Number-two PC manufacturer HP isn't exhibiting at CES at all, but the company could take advantage of the show's timing to announce a new product or two. Dell, now a private company, has booked two meeting rooms at the Venetian, but it won't have a booth on the show floor. That tells me the company won't be doing much in the way of grand unveilings. Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba will be quite visible at the show, but PCs are a relatively small part of their tech portfolios.
One thing we will certainly see is a number of new PCs designed to run Valve's Steam OS. The Steam Machine concept is designed to compete with video-game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4. Like those devices, a Steambox will connect directly to your TV, and it will come with a wireless gamepad instead of a mouse and keyboard.
Demo kits are already in the hands of beta testers, but Valve won't be selling machines at retail. It will rely on third-party partners instead, and companies such as iBuyPower and Digital Storm have already teased their versions.
Amazon recently announced that two of its top-selling notebooks in 2013 were Chromebooks, so we could see some new models at CES. Acer, Dell, HP, and Samsung already have models in that space. Lenovo does, too, but it sells its Chromebooks only to schools right now. We spotted a Toshiba Chromebook at IDF in September 2013 -- however, the device was never officially announced as a product destined for the U.S. market. Considering the gathering Chromebook momentum, such an announcement could very well happen at CES.
Manufacturers of components and products that work with PCs aren't bound by the same sales and marketing constraints that limit PC builders. So I expect to see a number of announcements that aren't big enough to catch the attention of the mainstream media, but that are interesting nonetheless.
There will likely be a number of 4K-resolution monitors at the show, for instance, and both of the two major GPU builders -- AMD and Nvidia -- have announced press conferences. Also, with the "Internet of things" trend in full flower, I expect we'll see a lot of networking and home-automation products announced at the show.
The companies that didn't fare so well in our recent 802.11ac router roundup have had time to go back to the drawing board, and they may have several new routers and Wi-Fi adapters to talk about next week.
For more on the new products and trends we expect to see, don't the CES 2014 predictions by our own Philip Michaels.