The claim of Berlin’s International Radio Show (IFA) to be the biggest consumer electronics show in the world is fiercely contested by the Consumer Electronics Association in America, which organises the better known CES in Las Vegas.
But this week’s IFA is certainly better attended as well as being better timed than its January counterpart in terms of gauging what sort of year the industry is having and revealing what are the likely best-sellers in the upcoming holiday season.
The Consumer Electronics Show has closed its doors in Las Vegas for another year, with attendances back to 2008 levels, after two years of recovering from recession. It certainly felt like it was back to the good old bad old days – with long lines at bus stops, taxi stands and the monorail, crowded halls and crashing communications. Preliminary attendance estimates from the Consumer Electronics Association bear this out with more than 140,000 people visiting the four-day event.
“You shouldn’t have to have a PhD as a consumer to be able to figure out how to get this stuff,” Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner’s chairman and chief executive said at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Anyone trying to navigate through the forest of new entertainment devices and services unveiled at CES would sympathise, but for the media companies present the event served up a particularly complex mix of promise and challenges.
Heading into its second official day, coverage for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show isn’t letting up. While our team has been updating from Las Vegas, and will continue to do so, let’s take a look around the web for what others have been talking about.
Microsoft has outlined plans to adapt the next version of Windows for the low-power ARM processor architecture that already underpins the iPad. Steven Sinofsky, head of the Windows and Windows Live division, went onstage at CES in Las Vegas to lay out an important shift in Microsoft’s technology strategy (though, in an attempt to appease Intel and AMD, he also described this as a broader evolution that includes them.)
Web-connected cars could be the next big thing, according to the steer we’re being given about CES announcements from the likes of Audi, Ford and Toyota this week. But you can even feel connected in an old banger, thanks to a rear-view mirror device launched by OnStar at a press conference on Tuesday night.
The growing number of sensors in devices and the symbiotic relationship between the latest hardware and the apps that enrich them were picked out as 2011 CES trends to watch by analysts from the Consumer Electronics Association on Tuesday. Fitness, health and sporting activities are new areas being exploited – among the gadgets highlighted at the CEA’s opening press conference were Zeal Optics’ Transcend ski goggles, which feature a heads-up display as you race down the mountain, showing speed, distance covered, temperature and altitude – the latter statistic measured using a pressure sensor.
No secret about where much of the attention will be directed when this year’s Consumer Electronics Show officially opens on Thursday in Las Vegas: tablet computers – lots of them. Click the link below to see our coverage of the early news around CES. And come back the rest of this week for updates from our team at the show, including live coverage of some of the big announcements.