[Updated: 01.07.10 @1:05 pm Pacific]
While it is obviously not the same as being at the International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2010, I was able to watch quite a few of the press events over the web (probably with a better seat than most of the people attending the events in person). Also, the flood of press releases continues in my inbox (being on the press list) so I have been culling through various announcements and reviews/commentary online to find what really grabbed my attention. My first day summary can be found here.
In light of some of the common threads that seemed to have popped up listening to the press conferences, I have taken the liberty of modifying (badly) the CES logo to make it more 3D. Here are some highlights that I thought were worth mentioning. Below this list is my on-going (updating) coverage of products or announcements that warrant some mention. I will be updating this throughout the day as I see items of interest. Now, about yesterday:
- Thin is In – it seems that all of the TV manufacturers as well as computer vendors believe that having the thinnest device possible is better. It’s almost like a contest to see who can make the thinnest HDTV without it completely collapsing under its own weight. I heard frequent mentions of the displays being "as thin as a pencil". I’m hoping that this fad doesn’t compromise the integrity and energy-consciousness of the product design. We have definitely come a long way in making TVs much more portable (my 32" ‘old school’ JVC non-HD TV weighs like 80 lbs – would love to replace with a thin, 32" LED or LCD HDTV that weighs 20 lbs). In a few years, TVs will be shipped in a tube, all rolled up and you just will tape them to the wall!
- 3DTV is the new HDTV – every main manufacturer (including LG, Samsung, Panasonic, etc.) is releasing some sort of 3DTV model. While the price point is a bit on the high side, this will be the new type of TV to watch (as will 4k HDTVs). What is simply amazing to me is the fact that with these types of sets, 2D images can be interpolated to produce a 3D experience. This, I believe, will be a bit different than what we are now seeing in theaters in that objects won’t pop out at you on the screen but rather you will see a depth perception within the 3DTV itself. However, I’m not sure if movies that are mastered in 3D (using a 3D compatible Blu-Ray player) will pop out. There will probably be a couple of versions of this, one with depth where the front of the screen is as far as you go but objects in the background appear further away, and one where object extend forward beyond the display.) Regardless, the processing power within these new sets and Blu-Ray players is pretty incredible. The only drawback is having to wear those darn glasses. You will have to have a full viewing environment properly configured to enjoy the richness of 3DTV.
- Microsoft’s "Blacked Out" News Conference – just like everyone else, I was expecting a lot to be announced from this event, especially around the "slate" (tablet) device that was buzzing. After much fanfare (and struggling to find a good place to watch the event), it started…almost. (FYI, I had the best time watching the coverage on Cali Lewis’s uStream channel.) First, with just minutes prior to the keynote starting, the stage lost power and all of the computers that were carefully setup went down…what a nightmare! Eventually, things were powered up and the event started. Unfortunately to me (and many others watching the stream), I felt that the keynote that was delivered (or MC-ed) by Steve Ballmer was much more of a late-night Microsoft infomercial and I just couldn’t get into the groove of it. Blackout #2 came when talking about the new Halo Reach demo was shown. Suddenly the feed was blacked out due to intellectual property concerns. Wow, what a downer that was. Of interest was the demo of Project Natal, which is a way to use body gestures within the Xbox 360 gaming experience. This looks simply stunning and fun (but I don’t have an Xbox360 to be able to really talk about this). Blackout #3 for me was basically during the time waiting to hear about the much-rumored "slate" and when Ballmer mentioned it, it was almost in passing. What he showed was a "prototype" of a "slate-like device" that HP was creating that runs Windows 7 with multi-touch enabled on it. The entire mention of this took about a minute or two at most. If this is how they were trying to steal Apple’s (upcoming) thunder, it wasn’t much more than a hand-clap to me. Regardless, Microsoft did a pretty good job recovering from the potentially crippling power outage with their "summary of achievements" through Ballmer’s chest beating presentation.
- Multi-media Madness – it seems like every vendors of notoriety wanted to update their line of cameras or camcorders to embrace innovative new technologies. Soon we will be overwhelmed with the amount of data that we acquire through HD videos, high resolution photos, movies, etc. There was even a 3D camcorder introduced by Panasonic that looks a lot like Wall*E.
- TV & Mobile Applications – TVs especially are affected by this shift. Many manufacturers are introducing application stores providing the ability to add other functionality to TVs (like Skype, Social Media, etc.). Again, the company who wins this race will have the best "storefront" for browsing, buying/downloading and installing these apps.
- Blurring of Laptops, Notebooks, Netbooks & Hybrid Devices – the consumer this year will be overwhelmed with the choices available and will be hard-pressed to know what is best for them. There were a variety of new devices introduced that do some amazing things (Lenovo U1 Hybrid Notebook, for example that has a detachable display).
I probably could go on and on about some other things that I have heard about. However, I will leave that to subsequent posts. Now on to some products that got my attention. Look for updates with the "new" tag.
- new Samsung LED 9000 – wish I could replace my aging Sammy 61" DLP that doesn’t even have HDMI or Component Inputs with this one. Even just having the remote would be cool, since you can actually watch stuff on the remote if something else is playing on the TV. Regardless, all of their higher-end models come, of course, with 3D viewing built-in as well as a bunch of applications for the TV. Oh, and they are thin as well cuz thin is cool! Price: various
- new Sony 3D LED LCD TVs – wow, that’s a bit too many "eee" sounds in that. But just like many of the other manufacturers, Sony has come out with a 3D set that looks pretty stellar. I have played with a Sony Bravia during my Sony DigiDads project and must say that I really like them. Having them internet (hard and wifi-enabled), really adds to the experience. Various models were announced including: 40, 46, 52 and 60 inch versions. Prices: TBD
- new Alpine iDA-X305s – I have been using my iPhone via BT to get internet radio on my Parrot RKi-8400 including Pandora and other Internet radio apps. It looks like Alpine is making this process a bit easier by allowing the controls to be handled within the deck itself. Supposedly it only works with iPhones. Price: between $300-400.
- new (Ford) Sync – I must say that from what I have been hearing about the Ford Sync (actually, it’s not just Ford), it is a stellar addition to a car. It’s almost like taking a blue-tooth enabled in-dash and making it even better. But by now networking the device and coupling it with voice recognition and activation, the offering is becoming even better. I have long felt that American cars need an overhaul of their dashboards and I think that the Sync will do it for them!
- new Palm – personally I didn’t think that Palm was going to make it, however it seems like some of their announced support, products & features are making some big news. a 16GB Palm Pre Plus was announced, as well as a Mobile Hotspot application like the Verizon/Sprint MiFi. Also the Palm Pixi adds wifi (in the Plus version) and gets some Verizon love. Oh, and Flash 10 will be supported as well.
- new MSI Wind Top AE2420 – I like all of these all-in-one computers that look like a big monitor that have been coming out. The HP TouchSmart looked cool and now MSI has updated components on their Wind Top.
- PopBox – it looks like the Syabas PopBox HD will go head to head against the D-Link Boxee Box. Sporting much of the same content providers, the device looks to help bring multi-media content to the TV set. Price: $130
(picture source: Gizmodo)
- Sony Dash – this looks like a pretty nice little side-table device that could definitely replace your tired clock-radio. You can use a variety of apps including weather, Twitter, Facebook, email, Pandora, etc and it becomes a very useful device for families especially. Price: $200
- Kodak Rugged Sport Pocket Cam – capitalizing on the success of the Zi8, Kodak has announced a rugged, underwater-capable device much like the Zi8 in feature, except that you can take it about 10 feet under water as well. Price: $150
- Parrot AR.Drone – wow, this one surprised me! I had reviewed the Parrot RKi8400 in-dash bluetooth stereo and really didn’t think they would come out with a fun device like the AR.Drone. I’m hoping to get my hands on one of these. Essentially, it’s a 4-propeller helicopter that is controlled using an iPhone app over wifi. It comes complete with 2 cameras (down and forward facing). I’m hoping to get my hands on one! Price: TBD
- More to come!
Hope this coverage is enjoyable. It’s hard to keep up with everything, especially not being there.
HTD says: I’m LOVING some of the products being announced at CES!