In my last posting here, I mentioned how I dislike New Year’s Eve because of the crowds, the noise, the parties.  So where is your faithful reporter just one week later?  In Las Vegas, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with 110,000 of my closest friends.

 

I’ve been a regular attendee of CES for the last four or five years, and I have seen fads come and go.  A few years ago, it was all about size – how big could the high-definition televisions become and how small could the mobile devices be shrunk.  Last year, it was all about austerity – the mood was somber and the big message was about being “green” to save the planet.

 

This year, the buzz is back.  There is a sense of excitement at CES this year, and the product announcements keep rolling out.  You can check any of the tech blogs to see the details of specific companies and their products, but I wanted to mention a few trends that I have seen.

 

First, I am quite surprised at how prevalent 3D video is at the show.  Just about all the big players have 3D demonstrations.  And the quality is unbelievable.  Of course, the technology still suffers a few drawbacks – the need for special (high-priced) glasses, for instance.  One brilliant (or perhaps futile) marketing executive has decided to combat this by hiring attractive women to hang out at the booth and wear 3D glasses.  I think the industry would love to see 3D glasses become a new fashion accessory.

 

Speaking of fashion, I remember a time several years ago when the mobile device vendors would focus their booth displays on the device itself – treating the phone as a fashion item.  This year, the traditional device vendors (especially Motorola and Nokia) are downplaying the significance of the hardware and highlighting their integration with social networking and other applications. 

 

In the past, display monitors were big – now they are slim.  LG Electronics is showing a 55" full LED display that they claim to be the “world’s slimmest” at 6.9mm. 

 

As regular readers know, I spend most of my time at Dialogic thinking about mobile video.   Several product demonstrations here are making it clear that the old days of “small screen, low bandwidth, poor quality” are long gone.   Many vendors are showing devices purposely-built for video and multimedia – with larger and higher-quality screen displays.  Companies are demonstrating LTE network capabilities with incredibly high bandwidth.  And LG is showcasing its Expo handheld device that contains an integrated projector, allowing users to display the contents of the screen onto a wall so it can be shared with others in real time.

 

It’s an exciting time to be here.  If the excitement at CES is an early indicator of recovery in the tech sector, then I am optimistic for our future. 

 

Yeah, the crowds are rough, and the queues are long just about everywhere you go in town.  And a cheeseburger at the convention center costs $10.  But hey, as they say, that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.