Nine Things To Watch For At CES 2016

With less than a week to go, my mind is now solidly on CES. Here are nine things I'm looking for as I (carefully) pack.

1) Virtual Reality (VR) products you will actually be able to buy in 2016. For years, the demonstrated VR products have been "one year out." Now, competitive pressures are forcing release—how good will these products be and how well will the market receive them?

2) Useful Internet of Things (IoT) alliances. What I don't want is to have one app for each IoT device I own. Can some of the vendors start to agree on some standards that actually show up in shipping devices?

3) Continuing and rapid changes in the automotive electronics market, moving onward and upward from last year's Android Auto and CarPlay announcements. GM and Volkswagen both have keynotes, Kia and Toyota have press conferences, and almost every large auto manufacturer you can think of has a booth in the North Hall. Third parties like Blackberry/QNX, Bosch, and Delphi are also very visible.

4) More Skylake-based notebooks. Notebooks are not so glamorous anymore, but they're still quite important. I expect relevant notebook announcements from Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, and Toshiba.

5) Interesting camera variations. I expect some of the usual upgrades from well-known camera makers, but I'm also looking for some new approaches (the folks at Light come to mind).

6) Some coherent smartwatch announcements. The market has now had almost a year to digest the Apple Watch, with it's positives and negatives. I expect many introductions as vendors stop waiting for Apple and begin to choose their market sectors.

7) Wild USB 3.1/Type C accessories. There's now been enough time for the market to digest Type C—I'm expecting at least one device where the hardest part of developing it was even thinking of using Type C.

8) Improved high efficiency light bulbs. Very few consumer electronics have the market penetration that light bulbs do. I'm expecting more attention to color, brightness, and size options at CES 2016.

9) A status check on high-end audio. There were lots of related introductions at CES 2015 and Mac Edition Radio founder Harris Fogel recently provided us with a 2015 wrap up. Introductions and announcements at CES 2016 will tell us whether anybody is actually managing to make a living serving this market.

John Mulhern III, Posted 12/31/2015

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