CES is the world’s largest and most prestigious consumer computer event where over 110,000 attendees and 2700 sponsors come together in Las Vegas for product launches, presentations, and much more.
Word Camp 2009: This is the closest thing there is to an official WordPress blogging conference and only the second year of this one day event. Google’s Matt Cutts and WordPress Matt Mullenweg will join other distinguished presenters in what promises to be a great event.
Engadget is reporting that the the Amazon Kindle 2 will be announced on Monday with a release date of about February 24th. (Picture from Engadget website but I think it’s an Amazon press photo).
The new Kindle looks a lot better than the first edition, but at a reported price of $359 I’ll be surprised if this takes off to the extent many have predicted. However I certainly would say that based on the very weak Kindle imitations we saw at CES last month Amazon certainly appears poised to have the best in class book reader.
Amazon remains conspicuously silent on sales information for the Kindle leading to what I’m still inclined to think are extraordinary claims by some analysts, but if they really can corner the book reading market maybe the Kindle 2 really will become the new “must have” gadget.
Tekzilla’s Patrick Norton and Veronica Belmont tape their show at CES 2009 at the NBC Universal mega display area which included exhibits, surface computing tables, a bizarre TV Octopus thing,, and a “blogging lounge” where celebrity bloggers were featured.
Note to NBC – IMHO celebrity blogging is something of an Oxymoron – part of the value and power of the medium is the massive exchange and shared voices. Next year you might host a “real” blogging lounge along the lines of the superb Cntrstg Blog Lounge setup bloggers enjoyed over at the Wynn.
John will have more later on this topic as he had a chance to test one of the world’s top racing simulators on display at CES by Simcraft but I wanted to get these pictures online . We had a nice talk with Simcraft’s CEO about his plans for moving forward with this remarkable driving simulation tool. Rather than the arcade market with its liability challenges he explained that one of Simcraft’s major projects right now is a contract with the Department of Defense to use the simulators to train drivers for high speed runs when they must avoid IEDs in Iraq and other combat environments.
At $44,000 this is not accessible to most but with a remarkable cage suspension system that gives the driver 3 degrees of motion this really is likely to be the sim of choice for high end drivers who can pony up the cash.
Autoblog has more on this device – easily one of CES’ most impressive demos.
The most interesting aspects of the new Casio cameras will be high speed photography and effects which will allow regular users to deploy some things only pros could use before such as 60 frame per second sequences in simple cameras and 1200 frame per second high speed video from relatively inexpensive camcorders.
One of my *favorite* companies at CES was Freeplay with several innovative humanitarian technology solutions as well as their innovative line of self-powered lanterns, radios, and more.
As part of their Foundation Work, Freeplay is building cheap, self powered devices for remote medicine in developing world and another device to charge One Laptop Project computers. Below are three such devices – all self powered. Emergency Radio, One Laptop Per Child Power crank (I’m not clear if this is better than the one built into those devices but I think it’s to be used for OLPC plus other devices), and one of the best innovations at CES 2009 which is an inexpensive fetal heart monitor to be used by nurses and doctors in the field to help lower infant mortality. Freeplay’s work in this field will help save thousands of lives very cheaply because the lack of such medical data in the field is a key reason for the high mortality rates in the developing world.
The Palm Pre is the big winner here at CES with an incredibly innovative new phone design that some think may resurrect Palms flailing business in 2009. CNET has awarded the Palm Pre the prestigious best of show award for 2009, and so far there are no bad reviews of this device to my knowledge. As Treo users we are obviously excited to see if the Palm Pre shows better stability than what we’ve suffered with Treos, but this phone looks so good it’s clear it’ll be my next model as soon as Sprint carries the Pre.
John and I are prowling the floors at CES 2009 this afternoon and we’ve managed to bump into some interesting technologies as well as more than a few clever marketing pitches. The Hoover Reports economic analyst folks have a great looking Robot roaming the floors, but it turned out it is controlled by a human operator standing nearby and appears to have no to very limited autonomy. One of last year’s incredible technologies was the Darpa Autonomous Vehicle which drives itself, dodging pedestrians and traffic based on the software with no human control – not sure if Darpa is here this year or not.
A vehicle technology that really impressed us today was the Simcraft full motion simulator. John tested it out and we’ll have pictures soon, but Simcraft’s simulator offers 3 degrees of freedom thanks to a strong steel frame system combined with electric servo motors. Three monitors on the front provide a wrap around visual of the track and John was very impressed with the realism. At $44,000 this is not the best Anniversary gift for your wife but for the very high end consumer market and (I think far more importantly) military and training markets this represents a lot of potential cost savings over real vehicles. We spoke with Simcraft’s CTO Sean MacDonald who indicated they are now working with Dept of Defense on training projects for combat vehicles. More and pictures later….
Also impressive was a new slim format notebook coming up from ASUS with a raised keyboard that allows low/no fan thanks to increased air flow between the keys and the CPU. The unit was the most stylish of all the netbooks I’ve seen so far. We spoke with Daniel Alenquer of the Asus design team who should be very proud of bringing low cost form to the high function of the many new ASUS models. Engadget has a good report on what most will probably agree is the most stylish notebook design of the show: http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/10/video-asus-airo-laptop-with-amazing-sliding-keyboard/
Ford CEO Allan Mulally really impressed the crowd and reporters after his CES Keynote about Ford in vehicle connectivity and navigation innovations including systems to merge cellular connectivity with vehicle systems, a customizable dashboard, and a humanized communication interace called “Eva” which will allow the driver to request features and “talk” to the car.
Mulally was even more impressive after his talk when he answered questions from the tech crowd about Ford’s plans. His enthusiasm or Ford and for technology in cars came through loud and clear.
I had a chance to ask him if he thought all this innovation would require money from the government as part of the auto industry bailout. Ford is the only one of the three key US manufacturers that has not asked for money, and Mulally indicated they did not have plans to do so based on his assessments of the quality of Ford vehicles and how their new models are gaining acceptance even in Europe, especially Germany where Ford remains a popular brand name.
Although I wouldn’t bet on Ford not asking for a piece of the bailout pie eventually it is great to see a charismatic and technologically sophisticated fellow in charge of one of American’s most complex and valuable industries. If Mullaly can’t pull Ford’s feet out of the fire, nobody can.
I’m reposting Lyn’s excellent blogroll from the official CES blog at blog.ce.org. For a complete pictures you’ll need to check a lot of blogs because even the companies like Engadget and Gizmodo, each I think with 10+ people reporting here, will feature only a small fraction of all the conference action here at CES, which is really almost too massive to imagine in terms of the number of exhibits across the two convention centers.