Top Tech Trends: What Will 2011 Bring?

VIDEO: A look at the CES of 1979.

The holidays may be over, but for tech geeks and gadget-lovers, the fun is just beginning.

The biggest technology trade show in the world, the Consumer Electronics Show, kicks off later this week, and buzz about the year's top tech trends is already well under way.

Hundreds of companies -- from brand name Apple and Google to virtual unknowns looking to make their mark -- will descend on Las Vegas for the annual event. Although many of their products may still be under wraps, industry insiders say they can already detect the major trends of the show -- and of 2011 -- shaping up. spoke to a few analysts about what to expect in 2011. Here's what they had to say.


"If there's one device or one product category that we're likely to see an explosion of at CES, it's tablets," said Ross Rubin, an analyst for NPD Group and an columnist.

Apple's iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab hit the market this year, but in 2011 several other companies hope to give them a run for their money.

In December, Motorola released a teaser video of its Honeycomb Android-based tablet that it will unveil at CES. Honeycomb is the name of Google's next generation Android operating system, and analysts expect many of the new tablets to run on that system.

Microsoft is also expected to take its tablet efforts to the next step, Rubin said.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said for Research in Motion (which makes the BlackBerry), CES will be a make-it-or-break-it moment.

Earlier in 2010, the company announced its upcoming tablet, the PlayBook, which is expected to be at CES. RIM, which saw its smartphone dominance eroded by Apple's iPhone and Android phones, is hoping the 7-inch tablet will give the company a much-needed boost.

"All eyes will be on them to see if they can pull the rabbit out of the hat," Enderle said.

And NPD's Rubin said that Apple could be getting ready to unveil a new version of the iPad sometime in January. It likely wouldn't happen at CES, but it was one year ago that Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to introduce the company's "revolutionary" device.

The Rise of the 'Superphone'

First, there was the cell phone, then the smartphone and now the "superphone."

It's the next generation of the smartphone, and Enderle said it would make its first appearance at CES this year.

The new phone category can run on a 4G network, which is the next-generation wireless network. Verizon, for example, has said that its 4G LTE network, which launched in December 2010 in 38 cities, can be up to 10 times faster than its 3G network.

The superphones will also be dual-core phones with two processors, which means multi-tasking will be taken to a new level, Enderle said. LG has already said that its new superphone, the Optimus 2X, which it launched in December and will display at CES, lets users multitask with no screen lag. For example, you could play a game and listen to music without any delays in either function.

"It's quite a bit more capable than the last generation of smartphones, and CES should be the first time we start seeing some of these," he said.

Smart/Connected TVs

"Everybody at CES is going to show a TV set of some sort with a fairly sophisticated connectivity to the outside world -- in other words, Internet televisions," said Greg Harper, president of HarperVision, a technology consulting firm.

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