2007 marks the 40th year of the International Consumer Electronics Show - the largest trade show for consumer technology. The CES presents the latest innovations and most cutting-edge technology in consumer electronics and computer. In years past I reported during the show, but this year there was difficulty with internet connections..
We were exhibiting in the Sands Convention Center and previewed some new libraries and our new sampler. People were very interested in knowing about the latest in music technology and there was quite a bit of fascination in what we were demonstrating.
Microsoft again seemed to have the most visible presence at the show. In addition to occupying the lion's chare of Central hall they also had several large structures set up in the parking lots. The imminent launch of Windows Vista was heralded with a number of companies announcing Vista versions of their products. Bill Gates gave the keynote address and announced Microsoft' wirelessly Windows Home Server. The home server reputedly makes it easy for anyone to set up a home server that can be used for sharing files, having an endless supply of videos and music streaming to and from every computer in the house, etc. Microsoft seems to be developing a strategy for the totally "connected" digital home integrated with daily living. Digital lifestyle has arrived.
The theme of this year's show seemed to be HDTV and displays - including LCD TVs, cameras and accessories. Flat Panels where everywhere you looked. Big, beautiful dazzling displays. I thought my 37" LCD at home was fine but now it seems so diminutive. Sharp (the company John Fairhurst as representing at CES) was showing a 108" model.- supposedly the largest consumer LCD TV. AKAI (remember the AKAI samplers?) was at the CES showing LCD TVs (not a sampler in sight). LG was showing a 3D TV that you do not need glasses - the was very cool and could be the future of display technology. It seems like the trend towards larger displays and lower costs is going to continue. Also related to displays, but a little different was Microvision's PicoP, a laser beam projector could fit in a cellphone or PDA and be able to project a 50-foot image.
Drive makers announced larger capacity drives and support for Vista's ReadyDrive system. Terabyte drives have arrived! And USB drives were everywhere as well.
What really caught my interest was the Robotics Tech Zone. Robots were being show that were more abundant and sophisticated than last year's. Rather than being cutsie toys they are being used for households chores. One company, NeuroSky, was showing robots controlled with brainwaves - a device that you wear on your head measures brainwaves and controls the motion of the robots. From what I saw at the show, robotics seems poised to grow dramatically in the years ahead. Music is one area to watch with robotics.
At the Intel party I was speaking to some of the Intel people who said they were demoing an eight-core processor known as "V8". VoIP was big at the show. Dual mode phones for both cell reception and Wireless IP (like Skype) were shown at the show. Music services were also present although it wasn't altogether clear what they were offering.
Conspicuously absent was Apple and Google. But Apple's presence was nonetheless felt as there was a buzz about the new iPhone. iPod devices and accessories in abundant supply at the show.
A number of people from the forum came by the booth - John Fairhurst, Pat Valentino, Yves, Tom Bruner - to name a few. PapaChalk and Desound, our forum admins also visited.
For us, the show was a success. We made many connections - particular with distribution and had meetings with press people from leading magazines.
We also had time to do some fun things. Sunday night, Yves (a long standing member of this forum and Celine Dion's keyboard player) invited Jeff and I to the Celine Dion show. This was the best Vegas show I have experienced and the icing on the cake was the backstage tour. I'll write about the experience in a separate post after NAMM.
On the following night Jeff and I saw the Cirque de Soleil Beatle's tribute called "Love" followed by an Intel Party at the Palms. Afterwards I went to the Intel party at the "Studio at the Palms" - Las Vegas' largest and best equipped recording studio. Many music industry people were there: Carl Jacabson and Gina from Cakewalk; Tom Kenny (Editor of Mix), Greg Sutton, and Joanne Zola - also from Mix Magazine, Rory Kaplan (well-known producer) and Tommy Tallarico from GANG. At the party we listened to some music in the 5.1 surround room and had a good time.
On Wednesday night; a group of us including Jeff, PapaChalk, Desound, Pat, Yves and Barbara dined at the rotating restaurant atop the Stratosphere. The food, the conversation and the company was fantastic.
This was our third year exhibiting at CES and our most successful. Las Vegas is certainly a different city. I missed being able to be connected and visiting the forum. I'll post some pictures as soon as I can.
[edit: pictures now posted below]