January 8 - 11th, 2009 over 120,000 geeks and tech enthusiasts descended on Las Vegas for CES - the Consumer Electronics Show. By far the largest trade show in the world, CES provides a springboard for new products and technologies as well as an opportunity for geeks to say they actually got to play with "concept" gadgets that are not even available. For Geeks, CES is a life changing experience.
One of the best parts of the show was being part of the Last Gadget Standing finale, where the audience participated in choosing the next big thing. Interestingly the last gadget standing this year was Eye-Fi, a SD card that has wi-fi built in so that when you get home it uploads the photos to your computer or favorite website auto-magically. We were struck by how cool this was for people that hate to transfer pictures from their camera to their computer and online photo albums. This was the second year in a row the Eye-Fi won last gadget standing.
Another great gadget was the MSI laptop that had over a 20 hour battery life. Unfortunately at this point the laptop is not for sale and there is no record of it on MSI's website or the Internet. Even the Last Gadget Standing website doesn't mention it. What's even worse about this laptop is the dude sitting next to us won one :-(
Another fun part for us was to play with Windows 7, the Operating System to replace Windows Vista. We spent quite some time pushing buttons and speaking with the geeks that made Windows 7 and were actually impressed with some of the innovations and pleasantly surprised at how fast it ran, even on a little netbook with and Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. It is clear the Microsoft has worked hard on this one, however it is still unclear if it will work with hardware and software designed for Windows XP. Our experience is that Windows Vista is a bad choice for businesses due to networking, software and hardware problems that can make using it painful to say the least. For the latest on Windows XP check out this link.
Bamboo Laptops... Not sure what else to say but these were very cool. Other cool hardware included the Ion USB turntables, cassette players and VCRs - allowing simple importing of old music and movies to your computer where you could then transfer them to your iPod. Video glasses also seemed to be making a comback, with several venders showing how you could simulate a 52" TV simply by putting on your glasses. The childrens section of CES had a lot of cool devices, and more XBox 360s than you could shake a stick at. One cool item was the iPhone parental control software for websites which denies access to sites that are inappropriate for kids. KidZui was another program to keep kids safge, but also keeps them entertained with both a free and paid version of their program.
TV's were BIG at CES, but very thin. So much of the show was about TVs as the US prepares to go digital, TV sales are the only thing that have increased over the past year as the economy tanks. Gaming consoles and Apple iPhones, iPods and computers are selling pretty good too.
Green was the new Black this year as many companies showcased their new lower powered products, greener manufacturing processes and more recyclable everything. One of the simplest green ideas came from Parksville in the form of the Green Button. A simple green button connected via a USB cable to your computer that makes putting it to sleep easy. Being close to the Comox Valley we hope to see more of these guys and sell their products. Also, efficient charging mats for electronics were on display, both inductive and conductive mats depending on the use (http://www.pwrmat.com/).