I attended the high-tech tour de force known as the Consumer Electronics Show last week for two days in Las Vegas. It was my second year in a row covering the show.
People have painted the show as increasingly irrelevant. Microsoft didn't help when it vowed to pull out as keynote going forward, but CES still draws huge crowds. The Consumer Electronics Association said some 153,000 people attended the show this year, a new record. CEA noted:
"More than 20,000 new products were launched at the 2012 CES, which also featured top executives participating in keynote sessions, including those from Qualcomm, Mercedes, Wal-Mart, Intel, Ford, Verizon, Unilever, Ford, eBay, GE, Google and Facebook."
Indeed, even the mighty Apple deigned to send over 250 employees to the event to scope out the competition, or possibly to gloat over how everyone else is far behind.
CES is dying? Riiiight. Still, Microsoft's vacancy next year leaves some Redmond-sized shoes to fill. Who, then, shall we nominate to fill the void? Google would be a good choice.
CNET's Rafe Needleman made a great point when he notes 2013's CES could be dominated by Google, which has ostensibly become the Microsoft of mobile.
Indeed, in the last two CES' I've attended, Google's Android platform has been the dominant force, with more smartphones and tablets launched on that platform than any other.
Makes sense, considering Android commands more than 50 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, which in itself makes tablet makers hopeful that they can translate a modicum of that success to tabletry.
Whether you liked the Intel Atom- and Android-based K800 smartphone from Lenovo, or Asus' Tranformer Prime quad-core tablet, there was plenty for Android lovers to like at the show this year.
Google could use the massive, unparalleled platform that CES has been for the last few decades to launch a new Google TV product. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in fact just touted one such product at CES, in which a user's Android phone alerts their Google TV the user has arrived. The system could begin queuing up programming based on the user's preferences.
More broadly, Google might also use CES as a stage for Android@Home, its experimental home connectivity platform for putting wireless sensors into light switches, stereos and refrigerators. We'll likely get an update on that at Google I/O this year.