CES 2013 rumors: Smart fridges, translucent TVs, and more

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show is just a week away, and rumors are flying about what products will be unveiled at the show. CES 2013 will likely bring 'smart' appliances, Windows 8 devices, and maybe a weird new TV from Samsung.

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters/File
Google is concerned with how Samsung's growing power might affect their partnership. Here, a man walks by a Samsung advertisement in Seoul, South Korea.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a week away -- which means that rumors about what will be on display in Las Vegas have started to fly in, right on schedule.

Before we dive in to gadgets, it’s worth noting that the show itself may be changing a bit this year. For years, CES has been absolutely huge, devouring a good chunk of Las Vegas as big companies show off their latest and greatest. But last year, Microsoft announced it wouldn’t be attending CES 2013, and other major players like Intel, HP, and Sony will be absent as well. As Matt Burns at TechCrunch points out, that means Lenovo and Samsung will be the biggest companies in attendance -- which leaves plenty of room for smaller startups to demonstrate their products.

But in spite of the absence of some of the bigger companies, there are good reasons to expect that CES 2013 will be bigger than ever. So what can we expect to see demoed in Vegas next week?

For starters, Samsung is teasing a new portrait TV that will be unveiled at CES. In a December 30th blog post, the company posted a picture showing a screen in an upright 4:3 orientation (think of a giant iPad), describing the product as “an unprecedented new TV shape and timeless design,” according to a translation by The Verge. Last year the company unveiled high-end OLED TVs at CES, and the most optimistic speculation this year includes translucent TV screens like those used in Samsung’s refrigerators.

Speaking of fridges, Stacy Higginbotham at GigaOM speculates that CES 2013 will showcase an “Internet of things,” with connected appliances and home automation products stealing the show. It’s certainly no stretch to predict that we’ll see not only smart fridges that can tell you what’s inside and communicate with your phone (especially since we saw similar devices at last year’s CES), but also services that can tie data from different appliances together in useful ways. Think, for example, of a fridge that can not only keep track of inventory, but also order groceries, create recipes based on what’s at hand, and even suggest meals based on things like the age and activity level of each family member.

We’ll also likely see lots of Windows 8 devices -- desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones alike -- on the CES floor this year. The OS wasn’t made available until relatively late last year, and manufacturers are still coming up with spiffy new hardware that runs Windows 8. And given that the OS is designed to take advantage of touch input, we can expect to see lots of touch-enabled devices at the conference, including some new laptop/tablet hybrids.

CES will begin in just a week, so we’ll know then which of these rumors are true. In the meantime, let us know in the comments section below what you’re hoping to see at CES 2013!

For more tech news, follow Jeff on Twitter@jeffwardbailey.

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