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The electronics industry just wrapped another CES, where the latest innovations in televisions, wearable tech, and mobile computing were out in full force.

What can digital marketers infer about the future media landscape from the hardware giants and new startup entrants in consumer hardware manufacturing?

Here are five trends and thoughts on why they are worth following.

1. Bendable displays

Samsung introduced new technology that allows for a screen to be folded and stored away. Imagine a tablet that can fold in on itself and fit in your pocket, but beyond that, think about the ramifications of this in the category of “wearable tech” and what it will mean for online ads.

As Jon Swartz pointed out:

In a few years, bendable displays will be everywhere, adorning coffee mugs, newspapers, car dashboards and sunroofs, white boards, backpacks, refrigerators — you name it.

As far as the VERY near future, an immediate low-cost application (due to its smaller size) that marketers may be interested in pontificating over is a loyalty card that can update its small flexible screen on the fly with online offers.      

2. TVs remain the dominant living room force  

The industry seems to be agreeing that 3D was a bit of a miss when it comes to widespread consumer adoption, so the trend across all television manufacturers this year seems to be all about upping the pixel count and making the entire package (the larger the better) as striking a design as possible.  

The writers at Engadget were so taken by the design of Samsung’s 85-inch S9 UHD TV that they named it one of the best announcements in show.  

Takeaway for marketers: device fragmentation may alter the media landscape, but the family living room and its love affair with the good old television is not going anywhere.    

3. Tap to connect NFC  

FitBit is a hardware startup (one of many exhibiting this year apparently) that makes wearable tech to help you reach fitness goals in conjunction with a smartphone.

Its CES product Flex, which is a band that give you stats and helps motivate you through data it reads in your smartphone’s accelerometer, is built with the ability to tap once to pair it with the Android app via NFC.  

Take this simple solution for pairing, and apply it so SoLoMo marketing  and the bendable displays mentioned above, and we’re really getting onto the next thing in mobile/social marketing.  

Sony also went big with NFC, unveiling a smartphone and two streaming products with “one-touch technology” and calling it: “the easiest and fastest way to wirelessly connect and enjoy music, photos and videos from a smartphone".    

4 Branded content impacting tech journalism  

Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein recently said of brands entering owned media in his 2013 marketing trends predictions:

There are considerable implications of the increased investment in owned media. In particular, where ‘brands’ are investing in content instead of advertising.

Through a snafu at CNET (corporate owned by CBS) where a competitor’s product was initially listed for a Best in Show award, only to be removed, we saw some of what the future of tech reporting will look like as a result of such investments. Interesting.

5. Mobile goes beyond the third screen  

Mobile is the hottest thing on everyone’s list right now, whether you are a startup, marketing agency, or small business.

As Ashley also pointed out in his aforementioned trends piece, “there are still opportunities to get real engagement and long term loyalty if you deliver a great app that serves a particular need.”.  

Looks as though eBay agrees, based off their pre-CES announcement of reorganising the mobile group.  

Only further solidifying the importance of the tablet and smartphone in today’s always on culture, much of the excitement around mobile announcements had less to do with new hardware (Sony announced new smartphone models, but most manufacturers appear to be waiting on Mobile World Congress) and more to do with what you can now control via your smartphone.  

This includes practical applications you can do today, like using your smartphone as an untethered viewfinder for a video camera to the not-so-practical and therefore most likely only good for the PR stunt Audi pulled off: having someone summon a driverless car from the convention’s garage to them around the front with their smartphone.  

What trends and takeaways in consumer electronics have you all excited as marketers?

Ryan Sommer

Published 14 January, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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