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CES 2013 preview: What to expect from exhibitors

The technology industry is starting to descend on Las Vegas for the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show to showcase the trends of tomorrow.

According to CNET, this year's show will feature about 20,000 products from 3,000 exhibitors worldwide. Here are some of the bigger predictions from CES 2013.

"Ultra HDTVs"

It looks like the term "ultra" is a trend that is sticking around this year. Forget HDTVs; this year's CES is all about "Ultra HDTVs."

According to the Associated Press, Ultra HDTVs have four times the resolution of regular high-definition TV sets. Apparently, the picture resolution of Ultra HDTVs are already being used in digital movie theaters. But, don't expect Ultra HDTVs to start popping up at your local electronics store anytime soon. The TVs have to be at least 60 inches to see the difference.

"While there's going to be a lot of buzz around Ultra HDTV, we really think what's going to be relevant to consumers at the show is the continued evolution of 3D TVs and Internet-connected TVs," Kumu Puri, senior executive with consulting firm Accenture's Electronics & High-Tech group, told the Associated Press.

However, the 3D TV trend from CES 2011 didn't pick up steam and fizzled out by last year's trade show. Ahead of CES 2012, Forbes suggested that "until prices come down further, a single 3D TV standard is agreed to, and more content in 3D becomes available...3D TV is still more of a 2013-2015 CES theme rather than 2012." Could 2013 be the year it finally takes off?

Super-sized smartphones

Will Samsung prove that the Galaxy Note phone-tablet hybrid -- which many have dubbed a "phablet" -- was not a fluke? Reports are surfacing that bigger smartphones with screens larger than five inches will debut at this year's CES.

According to Apple Insider, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets says CES 2013 expects exhibitors to show off "embarrassingly large" smartphones. PC Magazine reports that Huawei is expected to show the Ascend Mate smartphone with a whopping 6.1-inch display.

Computer-tablet hybrids

The rise in popularity of tablet computers has hardware makers experimenting with new ways to freshen up traditional computers. One of the trends to look out for is the combination tablet and computer.

Microsoft's Surface tablet is perhaps the most famous example of a device that blurs the lines between laptops and tablets.

"All the PC manufacturers recognize that they have to do things differently," Accenture's Puri told the Associated Press.

Personal 3D printing

MarketBot, 3D Systems Corp and Sculpteo are among a handful of companies that make 3D printers that will be showing off new products at CES 2013, Scientific American reports. As home 3D printers become more affordable, the community of enthusiasts also continues to grow. Cracking the mass consumer market may be the next step for manufacturers of 3D printers.

"The consumer space is a key market for 3D and small steps have been made in this space via hobbyists and model makers in arts and craft projects and self-employed designers," Accenture senior executive Kumu Puri writes in a blog post for Forbes.

Attentive computing

As alternatives to traditional computing, tech companies are finding new ways for people to interact with machines. Devices like Microsoft's Kinect or Leap Motion's controller use censors to read physical gestures that translate to on-screen movements.

Tobii Technology, a Swedish company, will be at the show to demonstrate "the world's first gaze interaction computer peripheral" -- basically a camera that tracks where the user is looking on the screen, potentially replacing the mouse.

PointGrab, an Israeli startup, will be showing off software that lets a regular laptop webcam interpret hand movements in the air in front of it.

Assaf Gad, head of marketing at PointGrab, said that CES is usually full of hopeful companies with speculative interaction technologies, "but this year, you can actually see real devices."

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas from Jan. 8 to 11.

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