CES 2011 begins year of the tablet in Vegas as Apple stays home

consumer electronics show

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show will feature the introduction of numerous tablet PCs. Image: CC joanna 8555/Flickr

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show starting Thursday in Las Vegas is expected to be all about tablets. The usual suspects, such as smartphones and gaming devices, will also make token appearances. But CES hype is calling 2011 the year of the tablet, even though the company that started it all — Apple, with its iPad — doesn’t bother to show up.

How Apple could upstage CES 2011

CES 2011, based on previews proliferating on the web, will resemble CES 2010. Last year’s annual technology trade show extravaganza featured the ballyhooed demo of a Microsoft windows tablet that never made it off the ground. Apple independently announced its iPad a few weeks later. The iPad hit stores in April, and more than 14 million have been sold. When CES 2011 gets under way Jan. 6, other tablet manufacturers will compete for attention as they introduce their devices. The same day, the Mac App Store makes its debut. Many tech pundits expect Steve Jobs will upstage the also-rans at CES 2011 by using the occasion to preview Apple’s iPad 2.

The scramble to catch up with Apple

Many PC and mobile phone manufacturers will be scrambling to catch up with Apple at CES 2011. Samsung will feature its Galaxy tablet that it claims has sold about 1 million units so far. Tablet devices will be unveiled by such brands as Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Research in Motion (RIM), Dell, Toshiba, Acer and ASUS. The success of Apple’s iPad leads analysts to believe that the market potential for tablets will allow most of these players a modicum of success. But no one anticipates that Apple’s considerable lead in the tablet market will be threatened by a raft of cheap imitations racing to the bottom as they compete on price.

Other CES 2011 gadgets

CES 2011 may be all about tablets, but smartphones will also make headlines with devices that continue to promise cable-caliber high speed internet connections that have been promised since CES 2010. Motorola, HTC and others will introduce new Android phones made for Verizon’s 4G high-speed LTE network. Internet-connected TVs will also proliferate, as well as cars and household appliances that access wireless data networks to receive remote commands from their owners.


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