CES 2012 had record breaking attendance and filled the floor with more exhibitors and products than ever before. TV stars, rappers, and sports legends were smiling and signing and everybody snapped their shutters on cue.
Upon arriving home and catching your breath away from the Vegas frenzy, you remembered products and nifty innovations, but overall the show was something of a shaggy dog story. Where was the punch line? The hot new product?
Maybe the industry has matured to a point where refinements and improvements and new features more than breakthrough products are the stories of the day.
For example, there were TV’s—and not just TV’s, but remarkable viewing experiences. LG with their 85″ 3D LED lit LCD Ultradef screen (4 mm thin) was almost breathtaking.
MWE had a motorized video recliner with mechanical overhead arms that positioned three screens around your head in an immersive if not claustrophobic way. It was a $6000.00 A/V la-Z-boy experience that was too ugly for anybody’s living room but it was unforgettable.
And talk about improvements—the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx boasts 21 hours of talk-time. That’s a lot of juice but it means it’s no longer the thinnest phone in the show. The Huawei Ascend P1 S Android smartphone (6.68 mm) has it beat by a couple of millimeters.
The phone showstopper was the Lumia 900, which runs on Windows Phone Mango, boasts a 4.3-inch screen, 512-megabytes of RAM, 16-gigabytes of internal memory plus Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage as well as a front-facing 8-megapixel camera with dual LED flash.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt laid out his plans for using smartphones as portals for connecting other household appliances like TV’s and refrigerators via a cloud platform. He calls it “smart home.” The Jetsons would be proud.
While we’re on the white goods side of the business, Samsung is unveiling the WF 457 WiFi washer and dryer with an 8″ touchscreen on its face allowing users to control the machine from anywhere in the house with a smartphone.
One of the most eye-catching camera entries is Sony’s irresistible Bloggie. It’s a WiFi pocket camcorder for remote uploading videos and still images to social networks and doing live—that’s right—live video broadcasts with Skype’s Qik Video broadcasting program.
The big computer story was ultrabooks—not because it’s something we’ve never heard of, but because there were just so many of them. There were over twenty new ultrabooks introduced and most of them shared the same features. Of course, all of them were thin. Thin was very in this year.
Plextor was in on the thin trend with a 7 mm version of their new M3 Pro Series Solid State Drive designed especially for ultrabooks. Plextor also announced the release of their new PlexEasy 8X DVD writer that lets you connect directly to your smartphone or tablet and burn photos—no computer required.
When all is said and done, the Best of CES Award should go to the attendees walking the aisles looking for the glint and hint of the future. They made the effort to be there and when they get home they will buy and sell the products and be the force that will make another show inevitable.