both negative and positive, when you’re not caught up in the grind that can be the show. That’s not to criticize anyone attending the show on the ground.  It’s a blast. I’m sure Xavier, Josh, and the rest will have a blast and there’s a big piece of me that wishes I was there with them.

But in the meantime, here’s a list of things to consider as you digest the news.

 

These first three fall into a broad category for just about any gadget you hear about.

  • If a device can’t be touched at the show by bloggers or reporters you won’t see it until late fall of 2012 at the earliest. If ever.
  • If there is no release date or the release date is “later in 2012″ then you know there are still quite a few things to workout.
  • If there is no price point announced then you know that all the parts and suppliers haven’t been nailed down yet.

These next items relate more to Tablets and Slates specifically.

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  • If new device is being pitched by using the iPad as a comparison tool instead of the devices own features and benefits then you probably don’t want to take it too seriously.
  • Listen for what version of Android the device will be running. Anything being talked about at CES 2012 that isn’t going to run Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box shouldn’t merit your full consideration. You’ll hear lots of promises that it will get Ice Cream Sandwich soon. Vague answers about upgrade paths should raise questions not excitement.
  • This year we’ll hear about how a new device will also compete with the Amazon Kindle. Again, if it doesn’t have it’s own juice, we don’t care.
  • If there isn’t a price point attached, we don’t care.

And some other things to look out for this year.

  • About those Ultrabooks. Thin is in. Great. Everyone will have a thin Ultrabook. What else is cooking under that thin hood?
  • TV, TV, TV. Or should I say, Apple TV. Everyone is talking some sort of way to grab your remote. And as always Apple dominates the conversation without even making an announcement. Keep in mind that all the tech innovation promised will depend on the media conglomerates cooperating.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich. This will be the show about Ice Cream Sandwich. We’ll see lots of promises. Many won’t be fulfilled. The question those covering the show should ask any rep is “when is the release date?”
  • Smartphones. There will be more than we can keep up with. Everything will be focused on Ice Cream Sandwich and rightly so. Look for dates of releases. You won’t find any.
  • This is Microsoft’s last year at CES. This is a big year for Microsoft and it will be fascinating to watch what Microsoft lays on the line in Vegas. But then again, other shows are becoming the real proving ground for new moves later in the year.

 

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