Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Week One Review: CES Highlights

I didn't go to CES this past year, and my feet probably thank me for that, but I did catch up with all the big news and product announcements through Twitter, Friendfeed, Google Reader and even through old media like television and newpapers.

CES attracts a much wider audience and is produced each year by the CEA is the Consumer Electronics Association, who represent more than 2,500 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA's members account for more than $100 billion in annual sales. For more information, go to CEA's web site at

Needless to say it's a huge event that kicks off every year debuting the latest and greatest consumer electronics, software solutions and product innovations. More than 2,700 global companies, including 300 new exhibitors this year, unveiled an estimated 20,000 new technology products across 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space. Preliminary estimates suggested attendance to be at more than 110,000, with the final number to be confirmed in about 90 days. At the close of the 2008 CES, CEA estimated 130,000 attendees, and the actual attendance was 141,150.

CES 2009 was also a celebrity-filled event which featured entertainment and sports figures including Tom Hanks, Alex Trebek, Jimmy Fallon, Stevie Wonder, Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, Usher, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Reggie Jackson, Dr. Oz and Ludacris. Scores of tech bloggers were also on hand live blogging the news including Steve Garfield who demoed the new Panasonic HDC-SD100 video camera in this interview with Jimmy Fallon. Read his blog post here.

Probably the biggest story was the the introduction of the Palm Pre, a new smartphone. CNET announced that the device has won the "best of show" for CES 2009. My friend VegasBill said the "hot" products for 2009 CES are Palm Pre, 1080p wifi video sharing and Sling Media mobile player for the Apple iPhone.

“The level of excitement on the CES show floor was at an all-time high with ground-breaking technologies such as the Palm Pre, Sony’s flexible OLED display, 3D HDTV, Yahoo!’s TV Widget, LG’s Watch Phone and a 1/3 inch thin energy efficient Plasma HDTV from Panasonic,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA. “Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer announced Windows 7 Beta at his pre-CES keynote and the download response was so high, it overloaded their systems.” - from CEA: Press Release - 2009 INTERNATIONAL CES ELECTRIFIES AND ELICITS OPTIMISM FOR GLOBAL ECONOMY
Here's some of the other cool products that caught my eye along with links to related new stories:

  • CES '09: Spotlight on Internet TV, Mobile DTV, 3D - 1/5/2009 - Broadcasting & Cable - While the annual Consumer Electronics Show has become more focused on content than electronics in recent years, understanding the latest ways for delivering video is still the primary reason broadcast and cable executives make the trek to Las Vegas each year. A decade ago, the hot new technology was high-definition TV, and network executives were walking the floor to see the first-generation HDTV sets and talk to set manufacturers about improving digital TV reception. Now, with the digital TV transition wrapping up in February and HDTV programming being watched by almost 25% of U.S. households, HDTV is no longer so novel. Though set manufacturers are sure to exhibit lighter and thinner LCD and plasma HDTV displays at CES this week, the industry is looking for the next big thing in consumer video technology.
  • Steve Rosenbaum's Blog - Sony's Flip Cam Killer - I thought it might be wierd to do a video blog about the new sony Webbie HD with my flip cam, and the guy at the sony booth looked at my oddly when I took it out. But he was fine with helping me take this pic with my sony dsc T50. The fact is - at $129.00 Sony has built a FlipCam killer. Now, maybe it doesn't work as well, we'll have to wait and see a real world demo to find out. But its out today - for sale - and it will be another reason that more video will be on the web sooner rather than later. The next model, with a reversable screen and more of a mini-cam corder form factor will be 199,00 and on shelfs in march. And - best of all -there's a version that comes in orange!
  • Internet-Ready TVs Usher Web Into Living Room - - On Monday, Netflix Inc. is expected to announce a deal with Korea's LG Electronics Inc. that will make a Netflix online-video service available on a new line of high-definition TV sets from LG due out this spring. The online service offers 12,000 movie and television titles. Amid other developments pegged to this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Yahoo Inc. and Intel Corp. plan to announce support from several major consumer-electronics companies to sell TV sets that come with software, dubbed widgets, that make it easier to call up Web content on TV sets using ordinary remote controls rather than computer keyboards. "You are going to see very broad adoption of this open technology by the best brands in the TV industry -- not just for specialty products but deeply penetrated in their product lines," says Patrick Barry, Yahoo's vice president of connected TV.
  • Lots Of Buzz Over Broadband Enabled TVs, But Impact Not Felt For Many Years | The Business Of Online Video - As the CES show in Vegas kicks off this week, the buzz and announcements around broadband enabled TVs is starting to heat up. Netflix and LG announced that come later this spring, a new line of broadband enabled LCD and plasma TVs will be capable of streaming content from Netflix without the need for any type of external box. While this is not the first broadband enabled TV that will be capable of streaming content, both Panasonic and Sony already have models, it is the first TV manufacturer deal for Netflix.The CES show also brought announcements from Adobe and Intel who are looking to bring Flash to Intel's Media Processor CE 3100, which Intel hopes will be used to bring web content to digital TVs before mid-2009. In addition, Intel plans to announce with Yahoo! support from TV manufacturers to sell sets that come with widgets that allow you to watch web content on your TV using the TV's remote control.

  • Intel: Your TV Needs the "Full Internet" - Digits - - Eric Kim, Intel’s chief ambassador to the Consumer Electronics Show and the gadget industry generally, is not quite ready to cheer that TV makers are starting to put networking connections into new sets. Yes, the trend will help consumers get some Internet content to their TVs. But it’s not enough, he says. Kim argues that no one will be happy with TVs that can’t view ALL the content they now get when surfing the Web on their PCs. The content formats they now enjoy mainly target PCs run the x86 chips that provide most of Intel’s revenues. There are ways to transform those formats for other hardware, but there are glitches running some popular sites–and each time a new Web format emerges, it starts on x86 PCs, Intel says
  • Contentinople - Ryan Lawler - Cisco Goes Content Crazy - Network equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) hopes its expertise in building carrier networks will translate to success in consumer and media markets, with a slate of new products and services that will be shown off this week at CES. It's a big move for Cisco, as it gets into the business of home networking devices with the launch of a media hub geared toward home networking for digital media. At the same time, it's also launching Eos, a content-management platform for media and entertainment companies, which is an entirely new market for Cisco.