What to expect from CES 2017 next week, including from Microsoft and its partners

Laurent Giret

While 2016 is coming to a close, you can count on CES 2017 to once again kick off the year with a massive show featuring the latest products and technologies that will shape the future. The annual trade show is coming back to Las Vegas on January 5 through January 8, 2017, though you can expect some pre-show announcements to be made before the beginning of the event.

As usual, CES will bring us pretty big news on a variety of products including computers, phones, cars, TVs, VR and IoT and we’ll do our best to cover the most interesting innovations during the event. While Microsoft will be an exhibitor this year, we expect the company to let its partners grab the spotlight and a few of them including Lenovo already announced new products this week. And if we think that new phones will dominate CES 2017, we believe that PCs will likely outshine mobile products as Mobile World Congress will be less than two months away.

However, 5G is expected to be a big deal during the trade show. On January 5, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf will hold one of the first big keynotes at 9AM to discuss how the new cellular standard will improve connectivity options on existing product categories as well as new IoT products. This could also bring some exciting news for those of you who remember that Microsoft recently partnered with Qualcomm to bring full Windows 10 to ARM devices. Later this year, we may see a first wave of “cellular PCs” that are cheaper and slimmer than those using Intel processors, though it may well be too early for the Qualcomm CEO to share more details about these new products.

We may also hear a lot about connected cars, a market that Microsoft is exploring through technology partnerships with Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Renault-Nissan. Actually, Nissan Motor Corporation head Carlos Ghosn will also deliver a keynote on January 5 at 4PM, and we’ll see if the exec will share more about the company’s work with Microsoft on next-generation connected car technologies and driving experiences.

Lastly, virtual reality is expected to be another big topic during CES. VR is still a nascent technology and current headsets, including Microsoft’s own HoloLens are still really expensive. Microsoft also announced this year that it had teamed up with HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Dell, and Acer to launch new mixed reality headsets with a $299 starting price, and CES would be the perfect time to introduce them alongside new VR-ready PCs.

Lastly, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang is set to give the introducing keynote on January 4 at 6:30PM, and the company said in a blog post that the exec will discuss “artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, virtual reality, and gaming.” That seems to perfectly sum up what we’re looking forward to seeing during the trade show.

As always, On MSFT will be covering all the major announcements at CES, so stay tuned to our CES 2017 hub.