CES 2012: New smartphones, ultrabooks unveiled

January 11, 2012

CES 2012 is underway in Las Vegas, and after the first day Hayley Tsukayama previewed the action yet to come including keynote addressed from Xerox and Ford:

The Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing now, with keynotes Wednesday focusing on some higher-level trends in the consumer technology world.

In the morning, Xerox, Verizon Communications and Ford will discuss innovation and its role in their companies’ success. In the afternoon, high-level marketing and communications officers from AT&T, General Electric, Hyundai, Facebook, Wal-Mart and Unilever will discuss marketing and branding on a global scale.

Consumer Electronics Show: Complete coverage

Hans Vestberg, president and chief executive of Ericsson, will also give a keynote address in the afternoon. The Swedish company is in a transition year. Ericsson ended its consumer electronics partnership with Sony but faces a greater demand for its mobile and wireless management services than ever before. The keynote speech should have some insights into the future of the mobile industry, even if it likely won’t have any flashy consumer product announcements.

This is also a day for policy at CES, with panels addressing a range of technology policy issues. Wednesday’s congressional panel features Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.), and probably will address the thorny issue of online piracy and copyright.

Hayley Tsukayama rounds up the themes that are expected to dominate CES 2012:

The main storylines of this year’s show are power and mobility, whether companies are hawking super-light and portable ultrabook laptops, or discussing how best to upgrade vehicles to include more high-tech features.

Green energy is expected to be a big trend at the show this year, particularly as more automakers take the centerstage. Top executives from Ford, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz all will make appearances in keynote speeches throughout the week, and Ford’s hybrid model, the Fusion, is the official car of the conference. Car companies are likely to focus not only on green energy, but also connectivity by exploring how drivers can use apps to monitor what’s going both in and outside their vehicles.

Gadget lovers also can expect plenty of announcements about faster, bigger smartphones as the four major mobile phone providers rush to release more 4G devices to market. Last year, Verizon introduced the HTC Thunderbolt, LG Revolution and Samsung Galaxy Tab at the show, and this year AT&T is expected to be pushing its ever-growing 4G portfolio.

Two holdover trends from last year — tablets and smart TVs — also are expected to make a big splash at the show. The tablet market is still maturing and more companies are jumping into the fray offering a variety of screen sizes and other distinguishing features, such as Pantech’s“waterproof” Element tablet.

Google also will have a big show, after the company announced several more partners including LG, Samsung and Vizio. Convergence will be a major theme as companies scramble to augment TV to include search, apps and Web video.

The trend that’s gotten the most mention has been the rise of ultrabooks — slim, powerful laptops that are, in some part, designed to go after the market that Apple has seized with its MacBook Air. These computers cart faster, better chips, lighter components and sleeker design, as shown by laptops such as the expected HP Spectre.

A new entrant into the smartphone market was announced today by Motorola, as Laura June of The Verge reports:

No surprises here, but Motorola and Verizon have just announced the 0.5-inches thick LTE Droid 4. The Droid 4 has a 4-inch, qHD display with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard memory. Additionally, the 8 megapixel camera can shoot 1080p, HD video. There is no specific availability but it should be making its way to Verizon in the coming weeks.

More from The Washington Post:

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CES 2012: What is an ultrabook, anyway?

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