I’ve been meaning to post this since CES ended two weeks ago – time flies.
This was my fifth CES in a row (and I’m already thinking about next year), so maybe I’m getting a little jaded, but I was a bit disappointed this year. There didn’t seem to be any ‘hot’ item, something that everyone was talking about, some new idea that fired people up. For example, a couple of years ago a lot of people were talking about Sling Media when they launched their first Slingbox. I don’t think it was just me, since I had similar conversations with a number of people on the show floor, the monorail, etc – and it seemed to be a common sentiment. Sure, there was a 150″ TV, which was impressive, but it is really just a bigger TV. You kind of expect bigger TVs each year. Pioneer’s 9mm thick Kuro was also impressive, but it isn’t something we’ll be able to buy for a few years, if ever. So this year seemed to be more evolutionary and predictable. The only real surprise news was Warner’s Blu-ray announcement, which certainly got a lot of buzz throughout the show.
Sure, there were some cool announcements, and specifically relating to this blog, and my interests, we had TiVo’s web video announcemnt, several Sling Media announcements, etc. But it just wasn’t as big as past years with the TiVo Series3 being unveiled or the initial announcement of the SlingCatcher. Oh well, you can’t have big news every year – there’s always next year.
There was one item that I didn’t expect to inspire my techno-lust to the degree it did – the Optimus Maximus keyboard from Art. Lebedev Studio. I’ve been watching the development of this since it was first shown as a concept several years ago, and it seemed to be perpetual vapor ware. CES was my first chance to see it in person, and I expected it to be nifty, but not to be as cool as it was. Photos just don’t do it justice, the keys look great, and they really ‘pop’. The colors are bright, the graphics are sharp, and if I had $1,500 to spare I’d probably buy one. Of course, since my main personal machine is a laptop, it would be a little silly. But it is just so cool in action. Even simple things like the case of the characters displayed on the keys changing when you press shift inspires my techno-lust. I can see this kind of tech spreading as the parts become cheaper.
But the real highlight of CES for me was getting to meet people I’d only seen online previously. I got to meet Ben Drawbaugh and Steven Kim of Engadget/EngadgetHD, Charlie White and Curtis Walker of Gizmodo, and, of course, Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny (and Sling Media). There were a few people I was hoping to see that I didn’t manage to catch in the chaos, but it is nice to get to meet some folks in person. Maybe one of the years some company (like Sling perhaps?) will throw a little gathering for tech bloggers. I don’t mean a press event, but sponsor a gathering just to get everyone together in one place to finally put faces to the names. (And if someone has done this, damn, I didn’t know about it.)
I’m already looking forward to next year.