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This week, Las Vegas is home to the Next Big Thing. How big is Big? That's what my Motley Fool Rule Breakers teammate Karl Thiel and I aim to find out. We're here at the annual Consumer Electronics Show to visit some of the biggest names in TVs, cameras, chips, computers, games, and gadgets.
Last night, we got a preview of this four-day event that will end Sunday. Over a dinner of eggs, toast, salsa, and sausage -- it's not Vegas if you can't have breakfast for dinner, right? -- we batted around ideas and made our predictions. Here's what we think:
- Investors believe Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg will tease a new iPhone for his company's network when he takes the stage tomorrow. We're not buying it. This is Android's show, and Verizon will play along. Even the bookies think so: Online oddsmaker Bookmaker.com places the chances of Seidenberg surprising the audience with iPhone news at 25%.
- Seven-inch tablets will continue to dominate in what many here are calling the "Year of the Tablet." Never mind that these comparatively small form factor tabs make the comparatively feature-light iPad look awesome. The possibility of Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) announcing a 10-inch Android tablet notwithstanding, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) investors probably won't have much to fear coming out of this week.
- Karl expects we'll finally hear good reasons for connected appliances. Among the possibilities: energy management. Who cares what the fridge knows about the milk? How about helping us cut the power bill? General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , which is showing a line of smart appliances, may have some answers.
- And I'm holding out zero hope for interactive TV. For now, anyway. We've already seen bright screens from Samsung and others, but better displays aren't what matter. What I really want is a system that allows for real on-demand delivery of the media of my choosing -- over the network, from my library of owned movies, etc. -- to any screen in the house. Early indications say this sort of breakthrough is still likely to be years away. (Though what we saw from Boxee at last night's preview event shows promise.)
So those are our predictions. What are yours? What do you expect to see from the Consumer Electronics Show this year? Use the comments box below to let us know what you think, and be sure to check back here daily as we report on each of these themes and other stories as they emerge.
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