Highlights from CES Las Vegas 2011
The International CES is at the forefront of the electronics world, bringing new and improved products that are set to hit market within the next five years. Luckily for alaTest, their New York based US Sales team had the privilege of attending this year to spread the gospel of alaTest and possibly try their hand on the tables as well (but don’t tell Arie). Aside from conducting a plethora of business meetings, putting some faces to the names of people within the digital world, and prospecting new clients, we had the opportunity to get our hands on the newest pieces of technology from around the world.
Amidst the tablet wars, Android vs. Windows, and battle for connected TV supremacy we were able to establish the overarching theme of the show to be “Connectivity: How to link and sync all aspects of your digital life into as few gadgets as possible.” Here are the five gadgets, gizmos, and pieces of technology (in no particular order) we found to be the most impressive.
1. The Blackberry Playbook:
Okay, so we know we’re initially stirring the pot here with this pick. The lion’s share of votes went out the Motorola Xoom for being the best tablet at CES, and we even overheard someone calling it the “iPad killer” (a little harsh in our book), but coming from a group of guys who have officially joined the Apple congregation, the Playbook is the only tablet that came close to wowing us. The OS was built by QNX, the company that builds the OS for the FAA’s computer systems (yes the one that is controlling where your plane flies) in order to create a no-crash-no-glitch tablet that would allow you to simultaneously surf the web, listen to movies, watch videos, and email your long-lost relatives, and it does exactly that. The screen was responsive, the applications were fast, and it even syncs with your blackberry so any text or email you send from the Playbook shows up in your phones history. Oh, and it has Flash (time to get with it Apple).
2. Fulton Innovation’s eCoupled Wireless Power:
This concept isn’t all that new to the tech world, as you can find it readily in use with your Powermat charging device. What Fulton Innovation was able to do, though, was show the next-generation of practical integrations for a technology such as this. In the future (we hope sooner than later), you’ll be charging your Tesla electric car, cooking your soup, running your blender, and using your laptop all at once, without the existence of one wire or plug. Oh, and if you’re so into your streaming episode of Big Bang Theory that you forget about your soup, your iPhone (or iPad) will automatically let you know when it’s ready to be eaten.
3. The Sony Internet TV with Google TV:
This, again, is a technology that is currently on the market today, but since the theme of the whole show (in our eyes) was connectivity, we couldn’t leave this out. Think about how many times you’ve sat on your couch surfing the web on your laptop, tweeting from your iPhone, and watching your favorite movie live streaming from Netflix on your Xbox. The Sony Internet TV puts an end to that. Seamlessly linking your cable, DVR, internet apps, and a live Google search, the Sony Internet TV allows you to compress the rest of your tech life into a compact (and rather sleek) remote, complete with a QWERTY keyboard. The next time you feel like watching 30 Rock simply enter a search and you’ll be shown where to see streaming internet videos, where it’s located on your DVR, which channels are playing it and when, and who’s recently tweeted about the show. This device is the definition of “connectivity.”
4. LG’s INFINIA Line of LED TVs:
With dozens of television manufacturers all over the show, it was hard to determine which the “best” was and what made one TV stand out ahead of another. In our opinion, the INFINIA line grabs your attention right off the bat. At just over one inch thick, a vivid and utterly stunning display, and 3D ready (with the use of realD glasses that retail for somewhere around 10 USD) this was a winner. In a world of 240HZ 1080p and 3D technology it’s very hard to be taken aback by one television over another, but LG easily did that and may have even converted us into 3D believers!
5. The Windows Phone:
As mention before, alaTest’s New York City office has fully jumped on the Apple bandwagon, so any Windows product is going to be a hard sell. This phone, though, quickly grabbed our attention, and seemed to wow anyone who got their hands on it. In a show full of phones that all seemed to be playing the iPhone catch up game, Windows successfully differentiated itself by creating a phone with a home screen that appears to be alive and moving, applications that tie together your work and personal life, a vivid, highly responsive display (mostly due to their partnerships with Samsung and LG), and a user-friendly OS that completely out-performed any Android currently on market (we’ve heard great things about the new Android OS set to come out, though). For someone who isn’t quite ready to commit themselves to Steve Jobs, the Windows phone is a fine option, although we still think you’d have more fun playing Angry Birds on your iPhone 4.
For those that didn’t have such a great opportunity to experience the International CES in person, we hope that you get there next year. It truly is an amazing show, with the greatest brands and manufacturers really “flexing” their tech muscles on a global stage. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we hope to share for years to come!