CES 2010 Preview: What's Hot at This Year's Show
Cameras and Camcorders
Pocket camcorders: Now that the public has accepted the Flip design, we should see a jump in specs and features in the next year: higher-quality optics, wireless sharing and uploads, more in-camera settings, optical zoom lenses, and 1080p video captured at higher-bit-rate AVCHD formats.
At CES we expect to see point-and-shoot cameras adopting some of the marquee features of pocket camcorders, too: hybrid portrait/landscape capabilities that enable the shooter to reposition the camera for shooting stills or video, and built-in USB connectors that simplify file uploads and sharing.
Interchangeable-lens cameras: At CES we’ll see smaller, more feature-packed interchangeable-lens cameras that offer large sensors, great still and video quality, and the flexibility to use different lenses in a relatively compact camera. These devices will begin to reach the U.S. market in the first half of 2010.
On the digital SLR side of the spectrum, you can expect to see high-definition video capture become nearly ubiquitous. Last year HD video recording crept into the feature set of DSLRs from Nikon, Canon, and Pentax; and DSLR still cameras became a viable option for professional videographers and independent filmmakers. Expect this trend to continue in 2010, possibly paving the way for redesigned DSLR bodies that make shooting video easier.
TransferJet and Wi-Fi Direct: Most current cameras require a separate USB cable for sharing and offloading photos and video. We've also seen a number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the past year, but wireless file transfers may get a serious boost this year from devices that work with TransferJet and Wi-Fi Direct. Both technologies support wireless, peer-to-peer sharing between compliant devices, though the logistics differ a bit. What does it mean for consumers? USB cables may be gone for good very soon. --Tim Moynihan
Mobile phone news tends to be a bit quieter than other electronics categories during CES, as vendors look forward to the Mobile World Congress coming up in February and CTIA following in March. Even so, some big news is in store for CES. Rumor has it that the Google Nexus One may be available as early as January 5, so maybe we’ll finally get a real, confirmed peek at this much-hyped smartphone. Don’t expect any announcements regarding the rumored T-Mobile subsidy relationship, however. Leaked specs confirm that the Nexus One is compatible on the T-Mobile network, but T-Mobile won’t be at CES and representatives have informed PCWorld that the company has no announcements planned for the show.
Meanwhile, LG and Sprint certainly have something up their sleeves. The companies have issued invitations to the media for the same event, advertising that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be attending. If Microsoft weren’t involved, I’d have guessed that the announcement related to LG’s entrance into the Android world. LG may indeed be launching an Android phone at CES, but the spotlighted event is more likely to mark the unveiling of an LG-manufactured WiMax-capable Windows Mobile phone.
Palm’s press conference this year probably won't be as splashy as the Pre/WebOS affair of 2009, but the company will still have some interesting news to impart. As Sprint’s exclusive rights to the Pre and the Pixi come to a close, the phones will likely debut on other carriers--in particular (according to the rumor mill) Verizon. Palm will probably announce an updated version of WebOS, as well.
Samsung and HTC are likely to introduce a few Windows Mobile phones--and possibly even some Android goodness--at CES. The most anticipated Windows Mobile phone, the HTC HD2, is rumored to be coming to T-Mobile in March, so HTC might announce an unlocked U.S. version at CES. --Ginny Mies