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Future Tech: 

The gadgets and gear to expect at CES 2016

Every January, the world’s gadget makers descend on Las Vegas for CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, earth’s biggest technology show. There they show off their newest devices and technologies, effectively laying out a roadmap for the rest of the year in tech. So what will be big next year? We’ve analysed the trends and rumours to bring you this report.

What to expect at CES 2016:

Virtual reality headsets

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Virtual reality has been on the brink of becoming big for years now. But in 2016 it will finally find its way into our homes. The Oculus Rift, the most highly-anticipated of the VR headsets, will go on sale in the first three months of the year, and the HTC Vive – a very similar rival that’s made in conjunction with legendary games firm Valve – will hit the shelves in April. So both firms will be keen to show off their latest innovations. Sony’s PlayStation VR and Samsung’s Gear VR are also expected in the first half of 2016. Mark our words, virtual reality will be huge in 2016.

Samsung Galaxy S7

galaxy-s7

CES isn’t traditionally a huge show for smartphones. Most manufacturers prefer to wait until Mobile World Congress a couple of months later. However, recent rumours point to a January announcement for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Even if Samsung doesn’t launch its next flagship at CES, it may well tease it, as it has done with its other big gadgets months before their official announcement. Rumours say the S7 will feature the forthcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which could make it the most powerful phone in the world. With nigh-on ten months before a new iPhone is announced, the S7 could own 2016.

Bigger, bolder tablets

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It’s not just smartphones that are getting bigger, tablets are too. This year has seen the iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Google Pixel C all launch – all have big screens, and feature detachable keyboards, so they can effectively double as laptops. Where these companies go, expect others to follow. The smart money is on stalwarts like Acer, Asus and Lenovo showing off more hybrid two-in-one devices at CES.

Massive TVs

samsung-4k

Traditionally, CES sees firms compete to see who has the biggest TV. But among the 100-plus-inch sets are some models that us consumers will actually buy, along with some technologies that point to the future of TV. 2016 will see more 4K sets (that’s a resolution with four times as many pixels as standard high definition), and hopefully at less insane prices. OLED is another screen technology that should come down in price – it gives inky blacks and vivid colours, but so far has been prohibitively expensive.

Netflix and the inexorable rise of streaming

netflix

Talking about the future of TV… Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will give a keynote speech at CES, so expect some announcements about his firm’s expansion. It aims to be in more than 200 countries by the end of 2016, and will ramp up its production of original content from 16 series to 31 next year.

Arch rival Amazon is said to be preparing its own live TV streaming service, as is Apple. While neither them nor Roku is expected to launch any more hardware at CES – both debuted new devices just before Christmas – the battle for your lounge will inevitably heat up in 2016.

Electric cars

volkswagen-microbus

Embattled car maker Volkswagen has already confirmed it will take to CES to launch an all-new electric car concept, and the latest rumours say it could be a Microbus. Google is working on launching its fleet of self-driving cars as an alternative method of urban transport by 2020, so expect some announcements and possibly a demo or two. Apple is also rumoured to be making its own electric car, but don’t expect it to make an appearance – it’s notoriously aloof about trade shows.

Tesla will see some fierce competition from a new electric car rival called Faraday Future. It’s even poached some ex-Tesla staff to work on the vehicle. Samsung has also announced it will make components for use in autonomous and internet-connected cars, so we could see the first of those at CES. More manufacturers are also likely to show off Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto in-car tech solutions.

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