The Consumer Electronics Show 2013 is upon us, and the bacchanalian excesses of the holidays give way to big TVs, tablets galore, and marketing hyperbole aplenty as SlashGear heads to Las Vegas to see what's umissable in consumer electronics. CES not only opens the year with a bang, it sets the tone for the next twelve months in tech; some of the gadgets we'll be seeing won't be on sale until the summer or even the 2013 holidays, and the buzzwords are likely to be peppering marketing copy until we're all convinced we need Ultra HD.
Still, there's a cloud of sorts hanging above CES in 2013. More and more of the big names are bypassing enormous, communal trade shows for their flagship announcements, with firms like Samsung and others instead preferring to hold independent launches where they can be guaranteed everyone's full attention. Just as Apple decided with MacWorld, sometimes it's best to set your own launch timescales rather than fitting into somebody else's keynote schedule.
Nonetheless, there's more to an electronics range than a single product, and even those firms pulling their punches until they can have the whole spotlight will still have plenty more to show to bulk out the rest of their 2013 line-up. CES always features big TVs, and - although they still haven't quite convinced everyone that 3D is a mandatory upgrade - the major news will be Ultra HD, with four-times the resolution of Full HD (and price tags to match).
That's not to say eye-catching screens will be the only news. Mobile is a huge growth area, and while cellphone-specific events like CTIA and Mobile World Congress appear later on the calendar, CES should have its fair share of smartphones and tablets. Android continues to be the go-to OS for most OEMs hoping to take on the iPad - and our sibling-site, Android Community, will be sifting through the best candidates - while Android on phones has already conquered the top spot by sales, even if not every manufacturer is shining.
Samsung will likely save its Galaxy S 4 thunder until a standalone event later in the year, but ambitious upstarts like ZTE and Huawei are likely to come out of the gate at full steam, hoping to grab a slice of the lucrative US mobile pie. Expect a fair share of celebrity endorsements - however tenuous - as firms attempt to convince us.
In computing, meanwhile, Windows 8 will be the biggest news, as companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others show off their newest models. As ever, innovative designs like folding/flipping tablets and racing-fast performance PCs will earn the most column-inches, while the more mainstream notebooks and desktops go on to be the better sellers.
Here at SlashGear, we'll be wading through the almighty gush of announcements (that in fact started several weeks back) to pick out the news you really need to know about, take the temperature of the year in tech, and figure out whether Snooki really knows her USB 3.0 from her Thunderbolt. You can find all our show coverage at our CES hub - slashgear.com/ces - and follow along with the team at Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. It's an exciting week ahead!