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CES In Review

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve attended a Consumer Electronics Show.  But last weekend, the kid-in-the-candy-store feeling returned to me immediately.   Just to cover the show’s 1.4 million square feet of exhibits in a couple of days is a challenge—to the feet and the head.

None the less, a few observations from the show:

It’s the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Tablet.  I’ve always wanted to play with a tablet, but they make more sense than ever for e-readers and presentations.  Better still, this one converts from a tablet PC running Linux to a Windows PC instantly, simply by docking the tablet with the base station.   A great overview of its features is here.  Apple better have a killer product to put up against this one. Due out 3Q 2010, for under $1,000.  If I could, I’d buy one today.

Panasonic 152-Inch Plasma TVMOST IMPRESSIVE
Plasma hasn’t died completely, for which I’m grateful.  Panasonic’s 152” (yeah, that’s 12 feet 8 inches) plasma screen was a wall of video and looked spectacular.  I’ll say again, if I could, I’d buy one today.  Then again, that would mean I had a few spare hundred thousand dollars and a room to put the screen in.  Pigs remain unable to fly.

As always, Apple chooses not to attend.  Hopefully, we’ll hear about their tablet at the end of the month.

So many new devises for interacting with games: chairs, steering mechanisms, hats with TV built in, gloves.  The list is long!  And the graphics with which they interface are nothing short of impressive.

It’s everywhere.  Lots of theories as to how to do it best.  All the good ones involve goofy glasses, which is a real turn-off.  There are many models of 3D TV’s on the horizon though only Panasonic seems to have a specific launch date.   My problem is that viewing them is really the most entertaining when you have a VERY large screen or are sitting far too close.  It’s the difference between the iMax experience and watch TV on an iPhone.  I’m not sure 3D will translate well to standard-sized (whatever that is these days) TV.  Great for generating new sales, though.  No wonder CES loves them.

Attendance was up 20% over last year and the aisles were very crowded.  Hard to believe the economy is recovering from a deep recession.  Also, in all the years of attending conventions in LV, I’ve not seen, until this year, discounts on rooms at major hotels.  Great for consumers, bad for the hotel and construction industries there.

The electronics industry is alive and well and creative.  At least for show purposes at CES.  Many of the products on display will never make it to the retail store.  But if only a fraction of those on display last weekend do so, it will be a fun 2010 for those with the budget to be on the bleeding edge.

Jim Sanders


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