#1 – #4
The email came a few days ago.
"Register today for the 2015 International CES," it read. Your first reaction is "not again" as memories of long hours, furious typing, and thousands of people crushing to see the latest and greatest devices flood to the surface.
But the initial wave of dread quickly gives way to a flutter of excitement, a tingling in the fingertips and a pump of adrenaline. This the big dance. The event tech lovers live for. The chance to see what’s coming next, even if it’s years down the road from reaching consumers.
The ramifications of CES 2014 are still being felt in everything from TVs to processors to wearables. CES 2015 promises to be an even bigger show, full of the innovative, the inspiring and the impossible.
We’ve put together a list of what we we want to see at CES 2015, so read on for our hopes and best guesses for the show. And don’t forget to let us know what you’re pining for come January, too.
1. TV innovation beyond the bend and curve
CES 2014 was all about the curved TV screen for big guns Samsung and LG – who could make it bigger, thinner and curvier without folding? The problem was, was there even a problem for these concave couch curlers to solve?
As Dan Grabham asked in his CES hands on review of the 105-inch curved Ultra HD TV from LG, "do we really need curved TVs?"
The answer, from looking at the market, is no. Yes, there was an awe factor when unveiling these futurist devices in front of ravenous consumer-tech crowds, but when the lights faded and everyone went home, we weren’t buying these sets.
Instead of trying to lure us in with more bends and curves, we want Samsung, LG and others to announce more 4K content and a viable system to deliver it to consumers at CES 2015. We know it’s not the sexiest subject, especially since we’ve already seen 4K-and-beyond TVs, but why not give us stuff to actually watch on the growing field of ultra high-res screens?
There’s currently no reason for the average person to buy a pricey 4K TV because there simply isn’t that much 4K content to watch on them. If Samsung, LG, et al can come up with the content and fast, reliable ways to get it to consumers, we may leave Las Vegas truly impressed and excited for the living room screen’s future.
2. More than just more tablets from Samsung
Director Michael Bay’s meltdown was the most memorable moment of Samsung’s CES 2014 press conference. Unfortunately for the Galaxy tablets also wheeled out during the presser, they were upstaged. Hard.
Samsung has unveiled even more tablets since CES, leading us to plea, "Enough!" We’re heading into the pre-CES months hoping Samsung can cook up a mobile device (yes, just one) that will hold its own next to celebrity implosions and smart laundry machines.
The Korean firm intrigued with its Youm flexible phone screens during CES 2013 – perhaps it will be ready to unveil a consumer-ready foldable phone or tablet during 2015′s dance? With LG revealing roll-up displays (destined for TVs, to be sure), Samsung may be feeling the heat to bring a bendy phone/tablet to market.
3. Steam Machine pricing and availability
Valve hasn’t kept quiet; since January, the company held a developer conference, showed off its VR headset and, in not so good news, announced Steam Machines won’t arrive in consumer homes until 2015. It’s the last point we want addressed at CES.
While at least one non-Valve Steam Box – the Alienware Alpha – should be out this year, we want the release date and price questions resolved for everyone else. In other words, we want CES 2015 to be brimming with Steam Machine news, including word of a truly affordable one.
Aside from Alienware, the rest of the pack, led by Valve, should get its act together by CES 2015. Of course, anyone familiar with Gabe Newell’s crew knows speed is not their calling card, so while we can hope, we won’t hold our breath.
4. LG and Huawei deliver standout smartphones
It’s a long shot to think LG will actually unveil a smartphone during CES as it hasn’t the last two years and typically saves such unveilings for MWC. Nevertheless, this is a list of what we want to see, right?
Along with Huawei, LG could use CES to gain massive exposure with a knockout smartphone. The LG G3 isn’t chopped liver, but perhaps LG could put its foldable display tech to work bending like a Cirque du Soleil performer?
As for Huawei, the Chinese firm is trying mightily to break into the US market. What better way to re-re-introduce itself to US buyers than with a carrier-backed, affordable and better-than-average phone announced in Sin City? Hell, trot out AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega or, better yet, T-Mobile CEO John Legere to say a few words. Even better, bring them both onstage and see what happens.
We digress, but the point is CES has become stagnant on the smartphone announcement front. We’d love to see LG and Huawei liven up the proceedings with a phone that makes us drool.
#5 – #8
5. Next-level wearables
Wearables are here, and they’re beyond what even Dick Tracy could have imagined. CES 2014 saw its share of fitness and activity trackers, but in the subsequent months the market has exploded (relative to what it was, at least).
Although wearables are gaining ground, there’s always room for improvement. Our wish list for CES 2015 wearables includes waterproofing, more with heart rate monitors, standalone smarties that don’t need a mobile device and more full-featured smartwatches that are compatible with different OSes.
The last one is another long shot, but as TechRadar’s resident wearables expert Matt Swider explains, it’d be nice to be able to have an Android Wear smartwatch that worked with iOS, and vice versa.
There’s little doubt CES 2015 will be filled to the walls with wearables. The question is, will they be much of an improvement of the ones we already have?
6. Virtual reality in Las Vegas
Just like wearables, we’re no longer speaking of VR as a far-off possibility. There are a number of big-name contenders that, while not quite ready for consumers, are pretty damn close to being released. Oculus Rift is eyeing 2015, Sony’s Project Morpheus is moving along and Samsung Gear VR is looking increasingly ready to reveal itself.
CES is as much about entertainment as it is anything else, so VR-related innovations are well within the scope of the show. We want to see more VR content (games, apps, movies, etc.), more polished products and, if it’s not revealed at IFA 2014, Samsung’s VR headset.
Gear VR will likely be a serious Rift and Morpheus contender. Come CES, we hope Samsung and everyone else dabbling in virtual reality are ready to bring it on.
7. Truly good 2-in-1s
It’s not CES unless a cacophony of computers make their voices heard. There will be PCs of every stripe at CES 2015, but we’re looking specifically at 2-in-1s for right now.
HP, Dell, Acer and Asus are just a few of the notable names we’re putting money on to unveil new tablet/laptop hybrids, so it’s not a matter of if they’ll be announced but rather of how good they’ll be.
There’s a chance Windows 9 will release this fall, which would already be an improvement over Windows 8.1. Even if we don’t go all the way up to nine, Windows 8.2 may be ready to rumble come January 2015.
Aside from a souped up OS (assuming most of the hybrids will run Windows), the advances in processors like AMD’s Beema and Mullins APUs and Intel’s Core M could make the 2015 crop of 2-in-1s the best to date.
If the build quality matches better internal specs, 2-in-1s may be the sleeper hit of CES 2015.
8. Smarter cars than ever before
Toyota ran away with our Best of CES 2014 awards thanks to its hydrogen-powered car. Part of our reasoning in giving the FCV the top spot was because of its industry-changing position as the first mass-produced fuel-cell car. Its impact, we reasoned, would be far reaching and vastly positive.
Next CES, we want more of the same. We want cars that run on next-gen energy sources and we want cars that don’t need a driver at all. Google typically doesn’t drop by CES, but that doesn’t mean automated cars from different venders can’t make an appearance.
Speaking of Google, we fully expect automakers to show off their Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay-equipped models. For those who haven’t picked a side, CES 2015 is the perfect time to call shotgun.
Car infotainment systems are in some ways still in their infancy, so we’re excited to see what solutions await. Especially if it means going for a test-drive.