Key trends for CES in 2011: tablets, applications and internet-enabled everything

Innovative products set to go on display at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will provide consumers with a glimpse into the future - where internet connectivity, tablets and applications will rule the technology world.

"Internet-enabled everything" is one of the most exciting trends emerging within the field of technology - not because it is now technically feasible to integrate WiFi and 3G connections into consumer products such as mobile computing devices, TVs, cars, home appliances and sporting equipment but because of the immense possibilities these connections provide.

"Beyond TVs and connected set-top devices, the Internet will be ubiquitous at CES this year," says Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Consumer Electronics Association.

"Expect to see it garner further inroads into the vehicle, the camera, the printer, and every screen imaginable."  

2011 has been dubbed the "Year of the Tablet" and many manufacturers are getting ready to debut their tablet solutions at CES.

"I have a list of 80+ tablets that have been announced and many of these will see the light of day at the 2011 CES," reveals Dubravac. "With competition heating up, each and every aspect of differentiation will be on the table - OS, screen size, color, and available applications."

2011 will also see a full-fledged move to application-based computing. As tablets, TVs, mobile devices and cloud-based computing become more ingrained into our everyday lives, applications are becoming more important than ever before.

"I think 2011 will be the first year where not a single hardware category will exist sans apps," comments Dubravac.

"Apps are a conduit for the Web and consistent with the growth of Internet connectivity. I expect to see apps gain significant inroads in cameras, printers, in the vehicle and digital displays like photo frames.  

"I also expect to see apps gain significant inroads at CES into things like mobile and digital health, and sports and fitness. Monitoring will be a theme at this year's CES and I expect to see apps play an important role."

Last year reporters clambered to get a look at the latest 3D TVs and 3D technology that lined the showroom floor of CES. In 2011, 3D will again take center stage.

"Expect to see more 3D than ever before," says Shawn Dubravac.

And while bigger and better 3D TVs are "a given" at the 44th edition of CES, manufacturers will also start to address the need for compatible 3D eye-wear. Autostereoscopic devices (those that enable 3D glasses-free viewing) and 3D mobile devices will also be on show.

Trends on show at CES are also expected to be further evidenced at CeBIT and Computex Taipei which, alongside CES, are the most closely followed events on the 2011 technology calendar.

The 44th edition of the International CES will take place from January 6 to 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.