Yes, I know CES was more than a week ago. Unfortunately, the sinus infection given to me by some anonymous show attendee (I’m looking at YOU sneezy guy on the monorail) has forestalled my blogging until now. But don’t worry. You didn’t miss anything – CES went exactly as planned. If it wasn’t 4G, a tablet or 3DTV then it really didn’t garner much attention (with one exception, but I’m getting to that). And, despite the lack of surprises, this is an encouraging development for the industry.
Why? Well, the last thing we need right now is disruption – the predictive quality of this year’s show really illustrated for me the developmental path we’re on for the next year or so. Until 4G services become truly widespread and jumpstart new types of service development, I wouldn’t be surprised if the news we see takes the form of incremental improvements to what we’ve already got. I can’t think of a more stable path for a recovering economy. We need some time to see which of these spaghetti noodles actually sticks to the ceiling so to speak. And most of them won’t – I guarantee that 90 percent of the tablets (I counted at least 18 different models) displayed won’t be coming back in 2012.
For me, what was much more interesting were the dramatic improvements in infrastructure that are taking place to support the coming wave of new services and content. No where were these improvements better highlighted than in villas attached to the Hilton, where companies like Sigma Designs
held court with literally hundreds of OEMs, showcasing the latest silicon technologies to support streaming media, home entertainment networking, 3DTV and much, much more. You can read more about Sigma’s advances here and here.
As for other interesting items, instead of focusing on 4G or tablets , let’s take a look at some of the unsung gadgets at this year’s CES.
Truly useful iPhone cases – I tried to buy one of these on the show floor, but no dice.
Creepy Animatronic Toys – Finally, a whole new generation of toys that scare your kids silly. This is the biggest breakthrough since clowns…
Pre-Natal Education Technology – http://www.babyplus.com/ – Helicopter parents everywhere rejoice! You can now educate your child BEFORE he or she is born! I can only imagine this will jumpstart the race for “exclusive” pre-natal education that requires a waiting list…
Time-Wasting 2.0 – This is just a ball that you control with your iPhone. No, it doesn’t do anything else. I still want one.
On a more serious note, there were a lot of green-oriented consumer electronics that seemed to be overlooked by many in the press. Things like Eton’s solar-powered portable speakers were really quite interesting.
This green theme extended to many different products, including one that seemed to steal the show. The nPower PEG (short for Personal Energy Generator) from Tremont Electric is a small device that you put in your backpack or purse as you go about your day. The kinetic energy generated from your movement charges batteries that can then charge your mobile phone, camera, etc. Neat huh?
What’s more interesting to me as a PR person is the power this clean little story generated on its own. While companies like Panasonic spent millions and millions of dollars on enormous booths and sand sculptors (ostentatious examples below)…
…Tremont Electric was able to secure more coverage than many brand names in places like Good Morning America, NBC, BBC, G4, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and many, many more without as much as lifting a finger. The lesson? A great story trumps everything when it comes to good PR.