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CES 2014 – What to expect from Android and Chrome OS

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) comes but once a year and can be regarded as Christmas for nerds the world over. This year, the show runs from January 7th to the 10th and we thought it best to give a preview of what to expect from the usual crowd pleasers. Throughout the years, CES has been a place where the most crazy of ideas and the wildest of dreams came to fruition. Before we move on to our predictions however, let us spend a moment reflecting on what transpired at 2013’s CES.

Recap – At CES 2013, we witnessed the coming of age of 4K tv’s. The gorgeous, pricey but captivating monsters were part and parcel of the show. Today, a 4K tv can be had for as little as $500, a far cry from the $20,000 they were first advertised for. Other notable mentions were the Sony Xperia Z, the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, and the Fitbit Flex. The Pebble, the long awaited saviour of the smart watch world had a full revelation, and the emersive Oculus Rift made its grand debut. We must not omit Nvidia’s Shield which had gamers everywhere dreaming of playing ‘Half Life 3′ while in the bathroom. 

Twelve months later and the 4K televisions are becoming more popular and affordable, and several streaming services including Netflix and YouTube have either promised content or has already started delivering. The Xperia Z has long been surpassed by its younger, stronger siblings and both the Pebble and the Shield have been on sale for quite some time. The Oculus Rift is not yet readily available, but we still long for its full release and for the future of virtual reality games that are sure to accompany it.

Android everywhere
This year, the world of Android promises to grow even larger. Before long, Android’s robots will need their own planet to inhabit. It’s fair to say that Google has conquered the mobile scene in terms of user base and this has been the case for quite some time, but this is not the end of Android. In fact, it may be considered the beginning.

CES 2014 will feature more of Android, but not only on our handsets. As suggested in the past, we will see Android in more places and on more things. Samsung has long advertised Android powered fridges, and many others have displayed ovens, washing machines and other appliances that run Android. Luckily for us, these green robots don’t know how to quit and are expected to show up in our automobiles. A recent leak points to an impending announcement from Audi and or Google about the partnership they have struck. It is reported that Android will soon be present in Audis and it just makes us adore the brand even more. As with other breakthroughs in this world, we can expect to see more manufacturers announce such partnerships soon. Add the fact that Android is open source, and this creates a whole other world to explore without much hindrance.

It’s common knowledge that Android OEMs love pushing the boundaries of what is deemed possible, or impossible if you prefer. 2013 was the year of the 1080p screen, and many loved it. As tradition would have it, the usual suspects are at it once again and are looking to break records and set trends. Leaks from far and wide have pointed towards 2560 x 1440 screens to become the norm in 2014 and while I’m not totally pleased about it because my monitor still has a 768p resolution, it will be exciting to sit back and admire the panels that come on the new handsets.

Look out for tablets to both grow and, or shrink. Many long for tablets that surpass 10.1″ screens, while other OEMs will be trying to reduce weight and shave off some bezels to remain competitive. I had the opportunity to handle my father’s Galaxy tab 2 today, and it just felt really heavy compared to my Nexus 7. He too finds it to be a bit cumbersome and might settle for the Galaxy Tab 8 instead. Big tablets don’t quite suit everyone’s needs, and neither do 7 inchers, but I’m just not sure of how people will cope with tablets that boast 12″ screens. What I do know is that, as humans, adaptation is embedded in our DNA and whether larger or smaller, we either adapt to fit our surroundings, or we change it.

Two device types that gained a lot of traction in 2013 both belong to the category of wearables. Yup, you guessed it. The smartwatch and the smart glasses both made a splash. The Galaxy Gear, The Pebble and Google Glass were the stand out pieces for their respective form factors, but don’t you ever think that all the other OEMs stood by and watched idly. Everyone wants to grab the spotlight and CES is their time to shine.

Chrome OS
The current darling of Google, Chrome OS is set to make it’s presence felt. A recently announced LG All-in-One Chrome PC looks stunning. I can see a lot of people longing for such a classy machine on their desks. With a slew of Chromebooks released during 2013, I’m not certain that OEMs will wait until CES to reveal their offerings, but it will be exciting to have a new piece of hardware grace the showroom floor.

Are we going to see Chrome OS show up in more form factors? A tablet or a watch maybe? The OS is still in its infancy so to speak, and we just might have a few surprises from OEMs or even Google itself. Chrome OS has grown on me and a lot of people for that matter. We want to take it into the living rooms,  onto our televisions, our tablets and maybe even our phones. Maybe Chrome and Android may never become one, but by itself, it might pose a potent threat.

Honourable Mentions
With the release of the Chromecast, Google has shown that they want to inhabit the living room, and no one can fault them for that. Google TV is not as vibrant as it once was, but expect to see an appearance in some form or another. LG’s Web OS tv looks stunning, and who knows what else will show up.

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I urge everyone to pay close attention for the show never disappoints. I can’t wait to see what the next show stopping gadget will look like, but I’ll bet that, like its predecessors, it will have us talking for much of 2014.

Myril Kennedy

I am a fan of technology and Android in particular. It has helped to turn the mobile industry on its head, and its open source nature has opened many doors that were previously closed. I am also a self confessed Google fanboy, so it may be reflected in my views from time to time.

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