You may have seen reports about all the new technology, products and services on display at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show that wrapped up this past Sunday in Las Vegas. In addition to attending the Samsung keynote, I had a chance to walk the Show floor. Now that I'm back in Philadelphia, here are some trends coming out of CES that caught my attention:
- Kinect from Microsoft is showing promise. It's unclear to me exactly where gesture-based command and control will be the most desirable - it could be gaming...could be navigation...could be social interactions. It's still unclear, but the technology is maturing, and there's something there.
- Tablets were prolific, and companies are starting to show just how they will evolve. The Motorola Xoom is impressive with a 1 GHz dual-core Tegra and 10.1 inch screen. Apple will continue to evolve the tablet and will build on the 15 million they sold in 2010.
- 3D TV was everywhere but it's still evolving. Everyone asks the same question, "When will 3D be available without glasses?" While large scale deployment at a quality that's suitable for long-session viewing is still developing, lighter weight glasses may be available sooner, as active screen and passive glasses technology is dropping in price.
- Displays in general continue to improve in all aspects - price, picture quality and form factor. Several manufacturers are introducing displays with almost non-existent borders. With this you can now have a 60" display fit in the same physical space as a current 55" display - no wasted space, just viewable screen.
- Connected TVs loomed large as TV manufacturers continue to look for a second and ongoing revenue stream. Compelling apps will be key here. The next challenge and opportunity for the TV manufacturers is the differing life of micro processors and displays. Most of the displays will last for 15 years, while the processor will seem pokey in three years.
- Video conferencing appears poised to become an integral part of the television and certainly the tablet/smartphone experience. 720p/30fps cameras are becoming cheap and ubiquitous. 1080p is still 12 months away from mainstream adoption, mostly due to connectivity considerations.
- DLNA marches on with more and more devices connecting and discovering content easily over home networks. Additionally home networking continues to improve both in wired and unwired. Moca 2.0, Powerline, WiFi and wireless HDMI all continue to improve and reduce in cost.
- There finally was a lot for music lovers and musicians, including the guitar without strings, called the Kitara Guitar. Kitara is the guitar re-invented in digital. It includes an innovative, multi-function touch screen, MIDI controls and an onboard synthesizer. This is a real musical instrument designed by musicians for musicians, and it's 100% digital.
- In addition, there were a ton of connected devices. Anything and almost everything that can have WiFi and an IP address were given one - from bathroom scales that automatically upload your body mass to the cloud as well as refrigerators and even door latches.
Of course it will be interesting to see how these play out over the next year. Do you have a favorite product or story from CES? We'd love to hear about it.