My day 2 mission report from the show floor at CES 2011. Walking around, it became clear that exhibitors had two words they were using across many of their displays this year: “smart” and “connected”.
The future is (almost) here, as I found out during my trip to the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.
See more of CES 2011 at BestBuyOn.com.
One thing that struck me as I walked through the displays of gadgets and gizmos at the International Consumer Electronics Show was how CES 2010 had made good on a word that was often used in the last decade, but hadn’t seen much mention recently: “convergence”.
The idea of living room convergence, where multiple technologies come together in the comfort of one room, used to be an often mentioned dream of technology innovators who wanted to accomplish the tasks performed by TVs, VCRs, computers, telephones and more via a single box that could live on a shelf in your house.
The use of the term died out at CES over the years, but recently we’ve begun to see the dream become reality. Last year saw the rise of Netflix streaming movies coming via the Internet to XBox 360s, PS3 and Internet-enabled Blu-ray players. This year, it arrives in the form of HDTVs with built-in app stores that can run games, get weather updates or stream movies directly from multiple network sources.
One of the apps that I saw that I think will make a huge change over time was the Skype app on a few Panasonic and LG HDTVs shown at CES. The technology that allows video conferencing using a webcam and Internet connection isn’t new, but the ease at which it can be performed with an app built into the TV will make adoption and use explode. Could Skype-enabled HDTVs kill home telephone lines more so than mobile phones have?
Another example of convergence is the ease at which Blue Label 2.0 laptops from Toshiba, Dell and Sony can connect wirelessly to an HDTV using Intel’s new Wireless Display technology. A Netgear HDMI wireless receiver connects to the HDMI port on your TV, and setup consists of a clicks on the laptop. Computing from the couch will be easier than ever.
So what’s the future of convergence? Well, check out the video predictions of the Geek Squad Chief Inspector for our guess. Hint: It may involve bionic eyes.
The New Year brings with it new things to be excited about, like new friends to meet, new places to visit, new experiences to have, and new goals to reach.
For a technology geek like me, it also means new technology. And in January, thereâ€™s no better place to see that new technology than the International Consumer Electronics Show.
As luck would have it, Iâ€™ve been drafted to attend this yearâ€™s show. Itâ€™s my first CES, and CES has promised to be gentle. So, as we begin a brand new decade and as I begin packing my bags for Las Vegas, here are some of the technology categories Iâ€™m excited about seeing on the conference floor.
2009 marked the year when eBook readers reached enough critical mass to go mainstream, and this was proven true throughout the holiday season. Barnes and Noble couldnâ€™t ship their new Nook reader quick enough to meet demand, while Amazon reported that eBook sales outpaced printed book sales in December.
However, the race is far from over in 2010, as several companies that announced upcoming entries in this growing eBook market last year are likely to be showing off their new readers at CES. Iâ€™m really looking forward to seeing how each of the different brands push the technology in ways to separate themselves from the pack.
As an avid reader, Iâ€™m also excited by the possibilities of how eBook readers can impact the current print market, possibly making expensive or hard-to-find books cheap and easily available to everyone. Iâ€™m also hopeful that eBooks may be the next evolution of our local newspapers, allowing them to continue without the high cost of ink and paper.
Last year was also the year that smartphones became more than just a convenient way for business people to get their work email. The market practically exploded with new entries and platforms, and it only seems to be accelerating as 2010 begins.
As smartphones become more common for so many different types of users, so too do the apps they run. Itâ€™s amazing how often I find myself using my own smartphone as a portable computer, with web browser, high speed Internet, word processor, GPS and gaming software wrapped in a package small enough that I can toss it in my pocket while on the go.
I expect to see not only a large number of upcoming phones at the show, but also a huge growth in the number of accessories that allow you to use those smartphones in new and creative ways: like health sensors to aid in getting the most out of your exercise routine, or car audio interfaces to make use of that built-in wireless Internet connectivity.
I have to admit, Iâ€™m a little skeptical about this category, if only because it sounds almost too good to be true. 3D television sounds more like a science fiction fantasy along the lines of flying cars and weekend trips to the moon. But while the other two arenâ€™t quite ready yet, we may actually get to see 3D HDTVs in our living rooms in 2010.
Iâ€™ve heard some really good reviews from others that have seen examples of the technology, so Iâ€™m pretty excited to see how well the current hardware works. It may sound like hyperbole, but 3D could really be as big as the leap from black and white to color TV if it works well.
The Real World of the Living Room
As much as the technology geek inside me canâ€™t wait to see all the amazing engineering on display on the CES show floor, as a Geek Squad Agent who goes into the homes of clients every day to set up the technology theyâ€™ve purchased, Iâ€™m especially excited about getting a look at products that will actually make it into living rooms this year.
I know that itâ€™s not always the most technologically advanced products that make their way into the homes of consumers, but rather the technology that those consumers connect with in ways that make their lives better. Itâ€™s the technology that makes you go â€œwowâ€ that ends up on your shopping list, and Iâ€™m hoping to see what electronics in this yearâ€™s show stand out when looking at it through that lens.
I canâ€™t wait to see the future of â€œwowâ€ at CES 2010.