It's not long now until the top brands and minds of the tech world descend on Las Vegas to take part in CES 2013, the annual Consumer Electronics Show where products are showcased, press conferences are held and lots of fun takes place in Sin City.
Usually there are hundreds of rumours flying around about the gadgets that are set to be unveiled and leaked photos of what to expect, but we can't help but feel this year is set to be a little bit quieter, especially considering some of the biggest names in tech won't even be there.
However, that doesn't mean we still won't see some innovative new ideas, unexpected announcements and most importantly game-changing technology, so here's our pick of 10 things that'll have everyone talking next week.
1. Smarter wearable technology
Over the past year we've seen an abundance of wearable technology hitting the global markets, particularly in the health and fitness arenas, and we don't doubt there'll be plenty more this time round. However, much of what we've seen this year has been a bit bulky and might be packing great tech inside, but often looks and feels a bit cumbersome to wear day in and day out. At CES this year we're expecting advanced tech with wearable hardware, which will combine to create products to really shake up the health and fitness industries. Remember the Shine gadget from earlier in the year? We want to see more products like that.
2. Health and fitness gadgets, apps and services boom
We were on the floor at CES last year and were blown away by the stands - and most of an entire hall - dedicated to health and fitness tech. Given the huge explosion in mobile health apps, gadgets, accessories and integrated services as well as the impressive adoption rate of them all across the globe, we expect there'll be plenty of exciting news this year too. We'd like to see some great gadgets to compete with the likes of Basis, Fitbit and Nike+, but we're also expecting some interesting new concepts too, like the Lumoback.
Samsung has really dominated the pre-CES chatter this year and we already know about the flexible display it'll be showcasing and looking to include on future devices. However, we also expect flexibility to be a key trend or at least a conversation topic for future advances not only in smartphones, but in wearable tech, mobile health and even home appliances.
4. Bye bye Microsoft
Two of the biggest players of previous years, Microsoft and HP, won't be attending CES this time round, which has lead many to suggest it'll be a much quieter affair, others to suggest it'll leave room for smaller start-ups and the rest to suggest it's just a silly move.
5. Connected home technology
For years tech events have showcased products and apps and quirky services that are designed to have your home running more efficiently, maybe you can tweet for your bath to fill up or send stats to your scales. However, up until now everything's been a bit gimmicky, but with the recent popularity of mobile health tech advances, new lines of NFC appliances and super smart wi-fi lightbulbs, we expect everything to be much more usable and useful than ever before.
6. Gesture computing
We already know Tobii will be showing off its latest eye controlled technology, but we expect to see advanced gesture technology too from both specialist companies and integrated into the products of some of the biggest names.
7. Cool automotive electronics
It looks like at CES this year we'll see more automative brands showing off their latest products and features than ever, with the likes of Audi, Ford, Kia and Subaru all heading over to Vegas. We'll obviously see a lot of interesting and advanced tech, but can expect our other gadgets and tech services to integrate into the way our cars work too, whether it be the applications we use across lots of devices or our mobile phones.
8. A better kind of HD
Just when you thought our screens couldn't get sharper and brighter with even more definition, we bet we'll see TVs, laptops and mobile phones with an even more eye popping definition of um... high definition.
9. Phone/tablet hybrids
It seems the line between phone and tablet is becoming increasingly blurred and the popularity of huge phones, like Samsung's Galaxy Note, mean it's certainly not the flash in the pan trend many were expecting, so we're betting on seeing a few more devices this year that straddle the line.
10. Video on demand services
There are rumours that Samsung's planning on launching an entertainment experience - in fact there are rumours that Samsung's launching pretty much EVERYTHING this year - but even if they don't ring true next week, the popularity of on demand and streaming services means it's bound to play an important role in this year's show.