Nick and I will be bouncing some thoughts from each day of CES back and forth to share some more casual perspectives on the goings on here in Vegas. Like on 'Press Day' and what that turns out to really mean...
Nick: Well, the CES Press day has begun: hour after hour of gadgety announcements, (heavily) peppered with marketing speak and the odd awkward silence as jokes fall flat on the tech press audience. But what a start it was. After the standard business introduction, LG showed off a heap of new products, including their new Smart TV platform. With the awesome Wiimote-like remote, I have to say I'd be tempted if they could get any decent content on their Australian release.
Seamus: I'm already getting a few tingles today after that LG press conference. Yep, they sent me out here this year, but it's nice to see they had a reason for doing it. Cool stuff ahoy. But you're bang on about the content. Australia is going to be left behind with this entire next generation of devices all because local rights holders demand a continued lockout of direct content sales and services. Not good. And if it isn't sorted out before 2013 we're going to be left behind.
The other one that I noticed was LTE talk. That's really heating up now, and the roadmap LG posted showed quite a few countries rolling out between last year and next year. It's not going to be long until Australia could be missing out on a new generation of handsets if LTE isn't up and running. We should start hassling telcos on the roadmap for Australian rollouts.
Nick: Well, the LTE trials are already happening in Australia, so I'd say it's more a case of LG skipping Australia in the demo. One thing I wasn't expecting was the giant queues. I only got into Intel's conference this morning by finding other Aussie journos and conveniently wandering in with them. They actually locked people out of that one it was so busy. Which is a shame, considering how impressive the new Sandy Bridge processors are - integrated graphics on a chip is the way of the future. They demonstrated live avatar control via a webcam and it was absolutely amazing, although I don't think it's going to be available this generation.
It's hard to think that all this has happened, and it's not even midday yet...
Seamus: Speaking of queues, I just abandoned the Panasonic queue 40 minutes before the presser was scheduled to take place. I was in the 'you might not get in' zone. Fact is I need to write too, so I bailed. I had an interview to transcribe and other writing to get done. Seems to me there's a bit of the E3 problem here at CES. A lot of people getting in under the label of 'media', but they're really just here to check out new stuff and will queue for as long as it takes to see it. I'm watching the Panasonic event on Ustream while I work in my hotel. Right now that'll have to do.
Great to see some themes emerging as the news lands. Tablets were obvious, and smarter TVs, but seeing the directions being taken and the ways things are being implemented is nice.
Also noticed the Surface 2.0 has been revealed. You know, like somebody mentioned to us in November. The new 'the pixels are the camera' technology sounds awesome. I love it when the engineers bring some solid wow factor.
Nick: Yeah, I was locked out of Panasonic too. I made it into Samsung though by queueing up for about an hour. Unfortunately, it would have taken me about an hour to get back to my hotel room to follow your example, so I stuck it out. I only wish the Wi-Fi had been better than non-existent.
Both Samsung and Sony were rather 3D heavy again this year. Sony even pulled out a few prototype glasses-less screens, including a 24.5-inch OLED and a personal viewing system that looked like it had come straight from the set of Star Trek. But for me the highlight of the day was the new Surface too. Damn sexy, significantly cheaper and with the potential to be extremely useful, I'm lusting after one already. Can we get one for the office? I think we need one...
Seamus: We'll buy a Surface 2.0 in the office that day when you bring me an apology letter from George Lucas. I mean, there's the prequels, and then there's Star Wars slot machines? Seriously? That shit is just wrong on so many levels! Maybe he lost the slot machine rights in a game of cards. Yeah, OK, that makes sense.