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CES 2012: The war for relevancy

Besides the obvious reason for the Consumer Electronics Show (showing off your products), this year is going to be a particularly heated one.  It’s not only competitor vs. competitor, it comes down to a much more primal urge for a much more desired edict.


In all of the markets in all the world, there are few that are exploding like the mobile industry.  More specifically, the smartphone market which has doubled in size from 2009 to 2011.  Similar in boom to the video game market explosion in the mid-late 2000’s but with much more far-reaching implications, the mobile industry represents a fundamental paradigm shift in the way our most important commodity is consumed and created:  That commodity is data.  And now, right before our eyes, we’re witnessing what could be a massive tectonic shift in the industry that has had its familiar players in motion.

Apple is sitting upon its ecosystem, quite comfortably I may add.  Recent events, however, have shown that even Apple’s iron grip on the mobile market is not infallible.  Their once lofty perch of being the single largest smartphone manufacturer has been overtaken by Samsung (Although the sales of the iPhone are still envy worthy no matter which way you look at it), and their highly successful iPad line is facing an uncertain future with the advent of Windows 8 tablets on the horizon.  Could the new tablet competition be a huge hurdle, or a speedbump?  Will the introduction of the iPhone 5 put Apple back on top?  CES should prove interesting and answer a few questions there.

Microsoft and Nokia’s fates are intertwined, irrevocably, with the acceptance of Windows 8, the new Nokia Windows Phones, and the Windows 8 tablets that will hopefully be given some fresh air to breathe at the 2012 CES.  We’re already aware of the Lumia 900 making its debut, but there has to be more.  This being Microsoft’s last CES (In my opinion, they want their new product lines to be introduced at a trade show closer to the holidays), here’s hoping they make a bit of a splash.  The Windows 8 tablets, which could be the future of Microsoft’s line as tablets sales are on fire right now, are also tied to the fate and future of another old player in the industry…

…Intel.  Their Medfield processors have been AWOL, but with a recent leak from the Korean Times things seem to be getting back on track.  While Intel has a concrete stranglehold on the desktop and laptop markets, their ascension to the slate form factor is practically required at this point for them to stay in competition.  They need a low-energy, high-performance chip that can run legacy software… and they need it soon.

All the old curmudgeons of the tech world are feeling the heat from up-and-comers from all corners.  CES 2012 will give us some answers and some insight on the future of previously mentioned tech world, and the fever-pitch competition should produce some great consumer level products for us in the process.  Let’s enjoy the fireworks, folks.  This is gonna be a wild one.