The International Consumer Electronics Show 2011
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
January 6-10, 2011
The world’s largest consumer technology showcase and tradeshow wrapped last week in Las Vegas. It united more than 120,000 industry professionals from 130 countries. The first CES took place in New York City in June of 1967 with 250 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees. Since then, CES has grown more than eight-fold, as the 2011 CES saw more than 126,000 attendees and 2,500 global exhibitors.
Among the gadgets garnering the most buzz were tablet computers, mobile smart phones, internet- connected TV’s, Glasses free 3-D TV’s, videogames and even “camera glasses”.
Although Apple Inc. wasn’t at CES, the company’s influence was felt as mobile phone and computer makers showed off dozens of tablet computers to compete with the i-Pad and i-Phone. Motorola, Samsung and Dell were among others who touted new tablet computers at the event and Verizon announced a deal to sell i-Phones through its 4G network.
Motorola unveiled a Xoom tablet using Google’s Android 3.0 Software which will debut later this quarter. Similar to the i-Pad, it uses larger screen sizes relative to smart phones to display information, such as an email inbox while reading a message, a larger home screen-layout and richer animations.
Samsung is releasing a WiFi only version of its popular seven inch “Galaxy Tab”, competing with the base line i-Pad, and a smart phone-sized Android-based media player rivaling the i-Pod Touch.
Meanwhile, Dell is trying to differentiate its tablet called “Streak 7” from others using Android, by rolling out new home-screen software that can access music, movies and photos without opening separate applications.
Dell also unveiled a 4.1 inch Smartphone that it calls “Venue” Flat panel TV enters new phases with an array of choices. There were many offerings in 3-D TV and connected internet streaming capabilities. In fact, among the hottest trends at the show is the development of “smart TVs” with much the same functionality as apps- powered smart phones, including the ability to stream video, music and photo content from “the clouds” of hundreds of on online content suppliers.
The second year of the new 3D TV era got a little more complicated as multiple manufacturers began to introduce additional and new technology options. LG, Toshiba and Vizio offered “passive” polarized glasses for comfort and less cost than active shutter glasses.
Among the active glass technology sets that FFT recommends for 3D are Mitsubishi’s Laser Vue and Samsung’s 3D. Both companies have achieved theater level quality in their products.
One of the most startling developments this year was the start of glasses-free TV. Both Toshiba and Sony displayed this new technology impressively. Toshiba had announced “no glasses 12” and 20” 3DTVs for the Japanese market but no one expected
the 56 inch and 65 inch models at CES. More shocking by the end of this year, Toshiba expects to start selling these auto stereoscopic 3D TVs here in the USA and Japan. These “glasses- free” 3D sets utilize a lenticular plastic sheet over the raster to deliver nine different angles of light precisely to the eye creating multi-parallax images. You have 9 “sweet spots” and only nine; stand anywhere else and an image full of flicker and ghosting is the result. Both sets are able to play 2D footage and have 4K2K resolutions. That is crucial because resolution seen by both eyes simultaneously will roughly equate to a full HD image. As you might expect, these two TVs will be very expensive.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the appearance of Lady Gaga once again at CES for Polaroid. Gaga is a creative director for the iconic company’s specialty line of products. The most fancy is a set of “camera glasses”, which are described as a stylish way to take pictures of what a wearer is seeing. Polaroid says users can instantly capture or upload photos with the built-in camera and then display them on the glasses’ LCD screens for others to see.
“Only Lady Gaga could create a hybrid that’s part fashion statement, part revolutionary technology and part tool for self expression”, the company says in its PR materials. The GL20(GL stands for “grey label”) Camera Glasses will be available later this year.
Until next year, happy gadget hunting!