There are more different types, sizes, and brands of computers at CES than you can shake a stick at, though Apple is always conspicuously absent. In fact the Apple Tablet somewhat overshadowed much of the innovations of the Las Vegas show because clearly the Apple Tablet is going to be the “one to beat”, especially given the lack of any clearly “superb” tablet offering at CES.
Although I have not done enough research to generalize much about the best new PCs I think it’s clear that the mainsteam trend is towards smaller laptops and netbooks with robust features. Costs are going down – features that would have been unheard of at any cost 5 years ago are now standard on even a modest PC. Battery life is impressive and getting better – one of the ASUS PCs shown here had a battery that lasted something like 10 hours.
ASUS also has a new interesting line of *very large* laptops with high quality speakers built into the sides of the chassis to the left and right of the screen. Although heavy, these will offer huge power and a “desktop” feel for your mobile computing. Still, I think weight is the key factor driving down PC size and predict it’ll be the netbooks that dominate the market for the next few years.
It’s hard to describe the size of CES becuase it’s really, really big. This is a photo of *part* of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. There’s also a North Hall and Central Hall, the Hilton Venue and the Sands Venetian Convention Center (though that venue was a lot smaller than last year.
Still, the early numbers suggest attendance was up this year even as total exhibit space appeared to be somewhat smaller and the “party food” metric suggested that folks may have been scaling back somewhat despite the fact that this is generally considered the largest and most influenctial technology conference of the year (there is some dispute about that I understand as some conferenences have more attendees, though I think CES remains the largest in terms of exhibit square footage.
Monitoring and controlling energy use has become a major theme in technology and several CES vendors had devices, chips, and standards that worked to monitor and control energy use for appliances.
A question I’m working to answer with more research is whether the best approach for this type of home energy control are the solutions proposed by some of the high end exhibitors at CES – Control4 and Zigbee , or the very simple yet elegant “smart socket” approach taken by USA / Beijing’s “i-Sockets.com” where very inexpensive sockets communicate with the home PC and allow control of things plugged into these sockets via the PC and even remotely over the internet.
Well, it’s time to bring some order to the CES Coverage now that the hundreds of photos are uploaded and the frenzied week of new technologies is over.
I’m always disappointed in how little “Web 2.0″ there is at CES. In 2008 – the show year before the bubble burst and when big money was flowing very freely for big internet players – we saw a large number of major displays by internet companies like Yahoo and Godaddy. Last year and this year it seemed hard to find many “mostly internet” companies at CES although an interesting exception to this was COPIA – a brand new social networking website for book lovers that also provides a line of e-Readers. I’ll have a separate report on COPIA as it’s an interesting idea and approach that I think is designed as much to be aquired by Amazon than to become a separate player in the online book space.
Another exception to the “little Web at CES” rule is the rise of Twitter and Facebook as key marketing tools for many of the businesses there, as well as the fact most are bringing forms of interconnectivity into the equation. So we’re seeing the internet in huge use as something to *enhance* existing technologies more than as standalone websites. Is this simply because CES is mostly a consumer hardware show?
Will we find that the future of the internet is primarily how people relate in pure online environments or in how they interconnect their devices and flow their lives online?
One of the big stories here at CES is the rise of Twitter as a (the?) key tool for *companies* to connect to *consumers* as well as the bloggers and industry insiders that flock to Las Vegas every January for the CES show. This picture is from Wed setup when thousands of technicians set up thousands of exhibit booths here at the Venetian Sands.
Engadget, the official blog for the conference, has some really neat stations set up that show the twitter feed – I think only things tagged with CES related hashtags. UPDATE: Sorry….I’m not clear on what these stations are showing as it does not appear to be Twitter.
Still, Twitter has mainstreamed so fast – it was the missing application that allows fast and effective communication person to person or person to large group. I’ll be doing a longer feature on this with more pictures later in the conference over at the CES Blog.
The massive Las Vegas Convention Center is divided into North, South, and Central Hall. Also, there are usually several exhibits (e.g. a Microsoft Tech Home) located in the parking area for the Convention Center. For CES first timers take a few moments in front of the convention center to familiarize yourself with the layout of the halls so you won’t be quite as disoriented when you dive in:
UPDATE: Unlike in past years, the CES Conference is NOT using the Sands Convention Center for the big floor exhibitors so unless you have specific vendors to visit at the Venetian or Sands you’ll probably want to focus your efforts on the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bloggers and Press note that the Venetian facilities this year are limited to a small lounge, so you should probably plan on using the LVCC Press Room and Blogger lounges more than the Venetian.
Adding to both the fun and the challenge of the massive CES show is that it is … really … big. This is an excellent map from CES Web: CES_Show_Map (pdf). The many different maps they have at the show are – for me – kind of hard to work with unless I have a very specific vendor to find. I’d recommend that first timers print out This map and review it before arriving.
Targeting plus aimless wandering = success!
With some 2500 exhibitors I’d recommend you concentrate on finding things that really interest you and dig in deeper at those exhibits, and then simply walk the show floors somewhat systematically to take it all in.
Use the Venetian to LVCC Shuttle wisely Because of the wait times and 10 minutes of travel I’d avoid taking the shuttle back and forth from the Venetian to the Convention Center – rather pick different days to visit each, perhaps lining up the Venetian or Hilton venues with parties or other events you have there since the Convention Center pretty much closes down after about 5 or 6 pm though many people and some exhibitors will linger on.
UPDATE: Unlike in past years, CES is NOT using the Sands Convention Center for the big floor exhibitors so unless you have specific vendors to visit at the Venetian you’ll probably want to focus your efforts on the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bloggers and Press note that the Venetian facilities this year are limited to a small lounge, so you should probably plan on using the LVCC Press Room and Blogger lounges more than the Venetian.
The two ”huge” CES Venues are the Venetian / Sands Complex and the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Las Vegas Hilton is also a major venue and is located “adjacent” to the Convention Center’s North Hall, though as with everything in Vegas you are in for some long walks.
Unlike the Venetian Sands complex, the Las Vegas Convention Center is *not* located on the Las Vegas Strip, so be sure to plan some extra time to get there if you are staying in a strip hotel. If you are staying in downtown Las Vegas you’ll want to consider a cab directly over or allow about a half hour to take the “Deuce” bus to the Venetian Sands and then another ten minutes to catch a CES Shuttle from there to the Convention Center Venue.
The Las Vegas Convention Center has three *enormous* halls, North (near the Hilton), Central, and South. Although you could spend all day in any of these you’ll probably enjoy yourself most by walking a bit faster, stumbling into interesting exhibits and spending time where you see fit. For first timers I’d recommend you avoid planning many appointments or mapping out your day – rather simply try to get a good feel for the exhibit halls, stop in at the interesting venues, and try to find a few CES parties to attend. If you are a blogger or press this will be easier because the parties are often geared to those who will create some “business buzz” for the sponsors.
The Las Vegas Hilton Venue for CES is located adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center – which still means a walk of about 5-10 minutes but does not require you to take the free and frequent shuttle bus as you must to go from the Convention Center or the Hilton to the Venetian / Sands complex which is a few miles away.
The Hilton is the smallest and most easily manageable of the three major CES Venues which also include the Venetian / Sands and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In Las Vegas you’ll want to preserve your strength and take shuttles whenever possible because simply walking from one hotel to another along the strip can take some time in this city of mega-buildings. Also note that with buildings of this size your mind (and even maps) may tend to fool you into thinking things are closer than they actually are.
Although the CES Conference pretty much takes up all of the Las Vegas Strip for several days, there are three key venues for the conference. The largest is the Las Vegas Convention Center, a massive and sprawling complex with “North Hall” , “South Hall”, and “Central Hall”. This is where most of the exhibits are located. The second venue is the Las Vegas Hilton which is next door to North Hall, though among the mega-buildings of Las Vegas “next door” often means a shuttle ride or walk of 10+ minutes. The other major venue is the Venetian Hotel / Sands Convention Center, another huge and interconnected complex featuring several large convention halls and hundreds of hotel suites to feature specialized audio and other innovations.