CES 2011, Day 1

CES seems as big and crowded as ever this year—very few remaining signs of economic difficulties here. I’ll post more commentary and photos later, but for now, here are my initial thoughts:

  • I’m already sick of tablets. The analysts and press were right on target: everybody’s showing tablets—including vendors you’ve never heard of before. Microsoft is showing tablets: Windows 7 tablets. Again. RIM’s Playbook and ASUS’s Eee Pad Transformer were the best I’ve seen so far.
  • If Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D TV is any indicator, we’re gonna be stuck with the glasses for a while. This technology just isn’t there yet.
  • Verizon’s “big reveal” today was for consumer 4G LTE service and devices. Didn’t we already know that?
  • The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic is awesome.
  • Kinect is fun—even with dozens of people watching you make a fool of yourself.
  • Microsoft’s keynote was a big disappointment. With Gates’ departure also seems to have gone the vision. Ballmer read through a deck of slides promoting all the great stuff they’ve been doing, with little talk of the future beyond the usual marketing fluff. AvatarKinect was probably the most interesting thing discussed.
  • Yamaha isn’t here. Again.
  • The AT&T service here is worse than I ever remember it being before. The Verizon MiFi is the only thing allowing me to get any reasonable data service. Meanwhile, my AT&T phone is constantly searching for a signal, can’t hold a call, and burned through its battery prematurely by trying to reconnect and resend repeated failed data exchanges. I understand that the demand at CES is extreme, but this is just inexcusable.

For some more perspective on Day 1, check out my colleague’s comments.

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