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Top Trends at CES 2013

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As the annual consumer electronics show begins to wind down, media outlets are compiling their lists of the most significant trends emerging from the event. Highlights include the growing importance of apps and software, bigger tablets, crowdfunding and the consumerization of IT.

PCMag’s Jamie Lendino observed, “There’s also a general sense out there that devices really aren’t the story anymore. Hardware manufacturers don’t want to hear that, necessarily, but it’s true that it’s no longer about specs for the majority of consumers. It’s more about what apps you can run and what services you can use—especially now that, as a rule, hardware has become powerful enough to do what people want. Hardware design will always be important, and in fact, it’s more important than ever. But the days of shopping for a PC based on how much RAM it comes with or how fast the processor is are pretty much gone, and that’s beginning to hold true for phones and tablets too.”

Entrepreneur’s John Patrick Pullen said the top trend of the show was “Tablets get super-sized.” He wrote, “With the will-they-or-won’t-they drama of Apple’s iPad Mini, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company kept small tablets in the headlines last year. Now, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with massive slates from Panasonic, Sony and Lenovo. Lenovo’s entry, the Horizon, has a 27-inch touchscreen and runs Windows 8. But weighing in at 17.8 pounds, it’s not very portable. Instead, Lenovo is billing Horizon as a multi-user, table top device — which can be useful for collaboration in the workplace.”

Another noteworthy trend–crowdfunding. Rolling Stone’s Scott Steinberg noted, “While the overwhelming majority of high-tech innovations still arrive through traditional channels like startups, incubators and corporate R&D departments, crowdfunding (online fundraising) platforms are continuing to grow as an alternative.”

And InformationWeek’s Eric Lundquist commented that the consumerization of IT has made CES more important to enterprises. “Businesses are turning from inside-out organizations to the reverse. The smartest businesses are collecting lots of information from the outside and using that data to make smart inside-business decisions,” he wrote. “CES represents all that outside information in the forms of gadgets, smart health, smart homes, smart cars, smart fitness and just about everything else that can go digital. The best role for a business exec wandering the aisles of CES is to think about what happens when all these devices want to start gabbing with business operations. At CES, businesses can see the wave of data that’s coming, then figure out how to turn that data into revenue.”

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