After making the long trek from Ottawa, Canada, to Las Vegas, Nev., my CES began with taking in the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Shawn DuBravac afternoon discussion on the 2012 Trends to Watch. It seemed appropos to kick-off with predictions of what manufacturers would be showcasing at the premier event for consumer electronics.
Beginning with a look back at the CEA's trends to watch from 2010, the introduction of tablet technology, improvements in televisions (3-D and the incorporation of Internet), and the use of sensors in consumer products acted as the foundation for the organization's predictions for 2012.
Very few of the predictions seemed earth-shattering in nature. In fact, from the tone of the discussion, that was seemingly the point of Mr. DuBravac's talk. In his opinion, technology follows a path of design and the example of the remote control served as his example. Showing an image of the first remote control from Zenith with it's simple design and four buttons, DuBravac spoke of technological innovation as it goes from conception to complexity (using a modern day cable remote with it's 50+ buttons) to simplicity brought on by user demand. The final stage was deemed "natural use"—where technology reaches its peak in design.
The rest of the talk discussed other trends to keep our eyes one including the continued growth of wireless connectivity and wireless devices, the transition of the computer from the common unit implementation to other common-use platforms such as handsets and televisions, and the rising use of sensors in consumer electronics due to the falling prices of sensors.
Unfortunately, my attempts to sit through the next presentation was thwarted by the eagerness of the fellow attendees to get within the doors of CES Unveiled –a press event where some manufacturers showcased their booths prior to the doors opening to the general public on Tuesday. With one hour before the doors were to open, the line had already reached over 500 people, where I took my place. Within minutes of me selecting my spot to squat, another 500 people had taken their place behind me.
Stuck in line.
When the doors finally opened, the mass of humanity moved from booth to booth as manufacturers showcased their wares. Now pardon my honesty, but this event was a bit of a let down. Very few "marquee" manufacturers chose to take part in the event, with the two manufacturers that I found the most interesting being ST-Ericsson, who used the event to showcase their family of Nova Thor application processors, and Lenovo, who used a very large booth to showcase their latest handsets for the Chinese market, laptops and their IdeaPad family of tablets. In fact, Lenovo offered a hands-on with their yet to be released IdeaPad K2, which I wasted no time in handling.
The IdeaPad K2 placed against an iPad 2.
The IdeaPad K2 test drove amazingly, which isn't surprising as we were told that it was using Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Featuring a very responsive UI, the IdeaPad K2 looks to make an impact on the tablet market . Other than the reveal of the K2, very little was of interest to me from a "gadget geek" level. Many of the booths featured accessories for handsets (which was also considered a trend to watch by the CEA—the rising market of handset accessories), personal audio equipment and other companies showcasing products already released in 2011.
Despite the CES Unveiled not quite living up to my expectations, I highly doubt the full 2012 International CES will disappoint. With over 2,700 exhibitors, my only concern is seeing them all within the next five days.
Allan Yogasingham is a technical marketing manager at UBM TechInsights, a sister company to EE Times.
@Allan Yogasingam: I do have an IdeaPad K1 which cost me less than half the price of an equivalent iPad. I do get a lot done with that and it is an amazing piece of hardware with the Tegra2 processor. My next project is to write an Android application for highend simulations so I can view it on the tablet.