Leaving Las Vegas: A CES Finale

By January 9, 2006General

This is the final in a series of reports from the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by NAM-er Peggy Ireland.

This weekend marked the end of the 2006 International CES. As a sign in the Panasonic area said, “It’s all happening here.”

There truly is something for everyone. For the young kids, Yamaha was demonstrating Real Rhythm Hand Drums. And there were more toys and devices for the older kids, such as me, than one could imagine.

An effort to focus on the college market is the basis of the Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA’s) techknowoverload (TKO) tour, where consumer electronics products are taken from the board room to the dorm room. The spring tour will be targeting more than 100 universities during spring break.

One device that caught my eye was the Toastit Card Reader by boynq. It looks like a little mini-toaster, but is actually a 7 in 1 memory card reader compatible with Compact Flash I & II, MicroDrive, SD, MMC, memory stick and xD. And good news, it is plug and play, with no software required.

After seeing various iterations over the years of digital pens, I was quite impressed with EPOS’ Digital Pen & USB Flash Drive. This device enables a diverse audience – from cyber teens and students to urban professionals and the elderly – to capture, write and store hand-written notes wirelessly and in real-time everywhere and anywhere, by leveraging a digital pen with flash memory capabilities.

For your auto, RayTel LLC offers a variety of TellPhone voice activated, hands free, Bluetooth solutions. The TellPhone 5000 comes with a wireless remote control and a high resolution LCD display offering information such as Caller ID, phonebook entries, text messages and more.

While we are on the topic of vehicles, the RaySat SpeedRay 3000, which is the low-profile (5.7-inch) satellite antenna I mentioned in a previous report, won the 2006 Best of Show Innovations Award from CEA. This antenna provides in-motion two-way high-speed Internet access and live satellite TV.

And what vehicle is complete without Maxan’s INFILL, a computer that installs in any dashboard. INFILL uses Microsoft Windows XP, has a 3-second boot time, a 7-inch wide touch-screen automatic folding monitor and is made with industrial computer parts designed to withstand extreme temperatures and vibration.

Auto Page, one of the oldest vehicle security companies in the United States, is introducing an OEM integrations solution called idataLink Multiplatform Transponder Bypass Module. This provides installers immediate access with the power of one module to download new software and update their hardware platform.

Trident’s Zevo MTP-1501 multimedia smart terminal with touch screen is a well-thought ergonomic design that comes with a wealth of features emphasizing ease of interaction and communication. The 15.1-inch Smart terminal is a pleasingly quiet computer that provides a Smartcard reader, touch screen, membrane keypads, a remote controller, two USB ports, optional Bluetooth/Wi-Fi interfaces, and Ethernet port and a VOIP Handset and IR hook.

I also saw a lot of collaboration between companies. NETGEAR announced they are working on a family of innovative new products, including the world’s first Skype wireless mobile telephone and a router equipped to optimize Skype.

AOL and Intel announced a joint effort to deliver AOL’s popular digital entertainment services, including its new AOL Video Service, to consumers’ living rooms via Intel Viiv technology-based PCs.

There were several announcements involving Microsoft’s collaboration with other companies. The Starz Entertainment Group LLC announced the premiere of VONGO, a new video download application and service for broadband that delivers movies and other video content over the internet for playback on Windows-based PCs, laptops and select portable media devices, as well as on TV.

Microsoft Corp. and MTV Networks unveiled the new Windows Media Player 11 and offered an early look at the URGE digital music service during Bill Gates’ pre-CES keynote address. Additional URGE features, functionalitym, and related partnerships will be announced in coming months as URGE is introduced with Windows Media Player 11.

Verizon Wireless is collaborating with Microsoft to offer Verizon Wireless customers the ability to access and enjoy full track, digital music downloads on mobile handsets and Microsoft Windows XP-based PCs through Windows Media Player 10. Verizon Wireless adopted core Windows Media technologies including Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) to provide customers with unfettered access to V CAST Music content across multiple devices and scenarios.

DIRECTV and Microsoft announced an agreement to work together to enable the flow of digital content among Windows-based PCs, DIRECTV’s set-top boxes, PlayForSure-compatible devices and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, which will allow customers to experience DIRECTV programming and digital content stored on their Window’s based PCs in a variety of new ways.

As my trip neared an end I decided that the ideal place to look for a USB beer cooler would be the NextGen 2006 CES Home Experience. It seemed to me a trip to CES would not be complete without taking a look at the collaboration that went into this home. This is a first hand look at how products available today from Microsoft, Intel, HP, Life|ware and others create a comprehensive digital lifestyle. It has been fascinating to see what has been added to this home each year, since I saw its first iteration at the 2004 CES.

From the Empower Media Chairs that not only envelope you in an audio experience, but were down right comfortable, to the award-winning TMIO Intelligent Oven, a 30-inch double-refrigerated, Internet-connected wall oven, this home is quite an experience. There was also another look the Intel Core Duo Processors used to enable an HP Pavilion Media Center PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and using the Intel Viiv technology.

Exceptional Innovation’s Life|ware home control software manages the home’s lighting, alarms, audio, cameras and thermostats. Control of these systems was seamlessly merged with digital entertainment via HP Digital Entertainment Centers running Windows XP Media Center Edition, through Life|touch all-digital, high definition touch panels. How nice to toggle from the football game to an image of the person at your door without having to get out of the easy chair!

Las Vegas is an amazing place, especially during CES, but alas, I still have not found the elusive USB beer cooler. So I sadly leave Las Vegas with all its glitter and glamour to head for home, leaving my colleague, Bob Coppedge from the LeadingWedge to continue the quest. (If he can’t find it, no one can!)

Thanks to our Blogger-in-Chief Pat Cleary and his able assistant David Kralik for their encouragement in this adventure into the latest and greatest in consumer electronics. I would like to end with what I found to be a rather profound quote by Intel CEO Paul Otellini during his CES keynote: “And the test of good technology is that once you use it, you can’t go back. ”

Join the discussion One Comment

  • It is funny how Las Vegas is usually thought of as a place to go lose some money, get free drinks, and have a “What happens here, stays here” moment.

    But with the increasing war between Google and Microsoft (and the players and partnerships unfolding), and streaming video merging with cable and DirectTV type services, it will be fun to watch who wins. Will we all eventually have dishes, or will HDTV be able to come through a broadband pipe, allowing us to watch any streaming TV station on any device of our choice?

    Will be fun to watch this develop.