What we’re looking forward to at CES 2016

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In just a few short days, Pocketnow’s CES crew will pack up their bags, hop on their flights, and start converging upon Las Vegas. We won’t be the only ones headed out to the American Southwest, and companies from all over the world will similarly be flocking to Nevada to show off their latest hardware, services, and everything that goes with that.

As we look forward to soaking it all in for ourselves, we thought we’d take a quick look around at the early announcements, the hottest rumors, and maybe even a long-shot or two as we share with you what’s worth looking forward to from CES 2016.

The New Face of CES

It used to be that CES was the hottest electronics expo of the year, and while it’s still right up there with the big players, recent years have seen its light begin to fade just a bit. MWC follows just a few weeks later, and it’s found itself picking up more and more buzz as manufacturers schedule their spring launches around it. IFA’s also been bringing the heat in late summer, and as a result, we don’t get to see quite the spread of high-profile new phones as we may once have.

And indeed, last year’s CES brought us plenty of great hardware, but few really stand-out phones. Maybe the highest profile was the LG G Flex 2, emerging as an early example of what the Snapdragon 810 could do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like we’re due to see a sequel this year, and after early reports that a new G Flex could be a few months late, the most recent rumors suggest it won’t come out at all.

Where does that leave us, then? Well LG’s as good a place to start as any, and even without a flagship phone, the manufacturer looks ready to bring along a nice assortment of new gear.

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CES 2016 Hardware

LG is one of those manufacturers that seems to make every kind of product under the sun. Directly related to our mobile-gadget interests, the company’s already announced its next-gen Tone Infinim Bluetooth headset, as well as the SmartThinQ Hub – its own spin on an intelligent-home-hub/wireless speaker in the vein of Amazon’s Echo.

Beyond that, LG’s going to have a mess of other products, and has already confirmed everything from new televisions (featuring the updated webOS 3.0) to an augmented reality smartphone-controlled robot vacuum. We’re living in the future, baby!

Samsung’s another big player that – while it almost certainly won’t have any flagship-level phones ready to go up for display at CES, should still bring a solid assortment of new hardware. And just like LG, that means a lot of appliances and consumer electronics that, while they may not be directly in our wheelhouse, sure get closer and closer each year as they gain new connectivity features.

What we do know to expect are some new products from the company’s C-Lab division, including a smart belt, a hand-motion controller for VR applications, and an interesting audio-delivery tech that sounds like a new take on bone-conduction systems.

Maybe we’ll get a closer look at some of those new A-series phones, but despite rumors of an early-year launch, not even Las Vegas’s most degenerate gamblers are betting on the GS7 making an appearance.

Samsung rinkSony’s initial save-the-date for its CES announcements sure featured imagery of a bunch of different products, from TVs and cameras to VR headsets and speakers. It also showed us a phone, but did this mean we’re actually going to see new hardware making its debut, or is Sony just reminding us, “hey, we still got some of those new Xperias if anyone’s interested?”

We’ve heard whispers about a possible Z5 Ultra, and there are those new Z6 Lite rumors, but nothing really sticks out with a ton of certainty. Maybe the company might come forward with a new smartwatch (lord knows it’s been a while) but we’re not holding our breath; the hottest Sony hardware of the year could still be several months away.

When it comes to HTC, its CES presence should be all about accessories. The hottest product there is undeniably the Vive VR headset, a collaboration with Valve. This one’s been a long time coming, and a commercial release is finally within sight.

HTC has told us to expect news of a major technological breakthrough for the final Vive hardware, and while we’ve got some ideas about what that could entail, there’s plenty of room for surprises.

In addition to that headset, we wouldn’t be surprised to see HTC introducing a bunch of new wearable and fitness-related tech, including some of the products it’s been working on with Under Armour.

Huawei Watch Review Android Wear Smartwatch 1Huawei’s always looking to get its name out there more, and CES is a great way to reach out to markets in the West. Rumors have already pointed to some of what the manufacturer may be hoping to share at the expo, including some new female-focused options for the Huawei Watch, and an appearance from the Mate 8. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a bunch of other hardware – probably more on the mid-ranger side – as well as a nice assortment of accessories.

That’s pretty much the same sort of spread we’re expecting from ZTE, and while we might get a glimpse at the new ZTE Axon Max, there hasn’t been a ton of buzz surrounding the company’s upcoming offerings. Instead, look for mid-rangers, mid-rangers, and some more mid-rangers.

There’s More to Life Than Just Smartphones

Even without a strong flagship lineup, CES 2016 promises to have a ton of cutting-edge tech to offer, just stuff that verges into some new categories.

Wearables should be even bigger this time around than last, and that doesn’t just mean smartwatches, either. Like that Samsung smart-belt we mentioned, expect CES 2016 to push wearables out into new and sometimes unexpected categories. Now that consumers have finally begun to accept what smartwatches can do for them, companies are eager to take that familiarity and see where they can expand on things from there – and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

VR is nearing its big moment in the spotlight, and beyond HTC’s Vive we’ve also got sales of the Oculus Rift starting in 2016. The market’s large enough for more than just two players, and we’re likely to see plenty of other manufacturers eager to get in on the action in one way or another – whether that means fully immerseive VR or devices better equipped to deliver augmented-reality-style experiences.

And like we mentioned with LG’s new hub and some of the connected appliances it and Samsung have planned, smart home tech should be all over CES. That’s not always the most compelling topic, we know, especially for those of you living in apartments, but we’ll be on the lookout for any really interesting new products up that alley, just in case.

Stick with Pocketnow all next week as the CES 2016 madness unfolds. With so much on the agenda, be sure you check in with us, and check in often.

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!