In any given year, the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is mostly off-the-charts congestion of unprecedented proportions, employing every cab in sight and bringing in 100,000 to 120,000 out-of-towners to the two major pavilions at the Convention Center and other locations.
However, with the almost infinite market potential involving the so-called Internet of things, a steadily improving global IT economy, and no shortage of new devices and startups to introduce, CES this year is packing a record 150,000 visitors into cabs, hotels and meeting spaces.
Most attendees flew in Jan. 4 and 5; following two days of press previews, CES opens Jan. 6 and continues through Jan. 9.
There's no question about a high-level theme: 2015 is all about connecting a plethora of new devices to the Internet of things (IoT). To be more specific, the emphasis is on connecting consumers of all ages and locales to the IoT via wearables, transportation (and not just cars), home utility and entertainment systems, and handheld devices.
Great Imagination Inherent in New Devices
There is great interest in imaginative new devices that include such things as personal camera-holding drones, a connected water heater, an iPad cover that turns handwriting into a digital document and the Tao Chair—which looks like a normal lounging chair but actually is a mini-gym that massages, improves posture, burns calories and strengthens muscles while recording a user's health data in cloud storage.
We'll be following up with reports on a long list of interesting new devices when the event begins Jan. 6.
On the more conventional IT product side:
-- Toshiba, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung, Asus and Lenovo, capitalizing on the fact that tablets and smartphones can't do everything and that laptops are making a major comeback, are in an intense battle for market share by adding features, lowering weights and prices, and increasing battery life in a flotilla of new personal computers that can put mere 6-month-old laptops to shame.
-- Seagate has unveiled a complete rebranding campaign and an ultra-thin 500GB storage device that costs a mere $100 and is thin enough to slip into a shirt pocket.
-- Cisco Systems, in partnership with Comcast and Bosch, is moving deeper into the cloud-based entertainment services market, previewing an entire portfolio of cloud products and services that span video, mobility, collaboration, broadcasting and the connected home.
-- Samsung and HP have invested a lot of capital in new curved monitors for televisions and desktop computers that lay the foundation for increased higher-definition and 3D viewing in the future. Having tested the HP 3D system on a curved monitor earlier this fall, eWEEK can attest that a curved screen makes a notable difference in viewing quality, especially when working on an interactive project.