Engadget's CES 2013 Preview: Household

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Engadget's CES 2013 Preview: Household

With CES looming like an electrically charged storm of news and announcements, it's time for us to give you our best bets on what you'll see come January. During the month of December, we'll bring you a series of CES preview posts, forecasting what you can expect when the news deluge begins. For more of what's to come, check out our hub.

Last year, we saw the likes of Motorola, LG and Samsung continue to demonstrate their technical skills on washing machines, fridges, home automation and even cars. While some Engadget editors struggled to see even half the appeal of those WiFi-connected washing machines at CES 2012, Motorola's Connected Home gateway showed a realistic vision of how a wireless home should work, with its gateway router tying your Android devices to your thermostat, security system and lighting. However, we haven't heard much since January from Motorola when it comes to its household system, so it wouldn't surprise us if the Google-owned manufacturer has a refreshed, possibly deeper system to show us this time. But what else will the middle of Nevada have to offer the forward-looking homemaker in the next year? We have more ideas after the break.

Given that the Qi wireless charging standard is now arriving on two of this year's biggest smartphones, we hope that all those wire-shirking companies will have plenty of new lightweight, innovative and subtle ways to charge our new slabs. Getting rid of an awkward charging case is a good start, but we'd love to see contact charging surfaces stylishly massaged into our household surfaces and furnishings.

On a similar aesthetic premise, Nest's presence in the staid thermostat business (and its induction into Apple stores) should mean we'll see others improve their efforts in a largely untapped market -- getting rid of those awkward monochrome LCD control panels lingering on our walls. It's a good bet, however, that the smartphone (or tablet) will continue to replace "unnecessary" interfaces and buttons cluttering up your home, whether that's through a WiFi-connected TV remote, on-screen home energy management, shopping list reminders through a hooked-up refrigerator or possibly even a dishwasher with remote activation.

But can we expect something completely new? There's a good chance that Samsung or LG could offer some wallet-breaking additions to their catalogs (think a clothes-refreshing wardrobe, digital blinds or maybe even a connected wine cellar) but it's always tough to pin down exactly what will appear next. Regardless, we'll be there to scope out any outlandish additions when we descend on Nevada in a few weeks.

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