Options Trading News

January 6, 2014  Mon 8:42 AM CT

The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off today in Las Vegas, but several themes are already emerging in the tech space.

For decades CES has been the launching pad for everything from VCRs and CDs to game consoles and flat-screen TVs. But this year we might see more technologies that are woven into our everyday existence, not just entertainment.

I expect there to be lots of buzz about "smart kitchens" that go beyond turning off or on ovens with your smart phone, for example. Look for bar-code readings of products in refrigerators that can sense what you are getting low on and microwaves that can read packages so that they know how long to cook automatically.

In addition to driving themselves, autos will become Internet hot spots that can take advantage of Pandora and other content-streaming services. Vehicles will also be able to communicate to manufacturers about how well the cars are performing and whether they need an upgrade or a recall.

Wearable tech should bring some focus on Apple, Samsung, and Nike, as well as the companies that provide the technology inside these devices. Qualcomm, Broadcom, Marvell Technologies, and even IBM could get some traction here.

From a macro perspective, an estimated $1.06 trillion will be spent on global technology in 2014, down about 1 percent from 2013. Emerging markets will make up 50 percent of that spending.

Mobile devices will continue to dominate the consumer front, with smart phones and tablets making up make up 43 percent of that market this year. About 40 percent of last year's tablet sales came from the United States, but that share will decline to just 33 percent in 2014 as emerging Asia takes over 40 percent.

Analysts expect 1.24 billion units of smart phones will be sold this year. An estimated 70 percent of that volume will be driven by emerging markets, up from 52 percent in 2013. Pricing for those phones will slip from $345 in 2013 to $297 in 2014.
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