Before CES completely fades into the hazy distant memory, I wanted to document a few of my impressions.
The two least interesting booths for me were Intel and Microsoft. The Microsoft booth was showcasing Windows 7 (see my earlier post), a bunch of Zunes (does it respond to touch? no..move on) and MS Office. Yawn. The Microsoft ship is so large and the wealth that must be protected so great that the incentives to try whacky new things is just very low for them. To be fair, the folks at Microsoft Research are doing some cool stuff in surface computing, but they were not there that I could see.
At Intel, the issue is just that processors are pretty darn boring these days. Although Intel was successful, for a while, at getting consumers to care what processors were inside their computers through the Intel Inside campaign, as consumers shift toward smartphones and other embedded devices, the issue of processor is less important. What processor is in your iPhone? (an ARM, did you know that? well maybe my readers do).
One of the most interesting conversations I had was with a Motorola person who explained to us the upcoming competing 4G broadband cellular standards of WiMax and LTE. Clearwire is doing WiMax. Sounds like the fight between BlueRay and HD DVD, where LTE is BlueRay. Moto is an also-ran in handsets these days, but if they can build the equipment that runs 4G, they should do ok. I have always had a soft spot for Motorola. They seems like an engineer’s company.
Our long term vision of mobile photography is that cameras become connected devices that can show you everything you have ever taken and can upload what you take directly to the cloud in the background. To realize that vision for photos and videos, taken in abundance, as they are with point and shoot cameras, we will need these next generation wireless broadband networks.
The TV manufactures (Sony, Samsung) were hyping Green this year, with big power meters under their TV sets to tell you how many watts they consume. But the story there for me was that it has been two years since I saw super-thin OLED TVs displayed at my first CES, and since then nearly no progress has been made to get them out to the mainstream.
This year Samsung was demonstrating super thin LCD TVs with LED backlighting that gave the OLEDs a run for their money in terms of thickness and viewing angle. We will see whether those come to fruition any faster.
I have spent very little time with Nokia smart phones based on the Symbian OS. I was surprised how primitive they felt. Hard to believe they are the world leader.
I stopped by the LG booth and played with a Dare. I did not care for its tactile vibration feedback. The LG person standing near the Dares told me that the keyboard was easy to type on, easier than the iPhone. I challenged him to a race and I won. Pathetic.
Toshiba appears to be a laptop only company now. I wonder whether they are headed for a fall if smart phones and the upcoming touch tablets turn out to be as disruptive to laptops as I expect.
The other novel thing we saw was flat wiring that you can use to do rewire for home theatre. It almost looks like ribbon cable. You run it on the walls, spackle and paint and don’t need to snake wires. They can even do power that way, although it is not UL approved quite yet. I could not get an accurate estimate of the labor savings out of their floor folk, but my estimate is that it is probably about a wash if you want to do a professional job of covering it up with mesh, mud, and paint.