It's not looking like a banner year for consumer electronics gadgets in 2012, but we've cobbled together a list of some devices that are likely to be hot.
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.