The Buzz at CES

This year's International CES was bigger than ever, the lines were longer, the buzz was louder-and the cell phones were (ever more) ubiquitous.

Its a good thing the world is going mobile because it sure is getting hard to get around. This years International CES was bigger than ever, the lines were longer, the buzz was louder—and the cell phones were (ever more) ubiquitous. It makes one wonder: What is the point of getting so many people together in one place to talk to people who are someplace else?

It could have something to do with drinking. Or to be able to hear Bill Gates, Ed Zander and Michael Dell each talk about all the digital content out there to consume: There certainly is no doubt about that. Getting access to that digital content is another thing. Thankfully, this is the year "we get to control the Internet; we get to control mobility," said Motorola CEO Zander, who noted that the number of cell phones sold is outpacing the birth of babies around the world. In addition, Zander predicted 1- to 2-second download times for MP3 files within two years.

One way to get control is to start treating mobile as a platform in and of itself and design rich services expressly for mobile platforms—Internet services, for instance. Yahoo announced at CES its Go for Mobile 2.0 and OneSearch services. With these services, "the Internet fits your phone, not the other way around," said Marco Boerries, senior vice president of Yahoos Connected Life unit. "We do not squish the PC Internet into the mobile device," Boerries said.

The only caveats are being able to trust and rely on the preselected and edited content Yahoo and other service providers will offer and to count on them that they can truly package all thats available for the mobile phone form factor.

I saw two other technologies at the show that add another dimension to living and working in a disconnected world. One is Seagates new Free Agent Go, a USB hard drive with software that enables users to literally take their computers with them, including applications and desktop settings, and plug those computers into any other machines. The other technology is Wireless USB, which you will start seeing in products this year. For the first time ever, youll be able to make just about every cable now connected to your PC disappear. The only ones left will be power and video cables. Wait for next years CES to solve that problem.

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...