The Consumer Electronics Show, the annual fair, which often lays the foundation for the coming year in technology. CES 2017, which officially gets going on 5 January in Las Vegas, will certainly lead to a lot of the computer news, most of the manufacturers respond to Microsoft and Apple’s offerings this year.
We expect a continued cross-pollination of features, many of the tablet pc market, a new impetus laptops and desktops. We also see a greater emphasis on the needs of gamers and creative professionals who are on the show.
1. More Touchscreens
Tablets may be past their prime when it comes to the interest of the market, but that does not mean that the computers do not borrow ideas from them.
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“We have seen the smartphone rise to the dominant vehicle of connectivity. And touch-driven, distributed in the tablet and the tablet has spread in the laptop,” says electronics consultant Rhoda Alexander, director of tablets and pcs at IHS Markit, a data and market analysis company. “Users in their 20s and younger grew up to become, and to get them to remove the functionality of their toolbox is almost like removing a limb.”
Microsoft’s Surface line of laptops and desktops that need by essentially promising the experience of both a tablet and laptop in one device.
This year is the much-hyped Microsoft Surface Studio display is designed to function as a touch-screen table-top drawing board. It is more than likely we will see a few all-in-one desktops that mimic the Studio’s innovative approach.
We also expect to see touchscreens, pop-up away from the screen. Like Apple’s Touch Bar, the new feature is this year’s refreshed MacBook Pro that takes the place of a number of function keys, manufacturers, ready-to-deploy touch screens instead of keyboards or trackpads.
“I think there’s a lot of people look at what Apple does with the Touch Bar and how it evolves”, says Alexander. “It can be a very powerful tool. It offers an interesting alternative for a convertible or detachable in a traditional clamshell notebook that brings touch at your fingertips without having to reach to touch the screen, that is simply not ergonomically friendly.”
2. Innovative User Interfaces
It’s been a while since Apple has updated the desktop computers: October 2015 for the latest iMac update, while the new Mac Pro has remained unchanged since its introduction in 2013. This has caused many makers of Windows-based computers at introducing innovative models that are focused right on ads.
“There is absolutely a chance for Windows suppliers to jump in that specific niche,” says Alexander.
Earlier this year Microsoft unveiled its Surface is a Dial, which users a new way to communicate with their computers.
The puck-like peripheral devices, designed with creative professionals in mind, can be used in combination with a stylus, a mouse or a finger. For example, you could turn the button on to call up a color wheel, an image of a program, zoom in and zoom out of an image or to change the volume on Spotify. The Dial is optimized for the Surface Studio, where it can be mounted on the display, and offer haptic feedback, but at only $99, can appeal to the users of a PC, laptop or tablet that runs on the Windows-10 year Anniversary update.
Alexander warns that the graphic professionals who are disillusioned with the newest Macs don’t complain about the ‘form factor’ or ‘old-school input devices, but the lack of ports, RAM memory and a large hard drives.
“It is very easy to be distracted by the bells and whistles,” she says. “A professional machine should have exactly what is essential but nothing more. It is a tool and you want it to be as efficient a tool as possible.”
To achieve this, Alexander observes that the Windows machines ready to do a software update in early 2017, which will provide an enhanced color resolution, many years of resistance of the Mac-based graphic artists.
But to appeal to the casual user who just wants to look like a pro, we will see more sense in it, next-gen buttons and controls of other companies at CES. And we expect to see more markers, pens and other input devices shipping as standard accessories with many pcs.
3. More Security Features
The National Retail Federation reports that more than half of the consumers use their computers and smartphones to shop online. Given that, and the near-weekly reports of the website hacks, users are clamoring for a more secure way to buy online and manufacturers are scrambling to give it to them.
While fingerprint sensors have a fixed value in the enterprise computers, the advent of the Touch ID sensor and Apple Pay, see for the first time on Apple’s iPads and iPhones, is a flagship feature of the latest MacBook Pro. This forms the basis for similar security features on Windows-based computers. Also expect that there are more computers to support Windows Hello facial recognition for login, and maybe even for the online payment.
Alexander notes that the best security doesn’t do much good if the consumer does not use, so look for an emphasis on user-friendly security features on the CES.
“They are building in the security more intuitive,” Alexander explains. “Something that is individualistic, but also relatively easy.”
4. Attractive for Gamers
It is estimated that the electronic sport can be a in the neighborhood of $1 billion business by 2019, so it is no surprise that more and more manufacturers are hoping to cash in on the rising popularity.
It is an almost certainty that we are going to see different companies announce gaming pcs and laptops at CES, in addition to the software and other services specifically aimed at gamers.
While some manufacturers have tried to expand the gaming market by offering a slightly stripped down laptop for around the $1,000 price, Alexander notes that this effort was only a modest success. So look for the manufacturers to continue to introduce expensive, sophisticated machines that meet the needs of the most demanding gamers.
“It is the strength, the speed, the ability to stay fired up without overheating,” she says. “Power users are still willing to shell out the big money for a really powerful machines.”
We will probably also see more virtual-reality-ready laptops and desktops that support devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. When Microsoft announced its Surface line earlier this year, it has also said that it would be partner of HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer to produce VR headsets, with options that start at $299. The goal was to lure budget-minded consumers away from the much more expensive Oculus Rift and Vive systems, and we see a few of those for the show.
5. The Next Generation Chromebooks
Google started with the making of the Play store available for the selection of Chromebooks earlier this year, allowing computer users to access apps built for Android devices.
We expect to see a flurry of touchscreen-capable Chromebooks designed to take full advantage of this feature.
“Touch is coming to Chrome in a big way,” says Alexander, who also sees a parallel trend of higher resolution displays to make up for the loss of brightness and clarity that will affect a number of touch screen machines.
At CES, we also see the introduction of the first wave of convertibles and two-in-ones that are equipped with gyros and accelerometers, so racing games like “Need for Speed”, puzzle games such as “Maze!” can be played on a Chromebook.
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