By Monte FergusonA Tale of Two Trade Shows
After the Christmas buying season frenzy has worn down most of the
country gets back to everyday affairs. But for the gadget geek in the
family the New Year brings in two big electronics trade shows. One is
geared to industry insiders and professionals, CES, the other to
consumers, MacWorld Expo. The difference in focus, and audience ensures
that the shows are very different affairs.
Why do we focus on CES? Because it encompasses everyone outside of
Apple. It gives us a peek into the trends and predictions from the
mainstream electronics makers. Besides it's usually downright fun to
look at the oddball announcements and products that come out at CES.
CES is a huge event. No doubt about that. It is held in Las Vegas after
all. The big behind the scenes buzz was consumer electronics are hot.
That's no surprise to us. But what is news is that all kinds of big
businesses are taking notice that consumer electronics have hit the
mainstream. We're talking; publishers eyeing tablets and e-readers,
telecoms talking about content distribution, Hollywood execs looking to
broker said content distribution deals. They're all looking at consumer
electronics as the next "Big Thing" to expand their business'.
This year the big product buzz was all about tablets. Practically
everyone either had a tablet coming out or would have one coming out
"soon". The biggest announcements at the show were the Motorola Xoom and
the RIM Playbook. All of these vendors are scrambling to try to tap into
this new market that Apple basically created. The problem is that Apple
not only has first mover advantage, but thanks to their scale, they can
underprice the competition. Our consensus was that unless they can
totally pull something out of nowhere all of these tablets will be dead
in the water in 3 months. Much like the seven inch tablets that were
supposed to be iPad killers last year.
Another big trend at this years show was 3D. Last year the big push was
in 3D tv. This year 3D is being brought to laptop displays. Then you
have cameras who claim to be capable of shooting 3D images. Camcorders
are now being offered that can shoot in 3D. Lastly, Nintendo is set to
announce a 3D capable handheld gaming system. Our take on this is that
it's a niche interest at this point. It makes for great demos but its
not a compelling feature to pay extra for.
On a humorous aside, even though Apple does not attend CES they were
well represented. There are tons of vendors hawking all kinds of
iPad/iPod/iPod Touch cases, skins, keyboards and other accessories.
We also took note of what Microsoft had to say this year. CES is MSís
chance to strut their stuff on stage. Much like Apple used to do at
MacWorld. This years announcements were pretty much ho hum. They
announced Windows 8 and that they would get it running on ARM
processors, like the iPad uses, as well as x86 processors from Intel an
Overall the impression we had was that CES was a lot of "sound and fury
Posted: Thursday, April 14th, 2011