CEATEC 2012, Japan’s largest consumer electronics show, showcased a host of new technologies and consumer electronics products ranging from a novel eye-tracking user interface to smart connectivity and low power, high resolution displays.
A running theme among Japanese CE companies this year was how to make home appliances smarter and more connected using links like infrared, Bluetooth, near- field communication and wireless LANs. An unprecedented number of auto makers also showed up, underscoring the
growing synergy between automotive and consumer electronics
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The emphasis on smart connectivity placed the smartphone at the center of the consumer universe, relegating everything else -- from washers, refrigerators to robots and automobiles – to smartphone accessories.
CEATEC, held in Makuhari, Japan, often showcases "prototype" products without a price tag or launch date. Japanese manufacturers, masters of this game, trot out working prototypes from their labs to gauge consumer interest at CEATEC. In the midst of an industry slump, Japanese companies depend on trade shows to restore industry mojo.
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Sharp Corp. showed off its IGZO technology. IGZO stands for indium gallium zinc oxide, the semiconductor material on which the screen is based. The material allows electrons to move up to 50 times faster than amorphous silicon, enabling significantly higher translucency. It also means that smaller or fewer LEDs are needed for backlighting, reducing power consumption.
Rick, I think the smartphone is becoming much more than "the hot item." It's really turning into the center of people's universe. I don't want my car to have navigation or a cd player. I just want it to seamlessly interface with my phone. However, I will take a kick 8$$ amplifier and plenty of speakers, thank you.. I still have a 97 caddy that came equipped with a car phone! Imagine how outdated that is!
I find it interesting that each product touts its usability with a smartphone. It could have just as easily mentioned its usability with a desktop/laptop ... but it didn't.
The concept of a product being an "accessory" to a smartphone is new and foreign to me. I had always believed it to be the other way around.
It is nice to see a good level activity in Japan on consumer-centric devices and appliances. The challenge always remains how fast Japan can bring these consumer-validated products into market in a very price-competitive consumer market!
Compare these two statements:
- With a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour, COMS can travel 50 kilometers on a five-hour charge. COMS is available for $7,700 and offers all the protection of a motorcycle with an umbrella.
- This car has a top speed of 160 kph, can travel 500 klicks, refuels in 5 minutes (metric or Imperial) for about $80 in 49 states, costs $25,000, protects 5 occupants with $7,700 worth of airbags, and can get you to the Rocky Mountains and up them too with all your gear.
I actually think 4K is no longer a pipe dream. It will definitely start showing up in home theater type of implementations. But will it ever go mainstream? I am not sure.
Meanwhile, the point about smartphone and tablet is not about them being hot, but these products are used as the source for running apps which will control many home appliances (washing machines, fridge and even cars!).
The biggest surprise for me at this year's CEATEC was, as I pointed out in the story, that so many devices in the CE world -- including cars -- are now becoming mere "accessories" to smartphones.
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