Although the show has not officially started there are some indications that this year will be all about UltraHD (4K). We have received a number of press releases that are focused on 4K monitors, TVs and other display products. It is a little odd as 4K is not a new technology and has been around for a few years now. What is different is that this represents the first year where prices are coming down to the consumer level. We have already heard from Polaroid that they will have a 4K display for under $1,000 and we are hearing about others that might slide in under $700! That is an impressive achievement when you think about it.
Still there is a problem though. 4K is great, but you need to have a system capable of pushing that resolution or content that is at that level. Right now there are very, very few consumer products on the market that are 4K compatible and even in the computer industry 4K is not all that common outside the enthusiast community. This makes 4K a neat technology that still has a few years to go before it becomes more palatable to the consumer.
Outside of 4K displays the idea of wearable computing is on the rise with many companies bringing in health monitors, smart watches, and other device aimed and this particular market. It is something of an exciting time for wearable computing though as the industry is just really getting in gear. Companies are fighting to define what this new market will be and how it will impact the existing computer and mobile market. We expect to see more than a few new devices that might not be around when 2015 comes, but still it is always fun to watch a new technology in its infancy.
For the computer/gaming enthusiasts the big news will be the multiple “Steam Boxes” that will be unveiled for the first time. We know of at least three that will be shown off during CES, but not all will be running under the Steam name. Apparently not everyone has the license to call their new devices Steam boxes so there could be some interesting press releases and device launches in the next few days.
This is another technology that is in its infancy, but that has amazing potential. It is Vale’s answer to Microsoft’s attempt to push gaming to the Xbox One. The idea is to use a customized version of CentOS and build a better and more efficient gaming platform for the masses. So far the idea has some good momentum and a lot of interest. The problem is that SteamOS is not really ready for release. Right now the AMD drivers in the new OS are buggy and problematic. This means that nVidia has the market on GPUs that will work properly in these new products. Sadly nVidia GPUs also cost more than AMD GPUs which pushes the prices up and in some cases outside what consumers will want to spend for a Linux bases gaming system (with a limited number of games available too).
To fight this we are hearing that many companies that are making a Steam Box will be setting them up with a dual boot (Windows 8.1 and Steam OS). This means that you can run your Linux games and media services in SteamOS and still switch back to Windows, if you chose. Right now the expected prices are around $500 for these new products. We will be taking a look at a few this week and will let you know more about them.
In short CES will be about 4K, wearable devices, and the new Steam Box. We might see some other mobile news jump to the front (like nVidia’s new Tegra K1), but so far these are still looking like also-rans for CES 2014…
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