CES preview: TVs, tablets to be major focus; Mobility to remain dominant theme at Consumer Electronics Show

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off next week in Las Vegas, and industry watchers expect the show to remain heavily focused on developments in large-screen, connected TV sets as well as smaller tablet and PC-hybrid devices. Makers of large-screen TV sets will be a major presence at the show. Samsung , Sony , LG , Panasonic and Sharp will hold press events on Monday to showcase their latest and upcoming offerings. These are expected to include more ultra-thin sets and improved software interfaces for connecting to the Internet. See full streaming coverage of CES

Another area to watch will be so-called “ultra HD,” meaning TV sets that offer up to four times the screen resolution of current high-definition sets. Sony and LG have already introduced such sets, and Samsung, Sharp and other manufacturers are expected to showcase these types of products at CES, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

But CES has also become notable for who is not there. Apple —one of the largest and most profitable consumer electronics makers on the planet — has never been a strong presence at the event. And this year will also be the first without Microsoft acting effectively as show anchor. The software giant announced last year that it plans to hold its own events to showcase its products.

Ramon Llamas of IDC told MarketWatch that larger companies are favoring their own forums for launching their devices. Also, smartphone makers typically favor the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona in late February for big product launches. “I’m seeing a lot more people looking at CES and saying that this is not the time to showcase our new flagship,” Llamas said. “There’s so much going on that it’s easy to get drowned out.”

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