This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the biggest one yet - attendance-wise and number of exhibitors. There were tens of thousands of square feet to cover and lots of meetings to schedule, so it felt pretty darn big to me. We were there to spend some quality time with our clients at UFC and Sony and get a first-hand look at all the new electronics and gadgetry, of course.
Here's a quick look at what stood out.
Everyone’s excited about tablets!
There are a ton of new ones. Some from larger names, like the Samsung Galaxy or the Blackberry PlayBook, some from smaller names like Acer and AOC.
The jury seems split on the perfect size. Some like the larger size (10 – 12”) since they have big screens and are perfect for around the house. Others like the more portable 7” size. And the 4-5” tablet/smartphones seem to confuse a lot of people in terms of the purpose and whether it’s really all that different from a smartphone. I spent some time playing around with the Galaxy and liked it. To me, it seems easier to tote around than an iPad.
The Perfect TV
It seems like the manufacturers have no idea what anyone wants in the perfect TV so they’re trying a bunch of different things to see what sticks.
Connected / Smart TVs — Sony’s and Samsung’s connected TVs were big hits and everyone is excited about the potential but I wonder how people will end up using the smart functionality in real life.
Thinner and Sleeker — Some of the new TVs are super, super thin and mega huge.
3D — Despite slow adoption, everyone is still plugging away at 3D TVs. The prediction is (and I agree) that until they manage to do away with the glasses, people are not going to be buying these in huge numbers. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to find a 3D TV that didn’t make me feel car sick.
TV Everywhere — Beyond just the manufacturers, it’s all about having access to TV on every device, in any situation.
Electronics are getting “smarter.” Cars that teach you how to brake better to save electricity. Washers that text you when the cycle is complete. Gadgets that update you to where your dog has wandered off to. Bands and widgets that track how you’re sleeping. I really liked all the smart appliances but again, wonder how people will use the functionality in their real lives. Lots of cool ideas here, we’ll see what pans out.
Gadgets Need Accessories
A big surprise for me was the number of booths (there were whole sections dedicated to accessories) that just showed the latest accessories for your gadgets — sleeves, skins, speakers, battery extenders, holographic external keyboards, etc.
But CES wasn’t just about seeing all the latest electronics. We had several productive meetings with existing and prospective clients. We'll continue working with Sony as they roll out their marketing plan for 2011. We’re forging new relationships with UFC departments, bringing some proactive sponsorship ideas their way that leverage the new and improved UFC.com. And finally, we’ve been asked to put together some proposals for a few new clients.
All in all, a successful and somewhat exhausting few days.