The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is always one of the biggest trade events on the calendar. This year was certainly no different.
Event organizers saw the largest show in the 40 year history of CES, which brought in more than 140,000 attendees, who roamed an exhibit space of around 1.8 million square feet. The attendees (26,000 international) saw the latest consumer tech products from 2,700 exhibitors on January 8th through the 11th.
"The show had buzz and optimism and attracted the world leaders of the content, technology and services, communications and automobile industries," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. "It is a Mecca, a vision for a better world, a world that only technology can provide."
The show floor was alive with more than 20,000 product launches and partnership announcements, spanning across industries and connecting consumers with more features, services and control of the content incorporated into electronic devices. A new convergence of consumer devices emerged on the show floor, consolidating existing product categories with new digital content and services to create unique, multifunctional products.
Karen Chupka, senior vice president of events and conferences for the CEA, called it, "The best ever International CES."
And without question, the products were the stars of the show. Here's a sample of some of the CES' most interesting.
IPhone Hype Increases
The buzz surrounding Apple's iPhone reverberated throughout the event halls. The new product's potential to shake up the mobile device market by combining phone, web access and the traditional iPod music player into one sleek product was the talk of Las Vegas and the blogosphere worldwide.
The iPhone had a bigger high tech glitz quotient than anything at CES. It is largely a testament to how the mobile handheld device market is moving rapidly to video broadcast capabilities. Indeed, iPhone could accelerate that video on the go revolution (happening in Europe and Asia at a much faster pace) by as much as two years in the U.S.
"This is dramatic in the sense that it is Apple. Apple adds validation," said Kip Kokinakis, CEO of MicroOptical. "Apple realizes they could lose their MP3 business to the phone. That is why it is a powerful statement."
Most likely, the biggest iPhone bang at the show came at a packed press conference, at which Cingular touted its multiyear exclusive agreement to provide wireless service for the iPhone.
Philips' Blu-Ray Universal DVD Player
Philips rolled out its Super Multi Blue Player, a product that can play Blu-ray and HD DVD discs from the same tray. The product was due to ship at the beginning of February for $1,199 per retail unit. It will offer HD picture quality at 1920x1080p, and has an HDMI port, as well as an optical 5.1 channel audio output.
Consumers are reportedly hesitant to buy single format players because they are not sure which format will emerge victorious and do not want to be left with an obsolete player. LG offers this combo player as a solution to that conundrum. Even though LG is a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, company officials believed it was inevitable that both formats would be unified into a single player. They decided to take the initiative and develop the first such player themselves.
Technically, how does it work? Inside the player are two lenses, one for each format. The first lens, for Blu-ray, reads data located on a shallow level of the disc, and there is another lens specifically for HD DVD, DVDs and conventional CDs, and this reads deeper into the disc.
Ipod Dock Dispenses TP
One of the oddball items present at CES was the Stereo Dock for Apple's iPod, with Bath Tissue Holder, made by Atech. The Bath Tissue Holder item is actually a toilet paper holder, and the wall mounted speaker dispenses tissue while playing music.
The product has four water resistant speakers that the company says, "Delivers exceptional clarity and high quality sound." Perhaps it dispenses toilet paper unusually well, too. The unit's dock also recharges the iPod. Froogle.com listed it as being available for retail at $79.99 and $103 from retailers across the U.S.
New Boom Box Style
What's better than a boom box? With nostalgia in mind, Lifepop is banking on the answer to that question being, "A purse or bag with built in speakers."
Lifepop's Atom Amp portable mini speaker bags and cases target consumers with portable audio devices and MP3 mobile phones. The bags have tiny external speakers that deliver 1,400 milliwatts of sound. Plug the MP3 or mobile phone into a headphone jack, play a song, and speakers from the bag sound off the music.
The smallest Atom Amp case is the $24 Mini Boom Boom, which resembles a boom box but is specifically designed for cell phones and portable music players.
It also comes as a clutch style purse ($49 retail), a messenger bag ($50 to $75) and a backpack ($40). It is slated to ship in April.
Philips Strikes Again With Cool Cordless Handsets
Imitators may try to copy the innovative features of Philips' DECT ID9371B, announced at CES. Designed like a cell phone, this slim cordless handset has a high quality color screen and stores 250 names and numbers in its phone book.
Hidden inside is an answering machine that can keep 15 minutes of messages. Users can export a phone book from a cell phone's SIM card to the cordless handset. The phone will become available in the second quarter and is expected to pull a retail price of $179.
Herman Miller's Leaf Personal LED (light emitting diode) tabletop light drew raves at CES for its environmentally friendly and energy saving design. The lamp contains 20 LEDs, transmitting ambient light in colors between light blue and light yellow.
It can be utilized as a reading or task light when using a computer, among many other uses. Meanwhile, the gadget is not meant to light up an entire room.
The light dims or increases by simply touching the base of the lamp. It has a lifespan of between 60,000 and 100,000 hours. It uses between eight and nine watts and drains 40 percent less energy compared to a 13 watt compact fluorescent light.
Though it may save users money in the long run, the retail price is expected to be around $499 to $540, depending on the design. It is already shipping in the U.S.
For more information, contact:
Consumer Electronics Show
Director of Emerging Technology
1 Infinite Loop MS: 301-4IR
Cupertino, CA 95014
Koninklijke Philips Electronics
Atech Flash Technology, Inc.
46045 Warm Springs Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94539
Herman Miller's Leaf
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