Review from CES
Cue the Sheryl Crow music, because it is time to go home. As CES 2013 comes to a close, the most important question must now be answered… what does it all mean? Well, for the most part, the majority of what we saw had absolutely nothing to do with the wireless industry. CES is, after all, an electronics show and not necessarily focused on wireless. However, most of the major wireless players were in attendance, so we can get a feel for what we might see the rest of the year and possibly next year.
Big, non-wireless related tech news for CES 2013 includes so many things that my head has just now stopped spinning; and I left the Las Vegas Convention Center almost 24 hours ago. The 2 main things I took away this year:
1) Rappers apparently sell headphones.
2) New TV’s are huge, with amazing resolutions, and can do more things than your laptop.
I suppose it was inevitable after HTC’s (now reversed) $300 million investment in Beats By Dr. Dre, that copycats would surface and wow, have they ever. Xzibit is now the “brand ambassador” for Monster gaming headphones, Ludacris is endorsing Soul Headphones, and 50 Cent is pushing SMS Audio. I guess being a musician automatically qualifies you as an audiophile. Next thing you know Justin Bieber will have his own line. Oh wait, he already does. As far as quality goes, I couldn’t tell a difference between any of the brands. They all sound good and they are all way too expensive.
In the TV department, and also the phone department, size was everything at CES this year. Samsung, LG, TCL, and Sharp all had TV’s in excess of 80 inches. Not only that, but most were promoting their new 4K TV’s, so for those of us still trying to update our movie collection from DVD to Blu-ray, be ready to buy them all yet again on UltraHD. Sharp, not to be outdone by competitors, didn’t have many 4K TV’s on display. They went one step further and had an 85-inch 8K LED-lit LCD TV prototype in their booth. That’s 7680 x 4320 pixels!
The quest for higher display resolutions seemed to trump the desire for 3D TV’s as the amount of 3D TV’s on display seemed far less than last year. The one exception was the ever impressive entryway to LG’s booth, which features 126 3D screens combined to make the “World’s Largest 3D Video wall”.
While 3D TV’s weren’t nearly as prevalent, Smart TV’s and Smart devices were everywhere. TV’s with built in voice and motion control, apps, streaming services, and embedded Android were in every TV manufacturers booth, with Android showing up on devices never before imagined, or needed.
The open source nature of Android (with its price tag of $0) has long been one of its best selling points. Device manufacturers are obviously aware of this, taking advantage of the OS’s popularity and porting it to nearly every device imaginable. From LG’s Android powered oven to ViewSonic’s Android 4.1 embedded VSD240 display, to Samsung and Polaroid’s Android cameras, and back to Parrot’s Asteroid car stereo system, it’s clear that Android has evolved beyond smartphones and tablets.
Speaking of Android, have you ever thought your phone screen was too small? Good! Apparently you aren’t alone as multiple device manufacturers announced new Android devices with screens over 5 inches. There was the Huawei Ascend Mate with a 6.1 inch screen, the Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 with a 5.5 inch display, and the Huawei Ascend D2, Sony Xperia Z, ZTE Grand S, Alcatel Scribe X all showing up with 5 inch screens.
Above is a picture of the Huawei Ascend Mate next to a Samsung Galaxy SIII, which by most accounts is a large phone. Now all I need are pants with bigger, and probably deeper, pockets.
I’ll leave with what I think is the coolest, and probably most game-changing piece of hardware to show up at CES this year- Samsung Youm. While it could be a while before we see any major implementations of this new hardware, it’s clear from Samsung’s video, that this technology opens an entirely new field of innovation. With a little luck, this nerd will be able to report on some of those new devices from CES 2014.