I enjoyed the show much more than last year. My top-5 list:
- Video over the top is gaining momentum. It is integrated with TVs, DVD players, game controllers, and on stand-alone devices (roku, apple TV, boxee, logitech revue, etc.).
- Smart TVs The world has finally moved beyond TVs with web-browser access. TV manufacturers are embracing the app store model with apps for Netflix, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo TV, Comcast Xfinity, Interactive white board, etc. Samsung made the biggest splash and seems to be leading in Smart TVs. They are offering access to content on Samsung TVs, PCs, Tablets and Smartphones. It seems to be a closed solution like the one from apple. They did bring a lot of partners on the stage (Time Warner, Comcast, Hulu, etc.).
- Microsoft Xbox 360 and Kinect are now central to Microsoft strategy and product suite. Gesture and voice control on these devices works very well. Microsoft sold 8M Kinect units in 60 days. Windows 7 phone is also being hitched to the Xbox. I believe that Kinect presents as huge step forward in human / technology interface. Microsoft is the only one with a commercial product using the human body as a controller. This is one area where they have a significant lead in the market place.
- 4G LTE from Verizon presents a huge opportunity for new products leveraging real mobile broadband access. Tablet experience with video and animation may finally be good on a cellular connection. Google, Verizon and Motorola are partnering to challenge Apple. Consumer excitement about 4G LTE was demonstrated by a huge crowd at the Verizon booth. The quality of video conferencing on 4G was also quite impressive.
- Android continues to enjoy fast evolution and broad adoption
Other interesting technologies and News:
- Several products with glasses free 3D HD phones and TVs (Toshiba, Samsung, LG, Intel, etc) were on display. The technology is still not ready for prime time but it is very promising and might be what is required for 3D HD to take off.
- Microsoft unveiled a new version of the Surface computer. It was 4 inches thick and looked cool. They claim that the camera has now been embedded in the display. I will like to learn more about how the technology they are using.
- Android tablets were every where but not very impressive. There was an interesting Motorola announcement of an tablet based on Android v3 (honeycomb). There were several inexpensive tablets from Korea and China.
- The blackberry PlayBook tablet was actually quite good. However, I am not sure if they can attract the developer community to build on the platform. iOS and Andriod have their full attention.
- No tablet from Microsoft
- Google chrome OS seemed lame
- I did not see any new e-book readers. The functionality seem to be migrating to the tablets. Google demonstrated a nice eBook app on Android 3.
- Saw some very impressive tiny LED projectors. I believe that projectors will some day converge with smartphones and tablets presenting an easy way to show and share media with others on small devices
- Smartphones as payment devices might finally arrive in the US in 2011 ... haven't we heard that before!
- Large scale 3D displays from Sony and Samsung were very cool. I was amazed by the quality of 3D on large wall displays
- Nokia and Sony are in trouble. HTC also seems to be losing out to Samsung and Motorola
- Many smart appliances were on display: LG, Samsung, Haier. I am not sure if consumers will really use web-connected ovens?
- No major Chinese manufacturer on the scene yet (Haier?)
Pic: Samsung TVs merge with a Seurat painting ... very attractive!