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CES 2012

Sep 03 Written by 

The CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas was once again a circus with hordes of attendees as far as the eyes could see. Beyond the cache of the exhibition and the glamour of new gadgets and technology, CES is a marketplace. It’s a scene dominated by techno rivalry, confidence and good-natured competition that, while seemingly ridiculous at times (the biggest, the most powerful, the thinnest, the most connected and the most waterproof), sets the bar for what consumers can expect from the year ahead.

Here are a few technological advancements that deserve mention:

The LG 55 inch OLED TV is so incredibly precise when it comes to image clarity and colour that it’s difficult to determine the difference between its 3D image and reality (is it a TV screen or a window?).

The Samsung Demos 14-inch notebook is the first to offer a transparent screen that disappears when turned off. And it doesn’t stop there. Transparency is making its debut on household items too, like Samsung’s one-sided Smart Window prototype that lets you open and close the virtual blinds.

Smart TVs now accept voice commands, tell you the weather, plug into services like Netflix or Hulu and generally function unlike any television you currently own.

Tablets are commonplace, popping up in cars and major appliances like fridges and washing machines, and for the most part, are running on an Android system. The ever-pragmatic Asia takes absolute advantage of open source OS and, since they are obviously the best at producing tablets at laughably low prices, they inundate the market with tablets everywhere, including many for children and niche products, for example for the kitchen. The irony of it all is that tablets encourage the re-discovery of navigation and narration principles invented by the CD-ROM (the famous Living Books) and which have consequently dropped off the radar with it, much to the benefit of Internet link navigation. In the wake of tablets, there is a particular focus on ultrabooks, or ultra-thin, lightweight laptops that are accessible to the masses.

As is often the case at trade shows, some conferences are extremely educational, while others are more…hypnotic. This year, in all areas, there was much conversationbetween operators with rights and new players. It became clear that no one was going to “win” and, as one speaker put it, “Most of the innovative business models are the result of shared revenues deals.”