CES 2009, Day 1

Finally back at CES after a one-year hiatus, and it definitely has a different feeling from when I was last here.  As most, if not all, of the news reports are showing, attendance and show size are down. The car pavilion was smaller, not as many tricked out cars with huge subwoofers showing their stuff. The electronics halls are not as packed with as many of the big name (Samsung, Toshibia, etc) electronics manufacturers. I’ve definitely noticed an increase in the smaller label Asian companies, with their booths peddling OEM and VAR wares.

But what you can’t see in the news reports, is the feeling you get walking the show, that there just isn’t as much excitement for this year’s show. As medium and large-size LCD’s have become pretty commonplace among CES attendees, and multiple wireless computers and smart phones are now the norm, there is less excitement around seeing a TV that is 4″ larger, or a phone that might have a marginal increase in software and functionality. There is no big ‘WOW’ here this year, at least in my opinion.

The main thing I found myself playing with are the large scale ‘movable surfaces’ (I am sure there is a proper term for them) like Microsoft Surface. I could drill down like I do on my iPhone, and rotate and spin an image with the flick or drag of a finger or two. I could organize a stack of pictures I had imported into a shared media device and create a virtual scrap book, that could be emailed to my friends. Maybe not usable to me now, but I am sure there is some application and niche market these companies are trying to get into.

The computer-related booths didn’t have anything that garnered much attention from me. A partner of Blackberry that allowed you to stream TV (specifically financial-related news) to your phone. Cool, but I’m still not going to want to watch CNBC as I ride the subway to work. That’s what I have a 46″ LCD at home for, and the web at work. Asus was showing its wildly-popular eeePc’s, which having played with a little, am still not sold I could deal with the keyboard long term. It’s just too small with the screen size only being 10″.

We walked the short pretty fast yesterday, so today hopefully we can focus more on specific booths and dig more into what is coming down the road. Still looking for that product or new technology that is going to blow me away. But then again, maybe seeing how the economy is doing these days, this might just not be that year.