Phablets Dominate the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

By: Carole Downs

Phablets Dominate the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Over 150,000 people from around the world attended the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.  The annual convention is a well known launching pad for the newest and most promising gadgets of the year. CES exhibits generally fall into one of the following major categories:  Phones, TVs, Games, Computers, Fitness & Health, and Other (business and household products, automobiles, etc.).

Generally, we think advancements in technology result in smaller sized products for the masses. Computers that once filled warehouses now fit in the average consumer's pocket. But along with the 20-inch tablet, there appears to be a shift toward "bigger is better" - at least in the world of smart phones.

One of the terms possibly overused at CES was the "super phone", also known as the "phablet". Phablet characteristics include a large screen, powerful battery life and cutting edge display capabilities. One of the more popular examples of the super phone or"phablet is Sony's Xperia Z Android phone with a five-inch 1080p display. Waterproof and dustproof, it's made from high-quality materials (glass adorns its back), and it's very fast thanks to the 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB of RAM. There's no word on when it's coming to market or how much it'll cost, but this phablet is already a candidate for Smartphone of the Year.

In fact, 2013 just may be dubbed "The Year of the Phablet". Barclays predicts that the market for these devices will quadruple in value to $135 billion in the next three years. ABI Research estimates that more than 208 million phablets will ship worldwide in 2015.

2012 was the first year that sales of PC's went down from a previous year.  A sign that the consumer is finding the iPad and other tablet options serve as a useful substitute for the Personal Computer. So, for Computers, a 20-inch tablet built by Panasonic definitely caught the public's eye. There were also some impressive (if normal sized) notebooks on display, including Toshiba's UltraHD notebook, running Windows 8. In fact, CES 2013 seems to have been a great showcase for devices running on Windows 8.  The Other Category turned out some exciting new inventions powered by improvements in wireless technology. To name a few:

  • Parrot Flower Power: a Bluetooth-enabled device that measures sunlight, humidity, and temperature and alerts you on your smartphone about what your plant needs.
  • The iPotty: Toilet training a toddler is no picnic, but iPotty from CTA Digital seeks to make it a little easier by letting parents attach an iPad to it. This way, junior can watch a kid's program on the iPad while taking care of business in the old-fashioned part of the plastic potty.

  • The Driverless Car:  The growing use of advanced electronics and wireless devices for auto safety, communications and entertainment prompted a record eight automakers to attend the show. Automakers and technology firms are jumping on the bandwagon of the driverless car, which remains a concept as well as a platform for new technologies to improve safety on the road.

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