So after a two week hiatus from my blogspot, I thought I would share my review of CES 2009. If you have never been to the CES show in Vegas, to say it is overwhelming would be an understatement. I met lots of interesting folks and even had an opportunity to take a quick photo with The King himself. CES is the largest conference in the world and is commonplace to many of top innovations and technology manufactures throughout the world. Everything from car and stereo technology to the lasted in flatscreen and HD televisions to video cams and Web 2.0 gadgets. It was like being in a BestBuy store x 1000.
Although the show was loaded with exhibitors and providers of various technologies, I'm not certain that I saw much of anything really new and innovative. Additionally, the keynote speakers really just shared a commercial spot with the audience about their brand. I wasn't too impressed with them.
As we arrived into Vegas fashionably late in our private transportation, we made our way to badge central and quickly strolled to the Hyatt Las Vegas where we joined in on the keynote session by Anne Sweeney from Disney Media Networks/ABC Television Group. The 30 plus minute session was a very nice plug for Lost, Disparate Housewife and the Apple iPhone. Really no new innovation that didn't already exist. Nonetheless, a nice production.
After the session, we joined the thousands more walking the exhibit floors. This was by far the largest event I have ever attended. There were exhibits throughout the convention center and across a span of several hotels. There were exhibit halls dedicated to auto stereo technologies featuring the latest in auto/audio enhancements.
A complete stereo unit and sound system in the back of a truck - very practical. A Rockband / Guitar Hero system in the back of an SUV - must have. To sum up all the buzz at CES, here is what I gathered to be the talk of 09.
1. Custom Content - F.A.M.P.S. (Feelings, Attitudes, Moods and Personalities) is a custom software application that allows the end user to visit a website, paint and design a character and then have the mini character you created shipped to your address. This along with other innovative technologies that Mattel was featuring was a hit.
2. Digital robots of all types were in full force this year. One of my favorites was a research project titled "beatbots." This cute little "peeps-like" character is a unique robot that follows your movement and rhythm/patters as you move about. It also leverages the Wii controller to move about. I wanted one of these little guys so bad, but quickly learned that to date, only 4 or so have been made and are not currently in production. Each of is individually handmade.
3. HD 3D Telivision - No question about it, Sony was a hit with it's innovation in 3D. At their booth, they were demonstrating the quality of video and game interactivity using a 3D rendered television offering. This view shows you what it looks like with and without the 3D glasses. This was absolutely amazing... and to think, this can be in your home theater someday soon.
4. Pocket size camcorders were plentyful at CES. Everyone from every country had their version to showcase. No big deal here. I am perfectly content with my FLIP camera. It was good to see that these are more common with better quaility / HD capabilities and even underwater versions.
5. Micro Projection units - This has to be one of the best innovations at CES, next to the 3D TV. There were several leaders in the pocket-sized projection units. These devices are so small and compact, you can take them along with you anywhere. And best of all, you can connect them to your iPhone or cell device and deliver your presentation with very little hassel. Absolutely awesome! Companies like Wowwee.com and Butterfly were showcasing their versions.
6. Netbooks - What would CES be without its "netbooks?" Of course everyone and their neighboor booth were showcasing their version of a low cost netbook. What was nice to see is many no-names or unknown brands coming about and also featuring Linux operating system as their OS. Very cool. The 9" Lime notebook and Lime OS was a hit starting at roughly $249.
7. iPhone cases - It seemed as though every other booth was a plug for the iPhone. There were hundreds of providers that showcased their version of the iPhone case and earbuds. Seems to me that there is going to be a big consumer push for cases for all type of mobile devices. Many of these from various companies start their pricing at about $20 bucks. Here's our new friend Read showcasing his own design - my favorite.
BEST OF SHOW: I think the big take-away is that flat screen televisions and every variation of them are here to stay. Every major brand had their version and this is good news for consumers as competitive pricing will make them more affordable for you and me.
By far, the one technology that stood out was Intel with a virtual screen similar to what you would see in Mission Impossible or a virtual hologram screen.
This was no gimmick, folks were able to touch and manipulate items on the flat glass pane. Not sure if this was a research product or hype on new technologies. But it was definitely something to see.
CES 2009 was a good experience for WeAreTeachers as we found a number of potential partners and products to offer out teachers in the Knowledge Marketplace. We hope to have many of these CES parters available for you soon.
Until then, that's my CES review along with a sighting of Stevie Wonder at the Venetian hotel.