It’s that time of year again–when the electronics megacorporations, the big box retailers, the Chinese wholesalers, the media companies and so many more descend on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Big splashers like Google and Apple are perennial no-shows, but it’s here where the trends in mainstream gadgets are solidified for the year. Click on for a guide to what to expect this week in our live coverage.

Tablets (Lots of Them):: The iPad’s runaway sales success means that everyone (everyone) is jumping into the tablet game. Expect to see numerous Android-powered slabs, as well as some (unfortunately) powered by Windows 7 joining the portable touchscreen ranks.

3-D: Last year’s CES was 3DTV’s first big push; this year we expect CES’s annual TV superlative contest to be the biggest 3-D-capable set. Glasses-less 3-D should also be an embryonic trendlet. It’s been a year in which early 3-D adopters had very little content to actually watch, and you can expect several announcements at this year’s show to change that.

Verizon LTE: Verizon’s beefy 4G LTE network was unveiled last month–expect to see plenty of phones and other gadgets to take advantage all that mobile bandwidth on display this week.

Smart, Connected TVs: TV makers have been attempting to cram internet capabilities into high-end sets for several years now, but activity in this area has heated up lately with Google TV’s high-profile (but as yet unproven) entry into the fray, along with a slew of connected set-top boxes from Apple, Boxee and others. Slow sales have cooled expectations for major Google TV announcements in Vegas, but you can safely bet we’ll hear about a few new ways your TV will be internet-capable (either on its own or with a little help from a box) this week.

Don’t Forget Cars: The automotive space has become increasingly important here at CES in recent years (with Ford having a major annual presence). Expect this year to be no different, with the expected unveiling of the electric Ford Focus late in the week.

Stay tuned to and our CES-specific tag page ( for live updates all this week.

Further Reading For You CES-Priming Needs:

NYT: An Electronics Show That Big Media Companies Dare Not Miss

MSNBC: The juiciest gadget rumors of CES 2011

Gizmodo: Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Care About CES

Gizmodo: We’re Not Touching Windows 7 Tablets With a Ten-Foot Stylus

See the rest of PopSci’s live CES 2011 coverage [here