CES 2013 Preview: Hybrid Windows 8 tablets, hi-res displays, new mobile processors and surprises from Asus & Samsung

December 20, 2012

Asus could unleash a $99 Nexus 7 killer

A number of analysts have earmarked that $99 could become the new go-to price for budget Android tablet makers in 2013, and it is believed that Asus is readying something in this regard.

The Taiwanese vendor is reportedly working on a 7-inch tablet with a model name ME172V, and this could promise a microSD slot and a price to undercut the Nexus 7.

Acer is also said to have developed a $99 tablet, although it is not yet known if this will turn up at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Something 'new' from Samsung

Reports leading up to CES suggest that Samsung has something big to shout about.

Dr. Stephen Woo, president of its Device Solutions Business, is one of the keynote speakers and the company has mystically promised to bring “something new” to the technology showcase.

What that is anybody’s guess. It could be a phone, but don’t discount the idea of a 10 or 12-inch tablet, especially with Samsung having shown such prototype examples with high-resolution screens in the last year.

It has even been mooted that Samsung may undergo some kind of rebranding, but whether that concerns the Galaxy Tab or Note products remains to be seen.

New and more efficient processors from Nvidia and Intel

CES and 2013 as a whole is going to be crucial for Intel. The world’s largest chipmaker trails ARM and its licensees Nvidia and Qualcomm in the mobile and tablet space, while its own-backed Ultrabook project could be faring better.

Intel publically has said that there is an array of Windows 8 tablets coming to market featuring its new Z2760 processor and there has been talk of Apple, but with talk that Apple could ditch the Intel CPU for the iPad, the Silicon Valley giant will need to bring something new to Las Vegas to impress its OEMs partners.

That isn’t entirely out the realms of possibility. Recent postings have found that Intel is working on the next-generation Ivy Bridge processor, with an additional focus on power efficiency, with a recent U.S. FCC filing suggesting the chipmaker is readying a tablet codenamed “Red Ridge”.

Things are more straightforward at Nvidia. The chip designer has enjoyed decent success with the Tegra 3 system-on-chip in the last year, with it now in tablets like the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, and looks set to introduce the Tegra 4.

Sources say that the SoC, codenamed T40, will offer four new Cortex A15 chips (against the A9 Cortex chips used by Tegra 3), probably clocked at 1.8GHz. And although slated for a mid-year release, it is possible that the first Android and Windows 8 Tegra 4 tablets could debut at the Las Vegas show.

LG returns to the tablet market

Korean conglomerate LG Electronics is a huge player in the TV and LCD monitor markets but never really got going with tablets, quitting the market after launching just one product on the market.

Nonetheless, the firm looks like it may be coming back into the tablet market with its first hybrid Windows 8 tablets, while the company's display division (LG Display) also will be showing off hi-res displays for phablets and tablets.

The new hybrid Windows 8 tablet is called the Tab-Book H160, according to Liliputing, which says that it is an 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet promising an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state disk. The model has a slide-out keyboard.

On the display front, LG Display will reportedly show a 5.5-inch phablet with a FullHD screen (offering 403 pixels per inch) and a 7-inch tablet 1920 x 1200 resolution display (324 pixels per inch).

Hybrid Windows 8 tablets

We saw the first hybrid Windows 8 tablets turn up at the IFA exhibition in Berlin, Germany last August and would expect even more to arrive at CES.

Dell, HP and Lenovo have all announced devices like this, which remain unreleased or on pre-order, and so could well be demoed at the tech show. As mentioned above, LG is also planning to show off its first hybrid Windows 8 tablet in Sin City.

Some notable absentees…including Apple and Microsoft

Last year’s CES attracted over 156,000 attendees (approximately a 10% increase from the year before) and a record 3,100 exhibitors, but was missing two of the biggest brands in computing in Apple and Microsoft.

Apple stopped going to CES years ago (along with other tech events including even the Apple focused Macworld) and last year Steve Ballmer ended the software giant's long run of keynote presentations. This year's keynotes include executives from Qualcomm, Panasonic, Verizon and Samsung.

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