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The Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner: the Las Vegas expo in early January sets the tech trends for the year to come, but looking beyond the big names, we’re taking a look right now at the technologies they’ll be using. What new ideas and kit will revolutionise your next purchases? Find out in our guide right here.

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Screens you can actually see in daylight
So right now, if you want a gadget with a screen that’s perfectly visible in daylight, you need an eInk e-reader. That’s your only option, and it’s not practical. But 2011 will be the year when we start getting display options for gizmos typical stuck with LCD panels which re all but invisible in the sunshine. Mirasol will start rolling out its first non backlit beauties, while Pixel Qi should unveil its latest backlit toggling stunner at CES. Watch this space. In the light.

Dual core phones
1GHz, single core processors in phones are fast, but you know what? They’re not fast enough anymore. ARM and its licensees, like Qualcomm and Samsung, will be pushing dual core processors with even better performance and multitasking prowess in 2011. The first dual core phone, the LG Optimus 2X, has already been announced, but expect to see a load more unveiled at CES in January, and Mobile World Congress in February.

Autostereoscopic screens
Hard to pronounce, but simple to use, autostereoscopic screens create an impression of depth (3D) in images without the need for silly looking specs. Sharp has been ploughing ahead with the tech this year, and it’s going to make a big bang in 2011 with the Nintendo 3DS games handheld, while Toshiba is pushing ahead with it for TVs too,.

Light Peak
Light Peak ports will one day be as commonplace in gadgets as USB slots are now: it’s Intel’s new tech that uses optical cables to sling data at disgustingly fast speeds (10GBps at launch), so you won’t ever have to wait around copying whole photo albums and HD video downloads. The first shipping products with it in are expected some time next year, and rumours are swirling that Apple is set to be a key player in it. 2011 Light Peak MacBooks? It could happen.

NFC
Near Field Communication technology is already here – if you’ve been to London, it’s what powers the contactless Oyster travelcard payment system. But it’s integrated into the latest version of Android, 2.3, and the first phone running it, the Google Nexus S – and Apple was looking to hire an NFC engineer over the Summer. fancy using your iPhone 5 to buy a sardine or jump on the train? NFC in phones could just be the tipping point to make it mainstream.

1080p mobile recording
High def video recording has fast become the new bare minimum for new smartphones, but until now, it’s all been capped at 720p resolution. With the onset of dual core CPUs, we’ll soon start to see mobiles capable of filming in smooth 1080p for the full HD experience when watched back on your flatscreen TV. Yup, that LG Optimus 2X is packing it, and it’s going to be a trendsetter.

4G LTE
Long Term Evolution tech is something you’re going to be a hearing a lot about next year, though you might not be able to sample it in the UK. It’s been dubbed 4G, and it’s a whole lot faster for getting your gadgets on the internet wherever you re than the 3G: we’re talking up to 12Mbps at first in real world use. Verizon, the largest US mobile operator, is turning its LTE network on this month, and the first phones with LTE inside will be out next year. UK networks are toying with it right now: fingers crossed next year they announce rollout plans.

Wi-Fi Direct
You know how everyone used to use Bluetooth back in the day, but got bored because it was so slow? Wi-Fi Direct is a new standard you’ll start to see merging in new gadgets next year that does the same gadget to gadget data transfer at a much faster clip, without a router. Even better, only one of the Wi-Fi connected devices has to be Wi-Fi Direct enabled – the other can simply be your existing phone, laptop or whatnot. The first devices are being certified right now, but expect to hear more about it in 2011.

Embedded SIMs
Right now, the only devices with SIM cards in for hopping online anywhere are mobiles, mobile dongles, and the odd laptop, tablet and satnav. But what if every gadget we buy had an internet connection? That’s the premise behind embedded SIMs, which would get everything from iPods to fridges online. You wouldn’t have to fiddle around with SIM slots on them either, as they could all be activated remotely. The GSMA, the organisation behind mobile standards for most of the world, says the first devices will hit in 2012, but you can expect to see the first demoes and announcements next year.

Thin clients
The concept of a thin client: where the device is just a receptacle for software and an operating system elsewhere, and is almost disposable, has been around for decades. But 2011 could be the year it goes mainstream. Google’s first Chrome OS laptops go on sale next year, bundled with a data connection, so that the browser becomes the entire computer. They can be wiped from afar if lost, and you can switch machines just by logging in since everything is a web app.

You won’t just be seeing this in desktops, but mobiles too: mobile virtualization, where you run a virtual image of an OS on top of the phone’s hardware, will break down the barriers between work and personal phones. You’ll be able to use whatever smartphone you like, and IT can control the virtual OS on it from 9-5, then you’ll be able to switch back to your OS of choice when you knock off.

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