Welll, in just under 10 hours I should be on a plane to Las Vegas, NV for CES. The show properly is Thursday-Sunday, but there are press events Tuesday and Wednesday which I’ll be attending. During the show itself I’ll be splitting my time between working Sling Media’s booth and trying to visit other vendors as a blogger. As is usual for me, my first victim, er, target of the show will probably be TiVo. Since I’ll be working half the show my time for seeing the rest is cut in half, but I’ll try to do what I can.
Going into this CES I’m not sure what the big deal is going to be this year, if there is one. The economy is down and I haven’t really felt any particular buzz about any given area of the market. HDTVs get bigger while getting thinner and faster (refresh rates). We may see some interesting 3D technologies which will start to enter homes in the next few years. Palm is expected to announce Nova and new hardware, but I’m not excited. I was a die-hard Palm OS user for many years, since 1998, and still carry a Treo 680. But after five or more years of waiting for
Palm OS 6 Cobalt Nova I just don’t feel that inspired. I’m already focused on Android as my next likely platform, and it would take a lot for Palm to sway me. Even if they produce an incredible OS, they have an uphill battle ahead to win over developers. I don’t think they have a real chance at this point to gain significant market share. And without that the developers won’t come – and the apps really make the platform.
Going forward I think the mobile market will effectively be, in no particular order, Windows Mobile Professional, BlackBerry, Symbian S60, iPhone, and Android. The original Palm OS is the walking dead, and I don’t see Nova/Palm OS II carving out enough market share to be viable. Symbian UIQ is effectively dead as SonyEricsson and Motorola have pulled out and the Symbian world is focused on the S60-based open source effort. Windows Mobile Standard (aka Smartphone) is rapidly dying as Professional-based touch screen devices move into the lower end of the market where Standard used to focus. I expect Android, which is basically just coming into the market, to post the biggest gains as more devices land. I think the LiMo/LIPS effort will falter and expect to see some of the vendors who have been working on it switch to Android. I think those five platforms will provide the bulk of the smartphone market, anything else will be a small niche.
We’ll probably see more tru2way devices on display from a number of vendors this year, but I don’t know that we’ll see anything revolutionary in that market. I’m hoping TiVo may be showing off their ‘Series4′ tru2way-enabled model, which they’re believed to have been working on for a while. And they may be showing their new DirecTV software, which I expect will be running on the HR20/21/22 DirecTV DVR Plus hardware. I’m not expecting anything else major, maybe some new content partnership announcements and perhaps plans to bring TiVo to more countries. (I’m surprised they haven’t re-launched in the UK yet with the DVB-T model actually.)
The past couple of years the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD fight provided some interest. But that was effectively over with CES2008, and officially ended when Toshiba threw in the towel in February. There aren’t likely to be any big announcements in the Blu-ray world, aside from more content partnerships like LG adding CinemaNow and YouTube to Netflix on their players. Maybe someone will be showing off higher density disc or 3D content concepts.
I’m hoping to be surprised by something at the show, something just unexpected. If you know of something I should be on the look out for, do let me know. And if you’re going to CES drop by the Sling Media booth and say hello. I believe I’m on the afternoons of Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and on Friday morning. I’m also scheduled to present for Sling Media at CntrStg on Saturday. Frankly I’m nervous as hell about that. It has been years since I’ve done a presentation or talk at a tradeshow and never at anything as big as CES.
OK, off to finish packing.