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Reports from CES 2011, looking for things that might matter for real people, not just technology buffs.
I knew that coming to CES looking for things for "normal people" would be a difficult task. Overall, I'm relatively pleased since I have some items mentioned in my previous reports that actually warrant some serious further investigation.
I heard from several people that there was more energy on the show floor this year than in the past couple. That's a good thing, and perhaps that's a reflection on the economy potentially recovering.
However, were there any truly eye opening products or demonstrations? Things that I really felt were both revolutionary and applicable to the masses any time soon?
But there was some interesting stuff, without a doubt. And lots of it.
Here are a couple of the more ubiquitous...
3D is nothing new - many of us now regularly watch 3D movies in local theaters. 3D TVs are also not really that new, having been a major part of the hype surrounding last year's CES.
This year's the same - only more so.
I've never seen as many different 3D TVs, headsets and vendors as I did at this year's CES. If I'm not mistaken I even saw 3D technology being demoed in cars.
Sony's display was perhaps the largest - I think it's safe to say that they've gone all-in on 3D TV, and with Playstation, games as well. They had some truly impressive demos across the board. Perhaps the most promising was their 3D camcorder - it's pricey, and it'll be a while before we can get our hands on it, but it does seem to deliver on the promise.
If 3D was everywhere, it seemed that large format video displays and TVs were everywhere else. Huge and ubiquitous, large format TV screens are getting amazingly thin. For those of you not on a budget this might be the most likely thing to show up in your home later this year.
For me, home 3D holds a lot of promise; done well it can be stunning. But unless you have money to burn I don't think it pays to be an early adopter; there are too many unknowns and random issues to work out. For example Sony demoed a glasses-less 3D TV, but I have to say I wasn't impressed. For 3D to really take off, ditching the glasses would go a long way - but it's also a long way off.
On the other hand, 3D World of Warcraft at the nVidea booth was ... interesting.
I'll admit it: I'd hoped to find the iPad killer. Or at least the iPad alternative.
I have nothing against the iPad, and I may well end up with one at some point, but with so much invested in Windows technology and software it would make more sense for me (and I suspect many others in a similar situation) to find a Windows-based tablet or pad computer.
From what I could tell the answer remains: not yet. I didn't see as many as I was hoping, and what I did see didn't really excite me.
Surprising, given that it's now a full year that the iPad's been around.
I suspect that Android based devices may well be a more immanent solution, but those are also few and far between right now.
Caveat: CES was huge and crowded - I can't claim to have seen every possible contender. Hopefully I missed the one that would have spoken to me, as I sincerely want it to exist.
It's not really new, but I had it confirmed for me: it may be called the consumer electronics show, but it's not at all about today's consumer. CES is more of a showcase for the new technologies and ideas that we'll be seeing develop - or wither - over the coming months and years.
As a speaker at the Sony booth stated as he demoed the upcoming Sony cameras, both still and video, both with or without 3D: these are amazing times to be a photographer.
That's actually true for the entire industry.
But I can't also help but feel that there are even more amazing times ahead.
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