CES 2017: Everything you need to know

Alex Kidman 3 January 2017

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The world’s biggest electronics trade show is here. We're on the ground in Vegas bringing you the news on gadgets, TVs and more.

CES (more formally, the Consumer Electronics Show) is held annually in Las Vegas, allowing the world’s biggest consumer electronics companies to show off the wares they’ll bring to market in the next 12 months.

When is CES 2017?

Held annually in early January, CES 2017 will take place on 5-8 January 2017 in Las Vegas, although you can expect news from CES to start breaking any time from 1 January 2017 as companies jostle for attention.

Latest CES 2017 headlines

CES 2017: TVs

Televisions are a cornerstone of the CES experience, with firms such as Samsung, LG, Sony and more tussling it out to deliver the most premium experiences possible. Last year HDR was the buzzword du jour, and it’s likely we’ll see more of that in this year’s crop of TVs, with the high end incorporating even more intelligent techniques to take the rough edges off whatever content you’re viewing. 4K televisions will become more mainstream as the top end stretches into 8K display panels, although they'll remain out of the sensible price range of most consumers.

Much of CES’ TV coverage can be terribly US-centric, however, so not every feature shown there will necessarily make it to the TV sets that reach store shelves in Australia.

CES is also where a lot of TV prototypes and especially high-end, high-scale sets are shown off. You’re not likely to buy a 100+ inch TV (unless your surname happens to be Packer, Rinehart or possibly Turnbull), but we can expect the usual "world’s largest" fight to take TVs to all new extremes. At some point, they’ll simply have to start selling them as replacement walls.

CES 2017: Cars

Motoring technology has also been a highlight of recent years at CES, and CES 2017 should be no different. There will be a focus not only on in-car intelligent systems such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but also more talk and demonstration of autonomous vehicles, alongside electric cars aplenty.

Electric car maker Faraday is already touting that it will have something "special" to show off in electric vehicles at CES 2017 via Twitter.

CES 2017: Phones

Phones are not, strictly speaking, the main fare at CES, with the big reveals expected more around late February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

However, that leaves CES as fertile ground to really stand out against the noise of MWC, so don’t be too surprised to see a few handsets announced there.

First off the block to make it clear that they will reveal a phone at CES is Asus. It will announce at least one and possibly two ZenFone models at CES 2017. LG's upped the ante announcing that it will launch no fewer than 5 new phones at CES, although they're all mid-range handsets rather than anything that could reasonably be called a flagship phone.

Rumours currently suggest that Sony might unleash another Xperia X series phone, and we may well see new phones from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi or Huawei, although the latter jumped over the Mate 8 it announced at the last CES by announcing the Mate 9 a little while ago.

CES 2017: Wearables

Wearable tech is an easy fit for the CES show floor, with a wide mix of concept devices, some of which you’ll never see anywhere but CES, alongside more regular retail fare. With Fitbit recently acquiring the assets of Pebble, and Motorola rumoured to be exiting the wearables space for now, it will be interesting to see what happens with wearable technology.

LG has already pre-announced that it will display a range of wearable headphones and even wearable speakers at CES 2017.

The hot tip for CES 2017 is that we'll see a range of Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches on display, although Google has stated that it's going to launch the first Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches itself. So those will be on display, but not on sale until Google itself says its updated wearables OS is ready.

Samsung has only just released the Gear S3 smartwatch but could have further plays in fitness wearables to unveil. Apple historically never says much at all around CES time, hating to share the spotlight with anyone else at all, so any Apple Watch announcements are more likely to be third parties offering new bands or add-on products such as alternate chargers.

CES 2017: VR

With Microsoft making VR a centrepiece of its recent Windows 10 Creator Update announcement, there’s going to be a need for mass market VR headsets. Microsoft already demonstrated a few of those from major PC makers at its launch event, and at CES we expect to see more than a few on the show floor and with plans to ship to actual consumers quite soon.

Not that Microsoft will own the VR space all by itself. Both HTC and Oculus are battling it out in the high-end VR market with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift specifically, and it’s likely that we’ll see both software and hardware updates, including possibly a wire-free version of the Vive announced at CES. High-end VR remains a pricey proposition, although that might change at CES. It’s widely tipped that NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang will announce the graphics powerhouse’s moves in VR, which could include new GPUs designed to bring VR to the masses at a lower cost.

CES 2017: Laptops and tablets

Straight up computing still has its space in the consumer sphere, and CES is often the place where companies show off their shinier, sexier devices such as 2-in-1s and tablet devices.

It’s expected that part of NVIDIA’s offerings will include more affordable, higher power GPUs for mainstream laptops as well, and the major players such as Dell, HP, Asus and Lenovo are all expected to show off new wares at CES.

For its part, Samsung is expected to launch a revised SSD model for storage fiends, and while that’s perhaps not the sexiest of products, it too has its place at the world’s biggest electronics show.

CES 2017: Gadgets

It’s not all high-end brands showing their wares at CES, with plenty of challenger brands showing off all manner of unique and quirky concept ideas. Many of these may be months or years away from production, with CES just as important to those companies to secure finance as they are to procure sales. For every wonderful idea there’s a clunker, but that’s all part of the fun.

finder.com.au will be reporting from CES 2017, so stay tuned for further coverage.

Alex Kidman is travelling to CES 2017 as a guest of Dell.

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