Review: What You Missed at CES 2012?
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Review: What You Missed at CES 2012? – Business – Business Ideas
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Every year, naysayers claim the death of CES, and every year they are proven wrong. Yes, the show is an ill-timed, unmanageable mess that hypes non-stories and makes it difficult to spot the real ones. Yes, navigating a crowd of 150,000 hung-over, slow-walking geeks makes it difficult to cross the show floor, let alone make all your meetings on time. (I had 21 and missed two.) And yes, there is nothing quite like CES. Fortunately for you, PCMag wrote all about it. Here’s what you missed.
HDTVs always make news at CES, but this was a relatively quiet year for the segment. At this point, not even Sony’s Howard Stringer can keep promising 3D is the premium, “must-have” feature it was in years past. Consumers just aren’t that interested, at least not at premium prices. But there were some interesting developments on the technology front. Samsung showed off a 55-inch OLED HDTV that was just 15.4mm thick. It looks amazing, but it won’t ship until mid-year and even then expect to pay at least $ 5,000 for this stunner.
Sony was showing off another next-gen HDTV technology that uses crystal self-emitting LEDs. Like OLED, the picture quality was amazing, but the set I saw was just in demo mode. Sony wouldn’t even let me touch it. Still, these are the technologies of the future.
The TV technology of the present, it would seem, is Google TV. Google TV has been ignored by vendors and consumers alike, but CES showed it is starting to get some traction with vendors, at least. LG, Samsung and Vizio will release a Google TV-powered sets this year and Sony will build both a set top box and a Google TV-enabled Blu-ray player.
Speaking of Sony, its press conference was one of the most disappointing of the show. It has great products, a huge customer base, and a great brand, yet it can’t seem to get it together. The company is betting on revamped Sony Network Entertainment offerings, which will include the PlayStation Network, Sony Personal Space, Video Unlimited, and Music Unlimited. It isn’t a bad strategy, but these types of services are precisely what Sony has difficulty executing. Everybody loves the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 and the upcoming Experia ion seems to be a real winner, but when it comes to services Sony falls a little flat.
The Inevitable Ultrabook
If there was a trend in PCs, it was the unsurprising, inevitable rise of the Ultrabook. The Ultrabook movement is unsurprising because laptops have been getting, thinner, faster, and cheaper since they were invented. It is inevitable, because Intel plans to spend some $ 300 million marketing Ultrabooks this year. Indeed, there were more than 85 Ultrabooks on display at the show and every major vendor has plans to release them.
I actually covered the show with an Ultrabook, the Asus ZenBook UX-31, and it was the first time in years that I could carry my bag all day and not have my shoulder ache at the end. The UX-31 got a fair amount of attention whenever I pulled it out, but the novelty wears off fast. Ultrabooks aren’t a groundbreaking new product category; they are just nice, thin laptops.
Now that everybody is making them, what are vendors going to do to make their Ultrabooks different from all the others? Asus uses brushed aluminum, Dell is going with carbon fiber, and HP is painting its Ultrabook with a high-gloss finish. Vendors will have to go beyond cosmetics and make a more substantial pitch. The first vendor to do that is going to grab a big slice of the market.
Of course, there is more to CES than just the tech stories I mentioned here. You also missed lines at the airport, lines at check in, lines at the monorail, lines to get in line, lines to beat the crap out of the idiot that thought a wheelie bag would be a great thing to drag around a convention show floor. So convenient!
So, yeah, I’m glad it’s over. But I’ll be back next year. Crowd or no crowd, there is too much cool stuff to see.
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