2013 gets under way for gadget lovers with a raft of new computers, TVs and tablets coming, plus a host of web-enabled smart devices for the home being shown at CES, with Samsung leading the way in many categories.
All New and Shiny at CES
Anyone who picked up a laptop, tablet, HDTV or other gadget in the Christmas sales will be best advised to ignore CES this year, as the replacement models for those bargains start to flood out. Leading in most gadget markets, Samsung will be the biggest name at the show and will have many new models and updates.
Note that smartphone news might be a bit thin on the ground as most makers will wait for next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to make their big announcements. Similarly, while Microsoft might show off an Xbox set-top box at CES, it looks like the real successor, the Xbox 720 will have to wait until the gaming-focused E3 show in the summer.
The lead trends at the show are likely to be Smart TVs which are far easier to control and interact with via your smartphone or tablet. Also expect advances in control of your car and home environment via your phone, as all devices start to mesh.
Chronos Marks Samsung Time
Headlining the show will be Samsung which is a market leader in most areas of gadget life. From the new Series 7 Ultra and Chronos models with its 11-hour battery life, things look sleek and metallic on the laptop front. The Chronos (pictured) packs in a 1920x1080 full HD display with a Core i7 3635QM processor, AMD Radeon 8870 HD graphics, up to 16Gb of RAM and a 1TB drive, plus USB 3.0 and a backlit keyboard, it looks a top piece of kit in its all-metal case.
The Ultrabook-class Ultra model is smaller, lighter and has just an eight-hour battery life, and only 256GB of storage in SSD form. Still, it definitely looks like the sort of device that any executive would want to be seen out and about with. Both will have options for multitouch screens to open up the full Windows 8 experience.
Samsung Could Out-Do Apple's TV Dream
Samsung's big convergence play in TVs may launch at CES too. Since it has an established TV unit, it can easily gain a march on Apple (who have been developing their ideas for years) by taking the best in breed of phone/tablet/apps and blending them into its latest start-of-the-art models.
Samsung's Press Conference (which may be the highlight keynote now that Microsoft isn't doing a briefing) at the show is being trailed by news of something big in TV and the obscure image above. You can check out some of what's coming at the Korean language Samsung Tomorrow site. One definite feature is hardware upgrade kits for its 2012 models to keep them up-to-date with the new 2013 models, so perhaps your purchase of a new set before the holidays might not have been in vain.
Just the Tablet
While Samsung might not show off any new phone models, there may be some updates to existing ones. On the tablet front, it does seems likely that the new Galaxy Note 7 tablet will be unveiled, offering a 7" screen running at a 1280x800 display, and powered by Samsung's Exynos 4412 processor at 1.6GHz.
If you're in the area or can make the trip, CES runs from 8-11 January in Las Vegas, offering the largest collection of new technology, gadgets, cars and more across exhibit halls and tech zones. More at the event site.