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CES 2013 preview: What's ahead for smart phones

CES 2013 preview: What’s ahead for smart phones

At the 2013 CES, we should see the evolution of smart-phone trends we’ve been witnessing in 2012. First, with the Samsung Note II making such a hit this year, we expect to see more models with pocket-busting 5-plus-inch screens. Are they phones, or are they moving into the tablet realm?

Look for more progress in wireless technologies for phones. Among the innovations will be an Intel technology due to hit computers in the spring: the ability to use your laptop to wirelessly charge your phone, by laying the phone next to the laptop.

Also new in wireless: Samsung, Sony, and others are putting their phones’ short-range radios (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC, or near-field communication) to help you share content with the person standing next to you. Samsung leads the way by letting you share videos, pics and other large files with other other phones by just bumping them together or linking them over Wi-Fi. The latest trick: New phones from Nokia and Sony let you stream music on the phone wirelessly to new speaker systems by just tapping them.

Finally, this may be the year phones make a serious attempt to replace your wallet, leveraging their built-in wireless connections, sharp displays, location-based services, and computer smarts to bring you more of what you want, when you want it. NFC, which is already installed in all new Android and Windows Phone devices, will permit users to pay at the register by bumping their phones against it.

Meanwhile phones without NFC, including all Apple iPhones, will use their high-resolution cameras to scan bar codes, QR codes, and more to capture and store discount coupons, which can be presented at the store register on their high-resolution screens.

Check back for all our CES coverage: previews, show news, and wrap-ups.

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