The inexorable push for mobility in gadgets has reshaped the electronics
industry, a shift that reflects a changing of the guard at the world's
biggest consumer technology show.
Gone from the 2013 International
CES, to be held January 8-11 in Las Vegas, are giants such as Microsoft,
and longtime tech stalwarts such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard are
taking a back seat to firms focused on more portable, or even wearable,
There will of course be big, dazzling displays of
televisions that are smarter and bolder. However, a key focus is likely
to be on devices that are mobile but can remain connected via the
Internet cloud, from tablets to wrist watches, to Wi-Fi ski goggles.
"There is a changing of the guard," said Danielle Levitas, a consumer tech analyst at the research firm IDC.
shift we've seen over the past years has been on the mobile aspects of
technology versus home entertainment. This continues to accelerate."
Emblematic of the shift is the choice of the main keynote speaker Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs.
people have never heard of Qualcomm. People might know they have a
stadium with that name somewhere," said Roger Kay, a technology analyst
and consultant with Endpoint Technologies.
Qualcomm quietly overtook Intel in market value in 2012, a sign of the
growing importance of mobile chips that reduce battery drag and are
popular on smartphones and tablets, mostly using ARM technology licensed
by British-based ARM Holdings.
"Qualcomm is the opposite of
Intel," said Kay, who points out Qualcomm's reluctance to follow its
rival's strategy of branding devices with "Intel Inside."
been shy of the limelight and wants its partners to get all that credit.
They are a reluctant hero. So important, and yet so unknown."
mobile devices gaining ground, "folks are interested in the services
that are attached to consumer electronics at the show," said Kevin Spain
of Emergence Capital Partners, among the venture capital firms
Spain said delivery of video over mobile devices is just starting, opening up possibilities for new ventures.
"Everything that is cloud is obviously white-hot in the venture community," Spain said.
are interested in sharing content across a variety of devices and the
cloud plays an integral role in that. Consumers expect to have a variety
of content be available on demand: video, music, anytime, anywhere."
focus at CES will be improving batteries and charging for all those
mobile devices, according to Stu Lipoff, fellow of the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
"One of the major
limitations of portable devices is they are getting smaller and asked to
do more, so people are finding innovative and creative ways of
charging," he said.
CES will feature a range of power pads on
which a device can be placed for charging, Lipoff said, but other firms
are eyeing technologies "where you can put a transmitter in the room and
it will charge the device" from several feet away.
at Forrester Research said CES has evolved from a show in which
manufacturers would sell their wares to a branding event.
"It is shifting to a more abstract or long-term vision of technology," he said.
"It's about branding, demonstrating you are innovating for the future."
said old guard firms like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which have been
struggling amid a move to mobile devices must demonstrate they are still
part of the future.
"It's a challenge to get back in the innovation game," he said.
said CES is different than in the past because the industry now
revolves around a handful of big companies whose platforms are a key.
Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are creating platforms on which everyone is
innovating," he said. "CES is living in the shadow of these large
The 2013 CES features a record 1.87 million square
feet (170,000 square meters) of exhibit space, with some 3,000
exhibitors displaying gadgets for digital health, connected cars, smart
home devices and a broad array of communications and entertainment gear.
Attendance is expected to be in line with last year's record 156,000.
automakers will exhibit at the 2013 CES, the largest number ever,
showing off "infotainment" technology, crash avoidance and other "smart"
Tech giant Apple is not a participant but 440 exhibitors will showcase accessories for Apple devices in the "iLounge."
the largest show floor in history, more innovative technologies and
services will launch at the 2013 CES than anywhere else in the world,"
said Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Consumer
Electronics Association, which hosts the show.
The CES will also
showcase areas such as sustainable technologies, the $90 billion "Mommy
Tech" market for functional products from house cleaning to wearable
fashions, fitness and health, mobile wallets, advances in using the
Internet "cloud," gaming hardware and software, high-tech toys and
devices for education.