The Futurist: What We Will See At CES

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Samsung Double-sided LCD Screen

In just a few short clock rotations, the entire tech industry (short of myself — I’m taking a much-needed vacation) will be rolling into Vegas for CES, and CrunchGear’s crack team will be ready to give you the latest scoops on this year’s year-shaping event.

A lot of people take this time of year to play the CES Guessing Game and prognosticate about who will release what. We here at CrunchGear like to take it a step further. For the most part, except where noted, the predictions that follow are not merely guesstimates, but things that my sources have given me very good reason to believe we WILL see at CES. I have to be vague for a lot of this, lest I run afoul of the CrunchGear legal team. So prepare to be teased.

Click the jump to see what’s coming…

VIDEO CAMERAS: Leaks have pegged Hitachi as first to bat with a hybrid DVD/hard drive video camera (Disclaimer: I’ve known about this for some time, but have been unable to blog on it due to an NDA. Hitachi has since given me clearance to mention it.) The promise is pretty cool: Instant one-button dubbing of a hard drive’s worth of vids should keep you from running to and from your PC during that week-long vacation. But don’t think for a minute that Hitachi is alone in realizing the potential for a hybrid camcorder. At least one other company almost certainly has their sights set on this market, and is taking a rather different approach to it…

TVs: Price drops and increases in LCD and Plasma quality, as well as the just-around-the-corner inevitability of SED, had convinced me that DLP was in its last throes of existence beyond a niche market—the anti-bulk backlash just seemed to great. And HP bailing on the tech didn’t help the cause. However, expect to see something at CES that should give DLP chip-maker Texas Instruments hopes of not having to rely on the graphing calculator game again just yet. That’s not to say that cut-rate LCDs and Plasmas won’t nail DLPs soon, but they’ve got at least another good year of mediocre market share left. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this involves the DLPs of the LED variety…

CELL PHONES: Without having any idea what’s going to happen with Apple’s don’t-call-it-an-iPhone, expect lots and lots of white phones to roll off assembly lines from January onward. 2006 was a black year, and 2007 will be a white one (with shades of rainbow, of course.) This will likely include new models, as well as white versions of familiar friends. 2007 will be The Year of the White mobile phone, and Apple’s entry into the market will only further this (can you really imagine their first phone being anything other than white?)

DVRs: I love TiVo — the brand fills me with warm fuzzy feelings — but I’m guessing there won’t be too much in new hardware from these guys since Series III just rolled off the assembly line. They have, however, become big fans of content delivery, so some exclusive deals wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, I know nothing for sure about what they will be showing at the Show. What I DO know is that you should keep your eyes out for other companies delivering souped-up Media Center DVRs. Some of these try to act as a one-stop shop for all your living room needs in ways that haven’t really been attempted on a consumer level before, and current design trends might suggest that at least one such model could possibly could maybe look like a Roomba…

That’s it for now. Remember to tune in for CrunchGear’s blood-boiling coverage of this geekathon.

Seth Porges writes on future technology and its role in personal electronics for his column, The Futurist. It appears every Thursday and an archive of past columns is available here.

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