The Consumers Electronics Show continues to be a huge draw for large technology companies. Based in Las Vegas, the show known as CES has given the world the public introduction of such iconic devices as the VCR (1970), Camcorder (1981) and XBOX (2001). This year, the fest will have over 15 major themes that capture the latest trends in technology. Among them are: 3D printing, fitnesstech, driverless cars, digital health, and wrist revolution.
3D Systems (DDD)
One of the hottest areas of the CES will no doubt be the 3D printing tech zone. The area of CES is sold out and continues to add floor space due to increased demand. 3D Systems will also be one of the busiest companies at the event with a planned launch of over 12 new products. The company issued the following press release:
"We are bringing to CES 2014 the most powerful set of consumer 3D printing products, tools, platforms and solutions available today for the benefit of major brands, retailers and users. The exponential performance gains we are delivering together with new categories such as edibles and ceramics, coupled with performance materials, full color printing and new physical photography devices, positions our 3D Printing 2.0 at the heart of the emerging opportunity."
As you can see from that quote, 3D Systems plans on launching details on its three new categories of: edibles, ceramics, and photography. The company will also unveil a b2bc powerful merchandising and licensing platform. The photography launch will include at home and in-store physical photography products and services.
3D Systems continues to acquire small printing companies to become the market leader in every aspect. The company's latest acquisition was Gentle Giant. Gentle Giant makes 3D products for motion pictures and also through licenses makes high-end toys for collectors. Its key partnerships include Star Wars, The Walking Dead, The Hobbit, and Marvel. 3D Systems plans on leveraging the library of digital content into its consumer platform. This acquisition follows the company's latest move to strengthen 3D with a buyout of Xerox's (XRX) R&D group for $32.5 million. The acquisition of the leader in solid ink will strengthen 3D System's ProJet 4500 launch, which has been called the only "continuous tone, full-color plastic 3D printer on the market."
The 3D printing market continues to be huge and saw wide swings of the share prices of several companies. A strong CES from 3D could boost shares over the $100 mark and send them on a wild ride in 2014. Back at the 2013 CES, 3D Systems was nominated for several awards for its CubeX printer. This company could be a huge winner from the event.
It's weird to see Ford on this list, since it is not an auto show. While there will be plenty of talk about driverless car technology, Ford may steal the show with its concept car called the C-Max Solar Energi Concept.
The solar powered car comes from a partnership between Ford, Sun Power Corporation (SPWR), and Georgia Institute of Technology. Ford has been a partner with Sun Power since 2011, and that company could have a lot to gain if this car makes it to the market. The concept car runs primarily on solar power, using solar panels on the roof. Ford's car has a concentrator that acts as a magnifying glass. The car reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by four metric tons for the typical owner. Of course, the car is just a concept and may never make it to the market, however if it can prove successful it could be a game changer.
The new solar car would continue the success of Ford's strong electrical vehicle market. The current C-Max Energi plug-in averages 100 miles per gallon. In 2013, Ford sold 85,000 hybrids, plug-ins, and all electric vehicles. In fact, Ford sold more plug-in vehicles in October and November than both Tesla and Toyota.
Ford continues to outperform expectations through technology. In December, vehicle sales were up 14%, led by an increase in three main segments of cars (+12%), trucks (+17%) and utilities (+13%). Fusion sales were up 27% with a record month of December. The F-series truck saw sales of 70,000, marking the ninth straight month of 60,000 or more in sales. The truck is the best-selling truck of the last 37 years.
LG Display (LPL)
LG has a lot to win from the CES 2014 with several new devices being shown. LG may show off its already popular G Flex Phone, which bends when pressure is applied. The device is for sale in Korea, but has not release date in the United States, United Kingdom, or other regions. A follow-up device that could bend up to 90 degrees is also a possibility at the annual event, but it is less likely.
Other devices that will be shown by LG include desktop monitors that have 2K or 4K display, 105 inch curved HD TVs, and Chrombase, an all-in-one business focused operating system. Other rumors of flexible OLED TVs are also possible.
Shares of LG were down 19% in 2013 and remain well down from the $20 range they hit only three years ago. The company continues to see demand for OLED devices from customers, including Apple. In 2014, LG is expected to post earnings per share of $1.02, giving shares a price to earnings at around 11.
Samsung figures to be a big winner from CES 2014 and the calendar year with the introduction and launch of several new products.
Here are several of the rumors for new devices from Samsung:
· Galaxy S5 phone, rumored to feature a 64bit chip, all metal body, 16 mp camera, and 2K display
· Foldable phone to tablet
Aside from the rumors Samsung will introduce its latest Ultra HD televisions, which are curved and feature 11 million pixels and considered "the world's most curved TV". Perhaps one of the biggest future growth drivers could be the Samsung Smart Home technology, which will be introduced at the CES 2014.
Samsung Smart Home will allow consumers to manage all their applications and devices, including phones, tablets, watches, and even washing machines. The device could compete with Nest and other players in the smart home technology. I look forward to hearing details on this technology in particular, as there remains a huge addressable market.
One huge possibility for Sony at CES 2014 will be the introduction of its virtual reality device for the Playstation4. This device, which would rival and compete with Oculus Rift, could set the already cheaper next generation console apart from Microsoft's (MSFT) XBOX One. With a targeted launch of this device in 2014, Sony will want to introduce the product soon and needs a big stage to do it on.
Sony also figures to be involved in the launch of new televisions and phones. The giant technology company saw it shares increase 50% during 2013. Despite this increase, shares currently sit in the middle of their last fifty two week range. A couple new products at the CES 2014 could generate enough news to pump shares back up over $20.
Synchronoss Technologies (SNCR)
The smallest company on this list could become the biggest winner from the 2014 CES. Synchronoss is one of the up and comers in the cloud field and could finally hit the ground running this week. The cloud company will present news on its three platforms: Synchronoss Business Cloud, Synchronoss Personal Cloud, and Synchronoss Integrated Life. The Business Cloud unit will be launched and demo'd during an invitation only event on Tuesday.
In the third quarter, revenue increased 30% to $90.3 million. Earnings per share also increased to $0.34, from $0.28. Cloud services increased 55% to $26.9 million. Activation services increased 22% to $63.4 million. Cloud services made up only 30% of total company revenue. I believe that in the next couple of years these numbers will flip, as cloud sales will make up over 50% of revenue.
In December, Synchronoss announced it had reached the 10 million customer milestone for personal cloud subscribers. The company continues to see strong user growth as it becomes a leader in backing up personal contacts and SMS on phones. The company will launch the business cloud software in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 with Vodafone being the first major customer. This new cloud technology will greatly expand the potential user base as it combines personal and business as two addressable markets for Synchronoss.
Shares of Synchronoss trade at $30 and sit in the middle of their 52 week range. In fiscal 2014, analysts see the company posting earnings per share of $1.64, giving shares a price to earnings ratio of 18. This seems incredibly cheap for a company that is growing revenue at 20%. Revenue is expected to increase 20.5% in 2014. This to me could be one of the companies to watch for 2014.