With CES all wrapped up, I took a chance to outline the trends and more interesting announcements from the biggest electronics conference of the year.
Big CES Themes
With thousands of products announced and/or released during CES, popular trends quickly emerged. These were:
HDTVs – It seems every manufacturer under the sun has jumped on the 3D bandwagon, introducing 3D into their 2010 lineup. Unfortunately they’re all competing to have the best implementation, so not all are using the same technology. Some opt for the more expensive, better active shutter glasses, others going for the cheaper polarised 3D.
As TV’s grow to enormous sizes, even the best looking 1080p starts look average. The solution is the next iteration of quality – 4k, twice the horizontal and twice the vertical pixel count of 1080. Existing 1080p owners don’t need to stress, 4k content is few and far between.
Slate PCs – Announced in Microsoft’s keynote, the term Slate PCs were everywhere. Slates are effectively tablets that have been around for years, minus the physical keyboard, plus a capacitive touchscreen. This means no more stylus, an on-screen keyboard and they now run Windows 7. Implementations ranged from decent to terribly unresponsive. Despite many manufacturers giving this a shot, it seems the market is still prime for Apple to own with a fantastic user experience. That is of course if the iSlate exists at all.
Netbooks – With new processors, even better battery life should arrive in the next generation netbooks. There’s been a crucial update in resolution, now getting up to 1366×768. Many manufacturers are also experimenting with different industrial design, ultimately providing more options for consumer preferences.
Boxee box – A combination of slick D-Link hardware featuring the new Nvidia Tegra 2 graphics, and boxee’s software. This is just one example (probably the best) hardware box to get online video content to your HDTV. Boxee also made the beta of their software public. Get it yourself from http://boxee.tv
Smarter cars – Having a standard iPod dock is so yesterday. One display was Ford’s latest edition of Sync. Built on Microsoft Automotive technology (running on Windows Embedded), you can now plug-in a supported 3G wireless dongle and create a Wi-Fi hotspot on wheels. This allows your passengers to use the internet connection from their laptop, smart phone etc. Add this to Voice commands, GPS, smarter cruise controls and our cars are about to get a whole lot smarter.
CES began with a keynote from Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer. His presentation ran through a lot of information, most of which we’d heard before. Here’s a summary anyway.
– Windows 7 is fastest selling OS ever.
– Xbox 360 now sold 39 million consoles, 500 million games
– Announced Game Room (old school games, cross platform)
– Natal release date – December 2010
– Halo 3: Reach trailer shown (Some rubbish about IP rights meant this wasn’t shown on the live stream)
– No mention of Home Server
– No mention of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 or 7
Slate PC’s from HP and others
As well as trends, there was a bunch of interesting products announced. These aren’t necessarily the best, but ones I thought you’ll find interesting.
Lenovo’s U1, Laptop + Slate.
Intel announce Widi, stream desktop to HDTV
Panasonic 152" 4k Plasma TV
Microsoft Arc Keyboard
ATI Eyefitinty, allows gaming across multiple monitors, Nvidia: coming soon
Not everything at CES will end up making it to market, or if they do it may be 2-3 years away from being production ready.
Samsung see-through laptop display
Special mention to TWiT Live and their fantastic coverage during CES. I watched it for hours and got a real sense of being there, despite living on the other side of the world. My biggest issue was how much data it was using, turns out a 1Mbps video stream uses quite a bit per hour. With our caps in Australia, I really wish our ISPs would unmeter some of this type of content.