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Cool gadgets and hot tech that will shine at CES 2013

PCWorld Staff | Jan. 4, 2013
With less than a week to go before this year's International CES Show in Las Vegas commences, it's unclear which new products will generate the most buzz among attendees of the massive trade show. However, Ultra HDTVs, Windows 8 tablets, smart appliances, and smartphone apps figure to fight for center stage.

Aside from the Windows 8 tablets on display next week, we expect to see scores of cheaper, generic alternatives from Asian manufacturers, some with Android Jelly Bean operating systems. Specialized Android tablets are on the horizon, too. Already, as CES approaches, we're hearing talk of tablets aimed at kids, gamers, and seniors.

Smartphone sightings

Windows Phone 8 fans will be excited to see Samsung at Pepcom's Digital Experience event, which coincides with CES. The electronics giant will show off its ATIV S smartphone at the Monday night showcase. Included in October's Windows Phone 8 launch event but still awaiting its U.S. debut, the ATIV S is the only Windows 8-powered handset to feature a metallic hairline design, as opposed to the candy-colored looks we've seen from HTC and Nokia.

Bearing a strong resemblance to such Android handsets such as Samsung's Galaxy S III, the ATIV S has a slim design with curved edges and is the only Windows Phone 8 handset to include a physical Home button. The ATIV S also has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, and near-field communication (NFC) sharing.

Speaking of NFC, the wireless connectivity technology is becoming an increasingly common--and expected--feature in smartphones. As more consumers embrace mobile payment apps on their handsets, companies are providing digital coupons or loyalty passes to encourage their use.

Screen sizes continue to get bigger, blurring the line between large smartphone and small tablet. Huawei reportedly plans to promote a super-size 6.1-inch Ascend Mate "phablet" with either 720p or 1080p resolution at this year's CES. The smartphone was spotted in late December at a Huawei retail store in China, according to Engadget. The massive Ascend Mate will likely feature a 1.8GHz quad-core processor. Observers also expect Huawei to unveil a Windows Phone and several Android-based handsets during the show.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE plans to introduce a new flagship Android phone, the Grand S, at CES. The electronics maker claims that the Grand S will be the world's thinnest 5-inch phone. The ceramic smartphone will reportedly offer 1080p resolution.

Still, CES may not be the year's best trade show for new smartphone sightings. We expect the lion's share of 2013 phone announcements to happen at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off on February 25 in Barcelona, Spain.

Apps and accessories

Though Apple doesn't participate in CES--or any trade show, for that matter--many iOS app developers do make the trek to Las Vegas, touting their latest mobile apps and services at the show. Apps for iOS devices will be everywhere at CES this year, but especially in the form of connected apps that enable iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to control other devices remotely.


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