CES 2011 Recap DM: Tablets, 4G and Internet TV’s
CES attracted 140,000 people this year, up 16% from 2010. Four trends emerged this year: Tablet Computers, 4G enabled smart phones, Internet Connected TVs and 3D TVs. Most major manufacturers showcased all of these devices, and all had at least two of four.
Mobile & Tablets
Samsung, Motorola, LG, Blackberry, Dell and other smaller firms all showed off their iPad killers. Most of the next generation machines where 7 inches across versus 10 inches for the iPad, had a similar feature set, and ran on either the Android (Google) OS (operating system), Microsoft 7 or in Blackberry’s case, a
propriety one. The distinguishing feature was usually on the hardware of each tablet; some were just CPU equivalent while others could be turned into a laptop. Everyone is aware that with iPad’s explosive growth
last year, all these manufacturers need to catch up, and they see the tablet as the huge growth market. Interestingly enough, last year’s cool tech items, net-books, where barely mentioned at all, unless paired with a tablet.
Married to the plethora of tablets came a ton of announcements around 4G enabled tablets and mobile devices coming to the marketing in 2011. 4G stands for the next generation of cellular networks, and Verizon, Sprint and even AT&T are all creating devices for this network. For some sense of the scale, AT&T announced a total of 20 or so planned 4G devices for this year alone.
What’s very clear is the mobile tablet space has become a very crowded field with lots of players:
traditional computer manufacturers (Dell, HP and Blackberry) compete directly with consumer electronic manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc) who compete with traditional phone manufacturers (Motorola, HTC, Nokia). There are also far too many operating systems for all these devices to be popular; I counted at least 6 mobile operating systems on display.
Best in Show In this Category
Motorola “Xoom Tablet” and the “Atrix Phone” which you will be hearing a lot about in the future, both
feature exceptionally strong hardware with new Android 3.0 OS.
Is 2011 the year we can watch HDTV without a set-top box or a cable!? In a word: no. If anything, CES demonstrated how fractured the Internet/connected TV landscape is; every manufacturer has their own app store, particular interface, OS and partners. Samsung took this fractured landscape to an extreme demonstrating Connected TVs that use Google TV, their own IP software, as well as a custom Connected TV interface for Comcast (a US cable operator) and cable.
As with the Tablet space, when you add similar connected TV devices that are a somewhat different offering but still occupy the same space (such as Apple TV, Slingbox, Boxee, Wii, PlayStation and Xbox), this is another space with a lot of congestion. There are a number of different platforms and a lot is going to change in the next few years. Lois Nemcovsky noted that while all these TV alternatives are great user options they are not HD-enabled, and will not be 3D-enabled anytime soon. Overall, it’s safe to say, that
traditional TV’s best function is still high-quality programming.
Best in Show In this Category
Samsung Connect TV line: The only TV line with an app store that actually has working apps (over a thousand - including our own This Day in History)
Lower than predicted retail sales of 3D TVs in 2010 didn’t stop manufacturers and content providers from continuing to push the tech in 2011 and beyond: New 3D TVs and upgraded models from Panasonic, SONY, LG, Samsung and Toshiba were among those on display. A variety of new 3D glasses were unveiled, both active and passive, from lightweight “fit-overs” to “clip-ons” to designer styles. The lack of
interoperability between glasses and 3DTVs still exists; Toshiba & SONY showed some early stage glasses-free 3D models and although improved over last year, the consensus was they need more work. stA new demo from the Discovery/SONY/IMAX hybrid channel “3D Net” launching in 1 Quarter 2011
wowed crowds, and ESPN announced they are going to 24/7 3D in Feb 2011.
JVC introduced a new compact consumer HD 3D camera:
Samsung introduced new ultra thin HD 3DTV models:
Marchon introduced new 3D designer passive glasses: