With both the holiday season and the Consumer Electronics Show rapidly approaching, it's time to turn our attention to the hot gadgets for 2012.
The pickings are slim. Other than a few expectations—some obvious, some not—detailed on the following pages, analysts don't expect a lot of must have CE gadgets to burn up the Amazon sales rankings in 2012.
"I really don’t see any CE gear becoming the next Beanie Baby or Tickle Me Elmo for 2011," said Jordan Sulburn, a principal analyst for consumer electronics at IHS iSuppli. "The CE industry goes through cycles of innovation, followed by optimization—better, bigger, faster and especially cheaper—and we’re in the latter part of the cycle right now. Even 3-D has been widely available for well over a year now."
According to Selburn, the rapid growth of smart CE devices, including media tablets and smartphones, could mean fewer consumer electronics gadgets under the tree at Christmas time, as functions that previously demanded stand-alone devices get rolled up into tablets, smartphones, TVs and set top boxes.
Back in July, IHS put out a report stating that that rapidly growing sales of multifunction products like tablets and smartphones will contribute to sluggish sales for single-task devices like MP3 players and digital still cameras through at least 2015.
Of course, the rise in smartphones and tablets have contributed to other profound changes in the CE market, particularly the dominance of apps that users buy, download and use on the devices. "A lot of the new gadgets are going to be apps instead of something that you hold in your hand," Selburn said, noting that consumers might have a tough time sticking apps under the tree, though.
In a nutshell, the list of hot gadgets for 2012 will not be dissimilar to the list of hot gadgets for 2011. But as Selburn notes, in the CE optimization cycle, everything gets smaller, faster, better and less expensive.
The projected increasing sales of the smartphones suggests we'll all look more and more like a bunch of zombies walking around with our eyes locked onto a little screen. It's already bad enough at my workplace to be rather annoying.
Will ultrabooks erode the tablet business? I think slightly. I think it's almost a given that almost anyone who decides to buy an ultrabook is not at the same time also going to buy a new tablet. I am not sure how many people that will be, probably a small number. I think that we are reaching a point when all of these devices--tablets, ultrabooks, chromebooks, netbooks and even traditional notebooks and desktop PC--are in a sense competing for the same dollars. The hope is that the upshot is that these new device categories will grow the overall market, but in a sluggish economy I don't know if that effect will be measureable in the short term. Just my two cents.
I see there are people who need full OS to do some jobs. For them tablet dont do the job. But one thing we are missing is that market shares are shifting from normal to ultra light PC but overall PC market is shrinking. Which means normal notebook market is shrinking much faster rate giving more room for ultra light PC.
I agree GREAT-Terry; this is the only innovation to consider as an inflection point in the electronic gadget field. If you consider that it took years and that's genesis was DARPA, having Siri around in 2011 will make her the 'belle of the ball' in 2012. The DARPA angle (one of them): http://www.fastcompany.com/1785221/siri-ously-darpa
the surprise in the list for me is the ultrabooks. I was thinking that any kind of PC/notebook or variation will be dead due to popularity of the tablet devices. Will this ultrabook erode the tablet business?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.