2010 Consumer Electronic Show (CES)

I attended the annual Consumer Electronics Show for the 6th time in the past seven years.  Here are my observations.

Attendance was steady.  Gambling is up.  There were more people at the tables than last year. That’s two good signs for the economy.

But, the Fortune 500 stayed away, which is a bad sign for the economy.  Here are some of the prior year’s attendees who were noticeably absent:

  • Benq (made a big splash a few years back, now vanished)
  • Hewlett Packard (are you kidding me?  No presence whatsoever on the floor?  No one could drive from Palo Alto to Las Vegas with a few printers?)
  • Xerox
  • Dell (This ticks me off.  Dell has no presence on the floor, but snags 11 “innovation” awards?  Ditto for Nikon.  Not at CES, but also wins an award?  Smells like some kind of “pay for play,” and certainly cheapens the CEA Innovation Awards).
  • Philips (used to have a huge display on the floor. Here’s all I could find in 2010).
How the mighty have fallen. Sad days for Philips

Now, the good guys (i.e., Corporate America that showed up at CES and plugged away at restoring the economy):

  • Microsoft
  • Sharp
  • Samsung
  • Panasonic
  • Sony
  • Casio

The foregoing were all at 2010 CES and marketing at full speed.  Bravo.

There were no visible empty spaces on the convention floor, unlike 2009.  However, some spaces had increased in size.

Embarrassment Award:  Lost-in-space Polaroid names Lady Gaga as its “artistic director.”  Come on.  You guys couldn’t find one person with a credible background in photography?

Very Cool Product.  The Toshiba Cell LCD television has a lovely picture.  Available now in Japan, coming to the U.S. in the second half of 2010.   Learned that the extra-thin LCDs achieve their weight loss by putting all the lights at the bottom, then shooting up to fill the screen.  You certainly make some sacrifices for the Twiggy look.

3-D Television.  All the rage in 2010.  What is this?  1953 revisited?

Reel-to-Reel Tape Decks.  Ditto.  Saw several at the high end stereo show.  Give me a break.  Just because some audio geeks (oops – I meant, “audiophiles”) still listen to vinyl is no excuse to attempt to reintroduce reel-to-reel decks.

Digital Music.  The stereo world is catching on that we listen to electronic files, but they are about three years behind, as the manufacturers finally embrace  Ipod connectivity.  (Even Sony has an Ipod slot on some products.  Tall about being ubiquitous.)

Dudes, look forward.  I want wireless connectivity from my amp to my PC.  That’s the future, not an Ipod interface.

Cool computer stuff.  Big (i.e., two terrabyte) solid state storage units.  USB 3.0.

Class D amplifier.  The little amps from International Rectifier smoked some systems costing thousands of dollars more.  Quite impressive, even if I’m not a convert to Class D.

Gorgeous Home Projector.  If you have the dough, get the $15,000 projector from Meridian.  It will knock your socks off.

No Way Award.  A start-up speaker company from Novato, CA rolls out its first speakers – at $125K for a pair?  A dude from Sweden showing a $90K pair of monoblock amplifiers as his only product?  (At least Lars named the amp after himself.)