Whilst the show itself is fairly overwhelming in the sheer size and variety I came away slightly disappointed that I did not discover anything both new and amazing, there were several themes to the show repeated over several companies and booths (mp3 players, Bluetooth headphones/navigation/adapters, powerline networking, media centres). Even the big Microsoft stand was primarily showing products that are well known. And the at show winner of best gadget CES 2005 was the Dell Axim PDA!!! The show is actually too big to cover in four days if you want to attend any of the conference sessions either as I came to find out
This document is a brief summary of what I saw at the show, it is not a complete report on all the discussions had or the potential outcomes of these as I wanted to keep it brief, if anything catches your interest please call or mail me for further info.
On a final note I lost one days notes and pictures so some details are sketchy
Overwhelming amount of mp3 players at the show from the much reported Creative Zen and Muvo, and yes their stand is very big and busy, to an endless stream of Asian manufacturers that have created their own, varying levels of storage, most all look nice and work well enough, however the UI is almost without exception poor to plain awful.
Notable – Creative Zen Micro, automatic playlist generation on device based on listening profile, album of the day, rarely heard etc – removable battery, spare costs $30, using two you can get almost 24hrs continuous playack)
The best screen by far came from Ovidean with it’s AVIAh player using a 2.48 inch OLED
EZMAX - www.ezmax.co.kr
Worlds first 2GB flash memory player, nice hardware, slightly better UI, mp3, OGG, WMA, ASF, OLED screens, FM radio listening & encoding, 3D sound, 20 hours playing time (apart from the memory most devices support this feature list)
iAudio had something that I found very compelling which is an inline LCD display on the headphones displaying the current playing info, in a device that can hold 1000’s of songs I don’t believe everyone knows every song they are listening to anymore ( I know for a fact I don’t) and so this is something that I would expect to see more of in the future, especially as there are so many devices now there needs to be a cool USP to stand out which isn’t marketing based (like being backed by some trendy hip hop star a la Rocbox)
Portable Media Devices
Best of the show for me was the Samsung device, very slick design. Light and easy to use. Microsoft had a stand with all the ‘Play for Sure’ devices on too but this was the best. However there was one company showing a smaller device with an OLED screen which was phenomenal quality wise and made a huge difference to the engagement of the user in the overall experience (sadly I have lost the picture of it)
Fashion Forward Electronics for all Ages – www.inclosia.com farbrics, real wood and real metal to electronic devices, in talks with Major handset manufacturers but not prepared to discuss
Embedded Multimedia Solutions – www.intervideo.com. Interesting suite of apps designed to allow you to watch video clips in MPEG4 and H.264 and also record video on handset, available on all major OS platforms inc Windows Mobile , Symbian and Linux
Also Mobile copy allowing content to be copied from apps direct to phones in three easy steps
Remote Control Extender – www.nghp.net
Replace a battery in any remote control with this RF transmitter, hook a receiver up to the original equipment and position an IR led and you can control any kit from anywhere in the house, very cool and innovative
Several companies including Netgear touting powerline basaed products allowing you to use the standard mains ring in your house to connect devices over a home network , including a WiFi access point that you can plug in anywhere in the house to extend your personal network.
MusicMagic – Predexis
Waveform analysis of the pattern (beat, instrument, melody) that is then used to create dynamic playlists based on the pattern of a seed track, client for PC, Soundbridge, Entempo (www.entempo.com) 20GB HDD mp3 player. (has patented ShoX technology to give up to 10 times greater protection against knocks, shock and drops than any other HDD based player supposedly.
Works on any classification of music, if fingerprint not already in database it is created and submitted to the service, can also shuffle music to suit current pattern of playing track
Web services architecture allows it to be presented to any online store to help recommend similar music
TV on mobile – MobiTV
A small booth but a large contingent of girls employed to wonder the show and get people to check out the product which seemed to work very well, low quality streams to WMP in smartphones
GG Telecom (and many other Asian tech)
Bluetooth Stereo headphones, good sound, good battery life (5-8 hours listening, 120 standby). Several companies showing these headsets, some more polished than others, BT usb module in laptop or plugin BT module for any device with standard jack. NO native support for handsets found so far. Discussions with a couple revealed that enabling a handset with stereo headphones that include a mic to act as headset are next gen coming later this year
VoIP – kiwitalk, Vonage, Belkin and many many Asian tech
It is clear that VoIP is considered to be ready for mass market, pitched by several companies and approaches from dedicated hardware devices that you plug in to network to software only, wide variety of price plans, pay per call, subscription
Remote Access / m-box – www.orb.com www.axentra.com www.gloolabs.com
Almost as ubiquitous at the show as Home media servers, quite simply everywhere you look there is an offering on these two propositions.
There are several commercially available solutions for the equivalent of our current m-box product, it’s almost uncanny how the features match, some have out of the box solutions at $899 plus monthly subscription, take it home, plug in your broadband, browse from any internet enabled device
Bluetooth kit for iPod – www.tentechnology.com
Clip in your iPod (+mini) and listen to music on wireless Bluetooth headphones, or use Bluetooth remote control naviPlay adapter to control iPod and listen to music wirelessly
Amazingly simple product , a special pad that is stuck to back of any device , like anti slip, you can put phone on a 45 degree surface and it simply stays, also makes holding some devices while texting so much more comfortable
Gizmondo – www.gizmondo.com
Very large and funky stand (DJ, body poppers, girls on skates) affirming the target segment for this device, plenty of them on show to play with, crashed every device I played with which was not so good, however a powerful and slick experience in between, some discussions around their proposition (everything except voice in one device), the target segment are big texters though and this device is not in my opinion such a device. More in depth discussions to be held once NDA in place.
Phone Socks !!
Flash Memory & CE-ATA
Many booths, many sizes, the association was a useful discussion re sizes vs price against HDD, also the introduction of a completely new standard for small HDD in portable devices, faster, less power draw supported by big industry players and relevant to large storage mp3 phones
Audible – www.audible.com
Long discussions about the merits of their service, they have talked to orange and FTRD in the past but are still keen to try and do something with us.
Flexible keyboard – www.eleksen.com
Makers of keyboard for previous SPV, have a new Bluetooth version prototype, works very well, more flexible, can crush it, screw it up, spill water on it and it works fine, still need to figure out how to support the device, however e-grips could sort that out, they also showed a new solution to lock suitcases using a flexible keypad
Nvidia – www.nvidia.com
They are keen to talk to us and involve in discussions with handset manufactures around proper 3D games for phones, the prototype above is very capable and is going into one manufacturers handset very soon, introduction being made to account manager for carriers to discussion further. The GoForce chip powers the new Gizmondo.
World’s first portable wireless internet radio – www.torian.com.au. Also allows recording, mp3 playback, FM receiver, news/sport/weather ticker built in.
Although there was a much publicised announcement about the Apple & Moto phone on the actual booth there was no sign of anything about it, and when asked the most that could be got was a contact name to follow up with after the show (Alberto Morriando)
They also have developed a Java based version of Shazam which was getting a lot of interest, the device records the sound and then sends to server for analysis, no shortcode to remember
6GB 1” microdrive very soon, announced at CES that it would be 6-10GB but the 10GB will be at the very end of the year if then even, keen to continue long running discussions over handsets and how we see the evolution to large capacity handsets.
Mobile eyewear, demonstrated on Docomo handset with video out, reproduces a good quality display but I found it bulky and uncomfortable and could not see someone watching any length of content on it, they are working on making it lighter