The C.E. part
The direction in which consumer electronics is headed was exemplified by Samsung this year, as it unveiled its Smart strategy and extended it to almost all its devices... right down to its newer washing machines (the ability to control them through your smartphones, imagine).
Releasing its 55-inch OLED HDTV alongside LG, it heralded a new direction for its TV ecosystem; one that was predictively obvious and logical (apps and content tie-ins), and spontaneously brilliant to be industry-leading (networked integration and dynamic annual SoC packages).
Canonical gave us quite the surprise with their concept, the Ubuntu TV(a Linux-based set-top box), too.
As that taste lingered with us, we were, o, bombarded by a tributary of tablets, mostly unremarkable and in-your-face enough to be inconsequential to the general scheme of the market.
It was mostly about spec-upgradation and catching-up than feature-innovation, a game of me-too that was predictable but cheerless.
Not a lot of good news for us Indians, but for the sake of highlights — Acer’s Iconia 700 seemed fairly competent in the 10-inch category and the Galaxy Tab got a 7.7-inch sibling.
On the smartphone front, the big guns came fully fleshed. Nokia’s Lumia 900 became Windows Phone’s new flagship, and just when we thought we wouldn't, we uttered Xperia again; the Ion is Sony’s “beast-category” entry with a “reality” display similar to a “retina” one.
Sony also introduced an Android-based PMP of the iPod touch’s ilk, and a wristwatch like the iPod nanos. Catch-up or improvisation? You decide.
Interestingly, the OnLiveDesktop for iPad project announced their app release here. The app allows you to use Microsoft Office apps on a native Windows interface from your iPad over the web, for free.
Sound neat? Cameras saw some heat; Fujifilm’s X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera really stood out from the iterated lot, however, promising resolutions equivalent to a full-frame sensor.
Now that’s what I call sweet. Quirky gadgets thrived as well; take an iPad-based guitar, iOS controlled quadcopter, USB sticks that work as media streamers, for instance.
The P.C. part
Our old and faithful PCs got plenty of attention at CES as well. Sony showed off a tablet and keyboard made from flexible material that can change shape (to change the rear of the device to a stand, for example), and a very thin ultrabook-tablet hybrid device that had a slide-out keyboard with a stylus mounted on it.
Cooler Master had a weird and wonderful idea: they managed to fit a tiny nano-ITX motherboard inside a Hyper 212+ CPU cooler, complete with a processor and ports, including support for Wi-Fi, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, as well as VGA and eSATA.
Razer, well known to PC gamers for their peripherals, is planning a Tablet PC that’s aimed at the “serious” road-warriors. It has two integrated game controllers in addition to the touch-screen display. Packing a Core-i7, “Project Fiona”, looks to be interesting.
Ultrabooks were out in full force at the trade show, and we found Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga to be a great concept (that will make it to production in about 10 months).
The laptop has a 10-finger multi-touch display that can be rotated 360o away from the keyboard, and can then be used a tablet. It’s thin, light, and packs a big punch with top-of the line hardware. Another ultrabook that will use glass (and will launch next month) is the HP Envy 14 Spectre.
With a Core-i5 and a host of media and network-oriented features, the $1400 price tag seems to be reasonable considering you get full versions of Adobe’s Photoshop and Premier as well as Norton Internet Security.
A nine hour battery life is the icing on this glass cake. Dell will also look to introduce their XPS 13 ultrabook, with high-end hardware and a host of ports and other tech all for $999. It’s a MacBook Air killer in our opinion.
Then there was the usual the plethora of laptops, desktops, and motherboards along with a super secure HDD from Rocstor and a 4TB SSD from OCZ.