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CES 2011: Tablets, More Tablets, and What Else to Expect

ces 2011The Switched team braved security lines, crowded airports and screaming children in the annual trek to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Otherwise known as CES, it's the world's biggest gathering of gadget makers (sans Apple), tech journalists and general electronics enthusiasts, and it's one of the best places to see firsthand what's in store for consumer tech in 2011. Attendance should be up this year, with over 150,000 attendees signed up. Here's what we're expecting to see at this year's show:

Tablets

There's no way around it: tablets will be everywhere this year. Last year, countless companies were showing off Kindle killers, but the iPad seems to have shifted that focus. Apple's tablet, which hit store shelves barely nine months ago, has since sold over 14 million units, and manufacturers have been racing to catch up with both new hardware and software. Toshiba, MSI, RIM, Asus and Vizio will probably be showing off new tablets, and we'd be surprised if we didn't see a new Windows-based tablet. A Motorola tablet seems a sure bet following a teaser video in December and sneak peek at the All Things D conference, and we've heard rumors over the past few months about a webOS-based device from HP. Finally, prepare yourself for a torrent of cheap tablets of questionable quality running Android; we'll probably be tripping over them all week.

3-D: Round 2

It's no surprise that the industry's 3-D TV push last year was largely ignored by consumers. The technology isn't cheap, there isn't a ton of 3-D content and well... the glasses. That said, 3-D isn't going down without a fight. Vizio took a swipe at the cost concerns by announcing 3-D sets under $300, Nintendo and Toshiba have made advancements in glasses-free 3-D and James Cameron still has two 'Avatar' films left.

Media Streamers

After years of waiting, hacking and just using our video game systems to get Web video to our TVs, we were surprised to finally see the streaming market explode in 2010 with Google TV, a revised Apple TV, Boxee and Roku. Be on the lookout for more of these affordable, dedicated streamers, but don't count out the TV manufacturers. Apps have been sneaking onto TVs and Blu-ray players for years, and manufacturers will still be playing catch up with endless variations on the "smart" or "connected" TV. Either way, it's good to see competition driving Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other content into the living room.

Android and 4G Phones

This year, Android comes to CES as a far more mature mobile OS with improved developer and user support. With Apple staying home in Cupertino, expect new Android devices from most of the major carriers. We'll also probably see Windows Phone 7 launching on new phones. Watch for these announcements on Thursday, when both T-Mobile and Verizon will be showing off their latest. Verizon should be showing off handsets that will run on the carrier's faster LTE network and the Droid line is due for an update.

For the latest in trends and big news, check out our fancy new CES Hub, and don't miss the obsessive coverage from our friends at Engadget . We'll also be posting breaking news to our Twitter account, so follow us at @switched.

Tags: ces, ces2011, top

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