CES 2015 and 3 of the magnificent 7

First session at CES has lots of numbers of varying interest and the obligatory (?) Yul Brynner reference.

Steve Koenig, Director, Industry Analysis at CEA split the global consumer technology market into two main areas: Mature, including the US, Asia Pacific and Europe; and Developing, pretty much the rest.

The thrust of this session was the popularity of our ever-more loved/invasive devices and CEA's predictions for 2015 usage. Unsurprisingly smartphones are still the main driver, described by Koenig as the leader (Yul) of the Magnificent seven: Digital cameras, desktop PCs, tablets, laptops, video game consoles and LCD TVs. Not sure which one is Charles Bronson, as he seemed to prefer a different sort of hardware...

One interesting question was posed in passing:  Will hardware battles soon be a thing of past with as cloud delivery takes hold?

The Three screens

The three screen motif refers to smartphones, tablets and TVs. The first two will have a 46 per cent share of the tech market this year. Indeed they've been rapidly ballooning (as am I in Vegas) for a while now. Will that continue? 

Yul Bryner will move around 1.5 billion units this year, a 19 percent growth rate - slowing down but huge. New low cost handsets coming in 2015 will see 75 per cent of that, mostly in developing markets. More than a third of that in China alone. 

This growth of low cost handsets is also happening in developed areas, so CEA expect average handset prices to be going under $300 this year.

The likes of Oneplus, coolpad and xiaomi are pressurising Apple and Samsung in China. But these companies have global aspirations too. The Mi5 handset for example is not just low cost but well featured.

Tablet (Steve McQueen?) unit sales are predicted to hit 337 million this year, again a slight taper in growth. Like smartphones a lot of lower cost models are coming in. Koenig referred to this as Maturation and modification: a number of players, a number of form factors, screen sizes making tablets, phablets, phone and laptop forms mutate. Average price will decline to $260 this year. 

TV (surely Robert Vaughan) used to be called the small screen, but that doesn't work now does it? The TV market has returned to growth: 2 per cent for 2015. The average screen size for 2015 will be a not inconsiderable 43 inches. 60 inch plus LCDs are getting larger shares too. (Apparently 60 is the new 50!)

4k ultra HD will see a 150 percent unit increase for 2015 to 23.3 million, with China dominating demand. Existing 1080p will be good for consumers because they'll get...cheaper, cheapish, cheap (relatively)!

Connected TV will grow, quelle surprise! 60 percent of TVs will be connected devices in US, for example, during 2015. What of the curved screen? At present the numbers are tiny: barely 1 per cent of the market. 

Koenig closed his talk with some comments on how tech spending is influenced by geopolitical aspects, pointing to growth in China and India and some improvement in Brazil post the world cup. Indonesia, the Philippines and Africa were mentioned as small markets with potential. As ever it is a mixed picture: Japan is trying to stave off recession, Ukraine has obvious issues, the US has concerns with republicans controlling congress, reportedly not taking the stability of their economy for granted.

Already it's clear what some of the trends of CES 2015 will be: smart watches, health and fitness tech, new automotive tech. I've already seen more health related apps and devices than I can take in - with the internet of things being used as a marketing term in dubious context as well....stay tuned. 

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Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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