CES 2011 Preview: Tablets, 4G, dual-core

The beginning of a new year means a lot of things: shameful recollections of your New Year’s Eve party, resolutions that never really panned out in the last year, and, of course, the largest consumer electronics show of the year. With CES Las Vegas 2011 kicking off in just a few short days, the IntoMobile team will soon be joining more than 100,000 people and numerous companies at the gorilla-sized tech conference this year. We’ll be braving the crowds, living on booze and appetizers, and soldiering on with little to no sleep for a week to give you the latest up-to-the-minute coverage from Las Vegas.

So, we’re sure you’re all wondering what to forward to at CES 2011. Well, there are going to be a countless number of cool gadgets and apps but we’re expecting tablets, 4G and dual-core smartphones to steal the show. Read on for our CES 2011 Preview.

The real iPad competitors stand up

Motorola Xoom Android Honeycomb tablet unveiled at CES

With all due respect to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Apple iPad dominated the tablet space in 2010. CES should be the first time where we see multiple credible contenders to the iPad.

Motorola is teasing an Android Honeycomb tablet that will likely be the most-talked about device. This is expected to rock a Tegra 2 processor, a 7 or 10-inch screen, WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, internal storage and the ability to expand that with a microSD slot. The Honeycomb operating system should also be exciting because this is the first version of Android that has been specifically optimized for tablets.

We’ve seen a bit of Honeycomb before, as Google’s Andy Rubin said this will make apps easier to handle on a larger screen. We’re also expecting this to add numerous improvements and maybe the ability to add apps from the web.

This could be called the Xoom but reports suggest it won’t support Verizon’s 4G LTE network out of the box. While that’s disappointing to some, it should still be quite a wonderful piece of hardware.

It’s not just Motorola though, as we should see multiple tablets chock full of features. Research In Motion will actually have a booth this year and it will be showing off its PlayBook tablet with a dual-core processor, multiple cameras and a new OS from QNX. I wouldn’t be surprised to see RIM finally give a release date and price for its highly-anticipated tablet at CES.

Android tablets should be out in force too, as we should see devices from Acer, Asus, MSI and maybe LG will show off its Optimus Pad. Reports also suggest the Galaxy Tab 2 may make an appearance but we think it’s way too early to see that (Samsung may surprise us, though).

It’s not just Android though, as Palm used CES 2009 to introduce the Pre and it legitimately excited many. While that didn’t end well, an HP-backed Palm could use this CES to show off the PalmPad.

After a somewhat embarrassing tablet showing at CES 2010, Microsoft may gear up for another stab at the market that it’s been trying to push for a decade. Rumors suggest that Microsoft will unveil a version of Windows for ARM processors and this could lead to devices with a touch-based version of Windows for highly mobile, low-powered devices like tablets. We’re not holding expecting much out of Microsoft on the tablet front but the software giant knows that this will be a big market in the future and it has to do something.

The tablet excitement will likely continue until the end of January, as Apple will likely show off its iPad 2 at a separate event. Let’s see if these CES devices can keep pace.

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