Colin’s CES 2014 Expectations

CES just a few weeks away and we’re already preparing. Emails about meeting coordination, travel plans, and new equipment for the trip are flying back and forth at the speed of light.

My expectations for CES this year are as follows:

– Wireless everything
– Mobile devices of all sizes, most running Android
– New consoles as the focus of entertainment
– Steam is king

Plus, one dream: Bitcoin everywhere.

CES 2014

Wireless Everything
As time has progressed, our once-wired technology has gone increasingly wireless. The first to sever was networks, followed by storage, followed by printers. Wireless input peripherals took off in the late ‘90s and got a huge boost when Bluetooth 2.0 came out. The last thing to go wireless? Power.

Last year at CES 2013, the Wireless Power Consortium had a decent-sized hallway booth decided to its wireless power standard, Qi. I expect to see more and more devices getting Qi capabilities, and not just phones and tablets. Anything with a battery, including laptops, headphones, mice, keyboards, and digital camera, could have a wireless charging solution.

Mobile Devices of All Sizes
Gone are the days of a phone, tablet, netbook, and laptop. Devices that rival the power of other form factors’ devices will redefine what we call “mobile”. We’ll see more phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Note series, and convertible laptops, such as Lenovo’s Ideapad Yoga, that have enough power to do anything normal business or home user wants, and have the connectivity — wirelessly — to expand infinitely.

Want to use your phone as your primary workstation? Whip out your Bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth mouse, wireless charger, and Miracast-enabled TV and you’ve got a workstation ready for multitasking. Need more horsepower? You don’t really need it, but if you want it, it’s available in every form factor imaginable.

New Consoles
PS4 and Xbox One, as well as the Wii U and the OUYA will have their plethora of accessories and new games shown off at CES and its various side events. I’m expecting to see at least one company that has a market selling alternative OUYA cases, and at least one company that is using the Raspberry Pi as a media center or emulator console.

The PC Master Race shall live on, and its flagship emblem shall be the Steam Machine. Valve has put a lot of time and resources into developing the Steam ecosystem, and the Steam Machine along with SteamOS will establish a baseline of expected performance that the PC gaming world has needed for a long time. The question will no longer be, What’s it’s system requirements?, but How well does it run on a 20XX Steam Machine?

I for one welcome our spigot-headed overlords, for GabeN is a benevolent master.

Dream: Bitcoin Everywhere
A coworker of mine said, “On the blockchain, nobody knows you’re a fridge.” I want to see this manifest, as the merging of dumb appliance with smart monitoring and smart money enable consumers to replenish their refrigerator and shelves automatically when they’re out of something. A fully automated consumer experience is not far off: combine a cupboard with a computer with barcode scanner app and a Bitcoin balance, throw in some Amazon Drone, and I can get rice delivered when I run out, even more my next meal!

I’m also eager to see Bitcoin innovators deploy devices and software to make Bitcoin easier to use for the general public. We might still be a few years away from seeing those kinds of devices at CES, but I know that Bitpay and likely Coinbase will be at CES attempting to convince businesses to use their services to accept Bitcoin for their goods at all levels of their business, not just from consumers.

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