Start-ups have been urged to take note of the hottest trends at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, which showcases the latest innovations in gadgets and technology.
Shawn Dubravac, CES chief economist and director of research, says tablets and applications are two of the biggest trends this year.
Dubravac says while the 2010 CES was dominated by 3D technology, 2011 will be the year of the tablet.
“Apple’s launch of the iPad has left an undeniable print on the mobile computing space. After a decade with minimal success, a tablet computing device is garnering mass market appeal,” he says.
“There are many factors driving this trend, not least of which is timing. The global appeal of Apple’s iPad is simultaneously brazening others to enter the fold and compete for this quickly growing market.”
Motorola has announced the Xoom tablet, a 10-inch gadget designed specifically for tablet devices, which will run on Android Honeycomb software.
The gadget features 3G and 4G connectivity, full 1080p HD playback, dual-core processor, 720p video recording, Adobe Flash support, up to 10 hours of battery life, 32GB of storage and an SD card slot.
Motorola also released the Motorola Atrix 4G, a mobile phone running on Android software, which can be docked to an 11.6-inch screen and keyboard to turn it into a low-powered notebook computer.
Meanwhile, Panasonic released the Viera tablet, while Dell announced its seven-inch version of the Streak tablet.
The Streak tablet will run on the Android operating system and come with 4G capability; another popular trend among mobile and tablet manufacturers this year.
Samsung launched the Sliding 7 Series Tablet, which doubles as a Windows 7 notebook when users slide a keyboard out from under the screen.
Dubravac says apps will also continue to influence the technology industry in 2011.
“I expect to see apps everywhere… I continue to hear from manufacturers claiming they are moving away from designing new remotes and increasingly focused on app development instead,” he says.
“I think 2011 will be the first year where not a single hardware category will exist sans apps.”
In addition to apps, another big attraction of the iPhone has been the plethora of games hitting the market, including arcade-style games.
Portable gaming has been another big trend this year, with the rise of smartphones allowing for more graphically advanced games.
Samsung unveiled a range of 4G smartphones, and a number of new televisions, many of which feature 3D capability. It has also launched a range of more powerful camcorders.
Another major technical attraction has been the Intel Sandy Bridge chips, designed to integrate high-end graphics requirements with the normal CPU, eliminating the need for more expensive dedicated graphics chips.