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BLOG: Why the year's hottest tech doesn't always succeed

Steve Fox, PCWorld | Jan. 17, 2012
CES may be a terrific barometer for tech’s health in aggregate, but its guidance on the specifics—on which products or product categories will be hits in the coming 12 months—can be shaky.

The correct answer turned out to be, “none of the above.” The e-reader revolution didn’t materialize (thanks, again, to tablets and smarter smartphones). Folks still buy e-readers, but not in the volume that most industry observers had anticipated.

CES 2011 shaped up as a coming-out party for 3D everywhere: HDTVs, camcorders, you name it. The industry oversold 3D; consumers as a whole didn’t bite. At this point, most observers continue to believe that 3D TVs will eventually become commonplace, as 3D glasses improve and 3D content becomes more readily available. I’ll give 3D a grade of Incomplete for now, and revisit it in a few years.

What about this year’s CES standouts? TVs are back, and they’re more capable and connected than ever, even if 3D isn’t their main selling point. (see Patrick Miller’s “Why 3D TV Isn’t ‘Cool’ at CES This Year”). Meanwhile, Ultrabooks are out to prove that they’re not this year’s version of the netbook. And Android tablet makers are hoping to generate some noise in a market dominated by the iPad.

So let me go on record right here as saying that I believe all three will find great success in 2012. And I also have a fantastic watch phone that I’d like to sell you cheap.


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