[LIFE AND TECH]<br />
Whatâs Next in Tech for 2013?<br />

As one of the largest of its kind, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the premier technology showcases in the world. With over 3,000 exhibitors and an expected 150K+ attendees, this is the place to get a first glimpse of all the products that could end up being the “new hotness” in tech this year. And even though it’s being held in Las Vegas and I’m not going (insert sad face here), I’m still pretty excited about some of the offerings that could potentially hit the streets in 2013.

Self-Driving Cars: I’ve been waiting for something like this since I saw Will Smith in ‘I, Robot’. Toyota and Audi are set to debut prototypes for driverless vehicles, which use technology similar to what Google tested out last year. However, some additions include the ability for cars to communicate with each other wirelessly, or to communicate with infrastructure like stop signs and traffic lights. I know a lot of folks would rather trust their own instincts behind the wheel than those of a computer, but I for one can’t wait until I at least have the option of just sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Ultra HD Televisions: Another highly anticipated product set to debut this week is the Ultra HD TV. Said to have four times the resolution of a regular HDTV, the idea is to finally bring a true movie theater viewing experience into the home. Samsung will show the world’s largest Ultra HD television, measuring 85 inches on the diagonal. Personally, I just don’t think my eyes can tell the difference enough to justify the price of this technology, which will cost you somewhere in the area of $20,000. Maybe in a few years, when they go on sale at Walmart…

The Rise of the “Phablet”: If you’ve seen those Lebron James commercials, you know that the Samsung Galaxy Note is a ginormous phone/tablet hybrid (i.e., ‘phablet’) that has become increasingly popular over the last year. Sales are expected to hit 10 million units globally by the end of the first quarter of this year. People seem to be drawn to the 5.5-inch screen that gives you all of the functionality of a tablet while still being able to make phone calls. Size matters it seems and Huawei Technologies will debut a similar device with a 6.1-inch screen at the show this year. I’m a bit torn on this one. I have to admit that I’m completely in love with my iPad mini and its 7-inch screen, and using my iPhone now for anything other than talking feels like the strangest thing in the world. But I wonder if I could get used to holding something that size next to my head to make a phone call?

So that’s just a small taste of what’s coming up in tech this year! I’ll be covering lots more throughout 2013 along with the latest social media news as welll. I’d also love to know what you think; what gadgets are you excited about this year?

Follow tech life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.