In recent years, tablets and smartphones have reaped the premier highlights at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where technology companies showcase their new and emerging products to the world. In contrast, innovation in high-definition televisions grabbed most of the headlines and attention at the 2013 CES, but a prominent emerging trend was clearly seen for future smartphones was still evident.
Just a year ago, a smartphone with a 4-inch screen was considered a big deal at CES. However, many companies such as Samsung, LG and Lenovo are scaling up to 5-inch screen devices for new products. Sony announced that its new flagship phone for 2013, the Xperia Z, would also have a 5-inch display, which ultimately requires higher power consumption. The Xperia Z will also have a full 1080p HD resolution screen, which is the new direction of jumbo-sized phones. Interestingly enough, this degree of resolution display was originally intended for 40-inch televisions. Samsung is pushing the envelope on screen sizes, since it announced last year that the Galaxy Note II would have a 5.5-inch display.
More emphasis on increasing battery life for these larger screen phones will be necessary for customer adoption and sustainability in the marketplace. What’s more, the larger smartphone screens become, the closer they begin to compete with an iPad mini (spelling trouble for Apple) in terms of touchscreen capabilities with the advantage of mobile phone communication not found in a small tablet, especially if memory storage is increased.
Last year’s CES highlights included 3D HDTVs, which received mixed responses from the audience. A 2012 study from a market research firm, NPD Group, showed that only 14 percent of those surveyed called 3D a must-have feature on their next television. This year OLED or organic light-emitting diode displays received much of the attention, which offer better picture quality and are thinner and more energy-efficient than current models on the market. Samsung and LG Electronics demonstrated super-thin OLED displays that are actually curved to increase the viewing angle. Future generation technology will encompass displays that can be rolled up like sheets of paper. This has idea has been conceived for over a decade but has moved along slowly through the R&D phase along with many other branches of flexible display and electronics technology, often researched by universities and startup companies.
Besides display technologies, HDTV manufacturers represented at the CES are creating on-screen interfaces that simplify the search mechanism for finding shows of interest. Voice and gesture controls are becoming more common, as are predictive technologies like Samsung’s S-Recommendation feature, which records and perceives the programming you typically watch and makes educated guesses on other shows that would be attractive, similar to smart internet search engine features.
Samsung also made strides at the Consumer Electronics Show in its striking unveiling of the world’s first Curved OLED TV, setting a new precedent in home entertainment. The OLED panel is curved, which provides depth to the content displayed for a more vivid viewing experience from nearly any angle. It also possesses a captivating panorama effect, which is currently not possible with conventional flat-panel TVs. There is no set price tag or timeframe for commercial release, but its mere prototype has already wowed the electronics world. Samsung, which has already announced the first flexible display smartphone, has been able to channel its enormous capital and resources in display technology to serve its diverse product portfolio from smartphones to HDTVs and continue leading the world in advanced electronic device and display technology.