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Fast Charge: Is CES 2022 going to be big for smartphone releases?

OPINION: CES 2022 is now mere days away, and what better way to nurse that sore head than gorge on some of our tasty mobile predictions for the huge tech show.

CES (or the Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual convention that takes place in and amongst the hotels, casinos and high-rises of Las Vegas. After a year of virtual conferences in 2021, the show is back in its physical format for 2022 and we expect to see a whole host of tech unveiled.

Typically, CES is home to more conceptual tech than you might find at MWC in Barcelona or IFA in Berlin and in past years we’ve seen a heavy focus on TV advances. If there’s a big upcoming screen tech, there’s every likelihood it’ll get its grand unveiling at CES.

From what we’ve seen so far, CES 2022 could very well move its focus from televisions to computing. Nvidia, Dell and others are heavily rumoured to announce wares. But what about new smartphones?

CES is not known for smartphone releases and we wouldn’t expect too many new phones to get big releases at the show. There’s a number of reasons for this, ranging from most phone brands now preferring to go it alone and run their own shows to Mobile World Congress (usually the home to many phone launches) taking place just a month later. We have seen multiple phone launches at CES before, but these have mostly been mid-range options from the likes of LG.

OnePlus, for example, might have some minor presence at CES – previously it has used the show to unveil some concept devices – but it will likely not be the place where we see the OnePlus 10.

So, should smartphone fans shun the show completely? Well, not quite.

One of the biggest rumours heading into CES 2022 does in fact revolve around a phone launch, specifically the Galaxy S21 FE from Samsung. This is a follow-up to the very good Galaxy S20 FE and should sit as a more affordable alternative to the Galaxy S21.

We’ve been waiting for the S21 FE for what feels like an age. Original rumours pegged a summer launch (similar to the original), but when that failed to materialise some even suggested the phone had been cancelled altogether due to the ongoing chip shortage.

A few months on though, and it’s clear that the device exists. There have been numerous leaks, ranging from talk of the price, a look at the user manual and many images. We’ve also got a very good idea of the specs: OLED display, two rear cameras, a Snapdragon 888 chipset and wireless charging.

The S21 FE certainly isn’t shaping up to be the most exciting phone around. Many of the current best mid-range phones match these specs, however Samsung churns out reliable devices and there’s every chance this will be a big seller.

Away from Samsung, Qualcomm will have a presence at CES 2022 so we’ll likely get more information about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset that’ll power the majority of 2022’s best phones. This was officially announced early in December, but aside from a China-only Motorola device, we haven’t seen a phone with it yet. TCL will be at the show too and there’s every chance we could see some budget and mid-range offerings from them.

There might be surprises at CES 2022 of course, and we’ll be bringing you all the news directly from Vegas so you won’t miss out.

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