CES Day 1: Connect Everything from Anywhere

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On Tuesday more than 3,250 exhibitors unveiled everything from truly new technologies and products to a great many copycat semi-useless products across a reported 1.9 million net square feet of floor space. 2013 International CES, the world’s largest annual innovation event, opened Tuesday and runs through Friday, January 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Some 20,000 new products will launch this week at the 2013 International CES and we couldn’t be more excited to kick off this record-breaking show,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.

CES is impressive in scope: In the last two days I have attended a number of pre-show press conferences, product announcements, even an angel investment presentation where embryonic products were presented, looking for start-up investment. What I have seen are a number of amazing evolutionary products, but, so far, nothing revolutionary.

A few years ago I wrote that we would soon be able to see and do anything from anywhere and we have clearly reached that point. CES is mostly about evolution in gadgets this year. There is a clear focus on mobile devices, but that is not really new or unexpected. Smart TV’s are amazing and the new offerings from the ilk of Samsung, LG, Sharp, and others are light years ahead of what we had just a few years ago in connectivity as well as astounding picture quality and screen size. One thing to consider: What happened to the predictions of major 3D adoption by the masses in the last year? My observations are that 3D has been popular in public theaters but, based on the greatly reduced number of offerings and emphasis this year, home theaters seem to be taking a pass on 3D.

CES is mostly about gadgets and this year primarily mobile gadgets. Tablet choices are greatly expanded this year--tablets to control and observe your connected life, your smart TV’s, your home heating system, but also smart tablet-controlled refrigerators, smart panels in automobiles, the beginnings of true personal robots, a zillion wireless small speakers with decent sound, and a truly impressive array of portable, personal, medical, and exercise monitoring and reporting devices. All of these represent evolution and application of technology, but not true technological advancement.

From what I have seen so far the biggest and perhaps most far-reaching product advances are being shown by chip makers. The consumer may never realize it, but the next generation of gadgets and the performance they can provide will be made possible because of new launches by companies including NVIDIA, AMD, QUALCOMM, and Intel.

Still, I am bothered by the question, "Will CES remain relevant?" After all, the most anticipated product launches in the past year were made by Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.--some hardware, some software, and some a combination--but the point is that they were not launched at CES.

Let me list for you some of the neatest and more interesting devices I have seen at CES so far. I will continue to list more as I travel this huge show over the next few days.

So far:

  • Amazing picture quality HD and Ultra HD TVs such as the Samsung F8000.
  • Personal exercise planning and monitoring, perhaps a touch of a mini robotic coach in devices like the fitbit wireless activity monitors.
  • Windows 8 tablets that are true computers capable of doing anything that a true computer can do, but in light and thin form from Lenovo and Samsung.
  • Attachable keyboards for tablets that include their own batteries to extend device life.
  • Nanotechnology coatings to moisture-proof just about anything.
  • Large touch screen monitors that when laid on a table become a fully-functional tabletop computer.

Over the next few days I will try to see as much of what the show has to offer as I can and report back on interesting and promising devices, software, and trends.


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