CES Attendance (unofficial) 114,000

Although I have not heard the number yet from CES which I think is holding a Press Conference right now, a major vendor gave me this number which is consistent with the many reports suggesting a significant scale back by many of the companies here at CES.    Although presumably the conference budgeting was already done long before the global economic meltdown it seems likely many have tried to scale back by sending fewer staff, sponsoring fewer parties etc.    That said I have not noticed a difference myself in terms of people or coverage – the press seems out in full force here at CES.

Although Alibaba is showing here I’m getting the distinct idea that web companies are very much out of CES – I’d guess for several years as the online economy shakes out, killing the weak while the strong struggle to survive amidst dramatically declining advertising revenues.

One conspicuously absent company is Yahoo which last year had a major display tent in the LVCC parking area and where Jerry Yang delivered a (very lackluster) introduction to what Yahoo was up to in 2009.    Not much was my conclusion after that talk.  In fact in my interview with Yahoo Co-Founder David Filo he almost insisted they did not want to be purchased my Microsoft and he certainly was being truthful (though probably not very wise), it was soon after CES that Microsoft offered Yahoo 31+ per share in a buyout offer many felt was a no-brainer at the time.    It now appears Microsoft will scoop up Yahoo Search and perhaps the whole show anyway, probably for far less than their original offers of 2008.

Disclosure:  Long on Yahoo

Palm Pre – will it steal the show here at CES?

Palm just released the product many have been anxiously awaiting, their new Smartphone the Palm “Pre” which uses Palm’s new operating system called Nova.    Engadget is reporting from the Palm press conference and has a good and postive early review of the Pre, which Palm is desparately hoping will resurrect their flagging Smartphone market share which has been dropping since the Palm Treo’s early successes in this niche.

Palm needed a knockout phone and this could be the ticket – anxious to handle one later in the conference and I’ll have more to say then.

Here’s Engaget’s first look at this amazing new mobile device.

Jeopardy at CES Las Vegas – Kelly Miyahara of the Clue Crew

Kelly Miyahara is on Jeopardy’s clue crew. Behind her is the elaborate set on which Jeopardy is filming their tournament of champions as well as some celebrity jeopardy segments. Filming is all week here at CES Las Vegas for March TV schedules.    SONY owns Jeopardy and the technology behind this remote broadcasting effort is from  … SONY.

FYI CES folks tickets to the evening tapings are long gone.

More CES 2009 Pictures

CES 2009 Las Vegas – Reinventing the Mobile Device and Mobile Network Session

Liveblogging here from CES 2009. Industry execs are discussing how to integreate the “full PC experience” into mobile devices, which they all seem to agree are the key growth market for online information. Some interesting observations about mobile internet:

Ubiquitous connectivity:

Browsers moving to devices other than just phones and PCs.

Location awareness is improving search and navigation.

India has more chidren than US has people. China and India as increasingly key drivers of mobile adoption. Mobile devices as a key status symbol of developing world. [I’m really interested in how the smartphone is changing the way the developing world does business and hope to report more on this later – last year CES showcased some really interesting projects like “MESH” which were bringing connectivity to rural poor. Another application was allowing fishermen to more effectively price (and distribute?) or their regional and local markets].

Mobile advertising: New formats and large growth expected. Ads moving “from annoyance to information to gift” [skeptical alert here – I think mobile must transition from an info rich medium which it is just beginning before it can move to the trust level people need to start being comfortable with the advertising.]

Leveraging phone meta data in terms of image and video and location awareness.  e.g.  if many photos come in from a certain location, that location is probably to be considered “interesting”.

Voice navigation has huge potential but is still a challenge to users.

CES Blog Coverage

With about 4000 press and bloggers in attendance you’ll soon find all the CES Coverage you could possibly need right in your browser.    Some of the sites with large teams here are:

Engadget

Gizmodo.com

CrunchGear  (this is the TechCrunch Gadget blog)

Also you’ll want to follow:

Scobleizer.com

Cntrstg.com

CESWEB.org

Twitter.com #CES09

…. more later …

(If you are covering CES feel free to leave your blog in the comments below)

Pre CES – Consumer Electronics Show Las Vegas Gears Up for 130,000 attendees

With thousands of Press already here and the blog and Press lounges more crowded than last year, CES is not nearly in full swing.   Tonight Steve Ballmer will give the Pre CES Keynote, a role that has passed to him from Bill Gates after last year’s very clever Gates farewell to CES which included the clever Gates video with his friends in politics and entertainment as well as a Guitar Hero performance.

CES is Las Vegas’ largest event and takes place pretty much all over town although the key venues are the Las Vegas Convention Center and next door Hilton Hotel and the Sands Convention Center and attached Venetian Hotel.     About 2700 Exhibitors are showcasing here to some 4000 press and 130,000 attendees.    There are also hundreds of sessions and many keynotes.    For details go to the CES Website:   CES 2009

CES 2009 – ASUS’ New Netbooks are Impressive

ASUS PC T101 H

ASUS PC T101 H

I think I was more impressed with the ASUS than Liliputing, but I found the idea of converting the netbook to a tablet with a quick flip, and then being able to attach this unit on a dashboard for a big GIS unit most excellent. The rep told me the GIS application will not be Google’s and I’m not clear how they’ll run that but one possibility would be the trick Blaupunkt was showcasing, also as CES Unveiled, where the user connects a device to their phone via bluetooth and then uses the mobile wireless plan to power these in-car broadband applications. Maybe I fell off the pumpkin truck but I had not heard of doing broadband in this fashion and I think that has some excellent implications for in-car mobile.

later…. at an HP presentation waiting to play with HPs similar offering which is already out, the HP tx2 tablet.   They’ve done a lot of studies in India and concluded that touch can “unlock access” to people who would not have access in tradtional form.   This is a very interesting aspect of emerging countries technology though I’m somewhat skeptical that building for illiterate folks is superior to … teaching them to read first.

Newer and better Palm smartphone to debut Thursday at CES

Since the Treo’s early days as the smartphone of choice for many, Palm has painfully been lagging others – especially the iPhone – in terms of mobile innovations.   However CrunchGear is reporting from a “trusted source” that Palm will launch a new device on Thursday, powered by an operating system called “Nova”, that may prove one of the sensational new products to be launched at CES.

The new Palm is reported to have a large touchscreen and a slide-down keyboard.  Lack of a physical keyboard is arguably the Achilles heel of the Apple iPhone where small screens have plagued all Palm devices to date so if this has both it could be a strong competitor in this very rapidly evolving field of smartphones and powerful mobile devices.

As a Treo user I’ve been anxious to make the jump to a new phone for some time and it’ll be nice to have a chance to try out some of best new phones for 2009 at CES this coming week.     Hopefully Palm’s new phone will at least match the high standards of other devices coming on the market soon.

Use Boxee? Get a free trip to CES

Update: lots of competition for a few slots so I think chances are somewhat slim:
http://blog.boxee.tv/ces-video-pitches/

If you are a Boxee user you may want to consider this deal from the Boxee folks which is offering a *free trip to Las Vegas* including Airfare in exchange for helping run some Boxee demos.     Frankly for anybody who can’t afford their own conference this is a wonderful deal and hats off ot the Boxee folks for thinking of this approach to booth staffing:

Boxee will do this:

  • take care of your flight + hotel (Jan 7th – 10th) + food/drinks during the show
  • equip you with boxee shirts + schwag

You will do this:

  • spend half the day with us giving boxee demos, telling people how boxee rocks, etc.
  • spend the other half walking the show and checking out all the cool gadgets

You’ll need to send them a video showing you promoting Boxee and presumably they’ll get more than enough entries but I bet if you are good on video you’ll get to go to this.

The only problem is that they pick the folks tomorrow so if you want to do this it’ll have to be right … now.

http://blog.boxee.tv/2009/01/01/last-minute-opportunity-for-boxee-users-at-ces/