CES 2011, Day 4

For the first time I can remember, I’m not completely overwhelmed and exhausted as I’m wrapping up my time at this year’s CES. I only spent a few hours on the floor today, but here are my closing thoughts:

  • Reflecting back on the past few days, I think it has been a very good show. Reports are that it might be their largest show ever, in terms of attendance. There’s a lot of good technology on the floor, and we’re seeing a resurgence in product development investment from the consumer electronics companies again. That said, nothing really knocked my socks off. There’s nothing I’ve seen or heard about that makes me want to run home and add it to my wish list.
  • Qualcom is demonstrating a color, reflective E Ink-like screen that shows we’ll see some significant progress in this area. The colors are still muted, but they’ve resolved the “flash” problem between page views. I imagine that in two years, we’ll see some very competitive products with impressive reflective displays.
  • HomeSeer is working on a much-needed upgrade to its home control software offering, and they announced that a self-contained automation controller with an embedded version of that software will be available this summer for about $300.
  • There were literally hundreds—possibly thousands—of tablets on the floor this year. How many will really gain market penetration? I’m betting on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, and Motorola’s Xoom to give the Apple iPad some much-needed competition. I continue to posit that Microsoft Windows 7 tablets won’t really go anywhere, and given Ballmer’s lack of discussion about them this year, I suspect they’re starting to believe that, too.
  • Last year, TV manufacturers were pushing 3D. And while adoption has been low and the market is still a confusing mess while the technology evolves, they’re pushing it hard. But 3D wasn’t the headline story for TVs this year—apps were the story. Apps on nearly every TV. While I’m in the wait-and-see camp on 3D, I’m firmly in the Hell-no camp on Apps for the television—particularly when they’re built into the device itself. Whether they gain traction is anyone’s guess. If nothing else, at least the manufacturers are innovating…or trying to, anyway.
  • I packed both my iPad and my notebook computer with me to Vegas with the intent of seeing if I could live on my iPad alone at the conference. I took the iPad to the floor each day, and I used it extensively, but two things kept me from using it exclusively: Watching Microsoft’s keynote required Silverlight, and the WordPress app for iPad sucks.

And finally, I’ll be tuning in this week to Verizon’s big announcement. iPhone? We’ll see. Will I switch? Probably…but not right away. Let’s see how their new network fares, first.

That said, if it’s a new iPad, I’m in.

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