Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comments on the Consumer Electronics Show

140,000 people jammed this year's CES in Las Vegas. I'd never been before, so the scope was breathtaking. There had to be fifty football fields of exhibition space. It was easy to get lost. I'm told that some of the individual corporate exhibits cost $3-4 million to construct.

Overall, I will say that this was an incremental show. Everything was a little faster, a little bigger (or smaller), a little cheaper. There wasn't much I would describe as revolutionary, other than Looxcie, which I wrote about here.

General impressions:

  • Lots and lots of tablets - everyone wants a piece of the iPad market (50 million tabs will have been sold by the end of '11)
  • Cars, particularly Fords, are getting wired with all sorts of goodies
  • 3D TV is being pushed heavily, but consumer acceptance is questionable
  • Internet-enabled TV will be the standard within a couple of years, whether people want it or not
  • I heard dozens of languages, but the Asian presence was particularly strong

Some specifically cool things:

  • A company is making a single, secured credit card with embedded electronics that can be used with any of your accounts, so you won't have to carry around six cards in the future. It's also rendered unusable if stolen.
  • There's now 3D television that doesn't require glasses. It was pretty cool, but the problem is it only works if you stand in certain places. A techie guy next to me said that this was a non-fixable issue.
  • Intel is now fitting a billion transistors on a chip the size of your thumb. The first transistor-based computers had 500 transistors and definitely not the size of your thumb.
  • Acer won the "Last Gadget Standing" with a laptop that had two touchscreens. The second one is where the keyboard is normally found. It was pretty bulky, but this problem will solve itself. The techies loved it.
There was so much going on at this show that I think they ought to split it into five or six separate shows. Like running a marathon, though, I recommend doing it once.

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