Thank you for giving an overview of CES for a reader like me sitting here in India.
The 3DTV seems to be a non starter till today. A better quality 2D is much more pleasing for longer-time viewing than 3D viewing with those glasses. Some out of box thinking is required to bring in some new technology for 3D viewing.
I agreed current 3DTV vision is totally unacceptable by human eyes and brain. Put in so much effort and money already, makers had no choice to show off to see if any buyer. This is a failed product I put it this way.
Thanks for this summary of your hits and misses, I agree that context switching is important but only p p a point. Apple deliberately slow things down and animate widget movements because people can get a sense of what 'just happened'.
Too quick and you can get an experience like 'Huh?' What'd I do?'
Unexpected, in a do-we-really-need-this sort of way: A lot of gesturing technology. Kind of cool, but also kind of a gimmick. Gesturing to control a tablet from a foot or two away -- a tablet that already has a touch screen? Really? The use case example cited was suppose you are in the kitchen baking and your hands are all messy and you need to flip the page on the recipe that's displayed on your tablet. Yeah, when I decide to quit IC design and become the next Betty Crocker I'll keep that in mind :)
Also in this category, some of the smart appliance stuff was a little absurd, like the washer & dryer with networking and USB ports on the control panel. Networking, ok, so I can monitor them remotely. But this would be a lot more interesting if it also came with a robot that could just do the laundry for me in my absence. Maybe at CES 2025...
Unexpected, in a good way: The automotive stuff was a delight -- and not just the electronics, but the cars themselves. The heads-up display that highlighted objects in the field of view such as pedestrians crossing and bicyclists turning was fantastic. The Ford Evos, an EV concept car with 4 gull wing doors, was enough to make any sports car enthusiast drool.
Another one in this category was the waterproof smartphones and tablets. Just a mechanical case design innovation really, and with the same form factors as any other tablet or smartphone.
Last but not least, Windows Phone 7.5 running on a particular smartphone from a vendor usually known for its Android phones. I expected to be underwhelmed, but the speed of task switching and app launching was by far the fastest of any phone I have ever played with. I was so impressed, I had to take a photo of it with my iPhone 4S.
As usual, there were some things that I fully expected, but also a few surprises. Vendor names omitted to protect the innocent and the guilty. You all know who you are.
In the category of the expected: A lot less emphasis on 3DTV than last year, thankfully. But I did manage to put on the glasses at a couple of booths, just to remind myself of why I will never buy a 3DTV. After a few movie trailers, I was already slightly uncomfortable. If I had to watch 3D for a whole evening, I would need Dramamine...or maybe an excessive number of alcoholic beverages.
Also expected: Smartphones and tablets in unbelievable numbers -- several trash dumpster loads of them -- and some from unexpected vendors. After a few hours of walking the show floor, they all look the same and one wonders how anyone hopes to differentiate themselves. One vendor even had tablets in an array of sizes from the absurdly small to the absurdly large. I guess when you have no idea what size people will buy, you offer all of them and then mass produce the one or two sizes that get some traction.