CES: 2012 Consumer Electronic Trends to Watch

On Sunday, January 8, 2012 0 comments

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Shawn Dubravac - CEA Chief Economist and Director of Research hosted a session looking at past trends and more importantly future trends for consumer electronic products.

Looking into the future Shawn polled consumer electronic buyers to see what trends and product categories they believe would be key drivers in 2012. Below are the Top 5 product trends they were expecting to highlight at this year's show.

     5) Devices designed to enable sharing of content
     4) Internet-enabled Televisions
     3) Devices for streaming content
     2) Tablets

     And the #1 category was...Apps (for mobile devices)

While this may provide some insight, we are really looking for product innovators to truly sculpt new experiences and solutions that would most likely not come up in a research poll of this type.

So let's look at the three drivers according to Mr. Dubravac's that should affect consumer products in the future.

2012 Trend #1 - The Digital Transition (the second decade)

The past decade has seen the movement of analog solutions being completely replaced with digital. Our audio, television, photography and communications have all made the leap in the last 10 years. This next 10 years should see computing transform from a PC-based computing to more and more capable non-core devices. ie: Half of all televisions sold in 2012 in North America will be an internet TV.

Products will not be judged in the coming years on their pure computing power and instead will be more focused on how they fit in the product's market-space. "What they do" not "how they do it". There are no discussions about the computational power of the current crop of internet televisions...it is more about what services they offer.

Furthermore, it will not be about power but their connected capabilities such as cloud services, wireless audio solutions like Airplay or offerings like the DirecTV, Comcast or Dish smart-device applications and internet-enabled features.

The media streaming capabilities of Apple's Airplay solution allows you to easily play audio located on your iOS device and wirelessly play it on an Airplay compatible speaker system like the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker (less than $600).

2012 Trend #2 - Year of the (User) Interface

To date, most connected devices have suffered from extending their capabilities by simply offering a web-browser. If you have tried to do your email on a recent internet television...it is torturous! The next wave of connect offerings will have matured and offer much more sophisticate user experiences.

Look at the evolution of the television remote. It began as a simple user experience...you just had four or five buttons total. Then the remote that came with your new TV has more buttons than you will ever use! Next we got some wonderful smart remotes like the Harmony 650 (less than $50) by Logitech and reduced the amount of button pushing. And now we are getting even more simplistic remotes like the Magic Remote featured on the LG Infinia 50-inch 1080p/3D/THX plasma TV for less than $1,000. The LG solution relies on gestures and less button presses to simplify the user experience.

At the end of the day, the technologies will begin to move to the background and it will be more about the capabilities and overall benefits of the product offerings that will decide if a product is successful.

2012 Trend #3 - The Prevalence of the Personal

The capabilities of modern technologies with vast stores of memory and tons of extra processing power to enable a new level of personalization and customization. Just look at everyone's experience with their smart-device. Everyone has a different set of apps to tailor their own experiences.

Everything today is supported with a large eco-system of accessories and peripherals. Have you looked at  the range of iPhone cases available? And new technologies like small, inexpensive sensors that are capable of detecting things like movement or temperature. Solutions like Fitbit Ultra (around $100) features a movement sensor as well as an altimeter to measure your progress up and down stairs. And the new Bluetooth 4 (low energy) technology will enable wireless devices to run for extended periods on very small amounts power.

Shawn wrapped up with a few "other" trends in the coming years...

- Indoor navigation
- Social integration
- Thin Bezels on display products
- High definition beyond HD
- 3D without glasses
- OLED display technology
- Rugged, waterproof solutions

For additional details, check out my 2012 Consumer Product Trends, some additional summaries like this one for other product categories at WouldntMind.com and specific key product details coming out of CES 2012 at WouldntMind.com News Page.

LarryLarry Pacey, award-winning designer tracks the latest news on consumer products, electronics, appliances, smart devices, networking and the gadget lifestyle.
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Please comment below and share your thoughts. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to email me at wouldntmind@gmail.com.

Just my 2-cents,



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