What was missing at CES?

The CES in Las Vegas is over and most attendees are either back home or on their way to another location. The show is dynamic and exciting, but so large it is almost impossible to see all you want to see. Reflecting back on the show I have to admit there were some things I was hoping to see but as far as I could tell were missing from the show. Let me know your thoughts on the following things that I didn’t find at the CES. Maybe I just missed some of them.

Ultra-portable PCs– I was hoping to see some handheld computers other than the OQO and the cPC. It’s exciting that OQO has finally put the Tablet Edition on their device and it was cool to play with. The DualCor cPC grabbed a lot of attention and rightly so and it didn’t disappoint me at all. But I have to admit I was hoping this year would find some other entries into this space. Sony was completely absent, even though they have led the way in the UPC space for some time. They apparently have abandoned it completely. It would have been great if some other vendors had introduced something, even if in concept. I think there is a big market in the handheld segment if enough OEMs bring out machines to generate sales numbers big enough to keep costs down for everyone.

PDAs/ phones– Other than the Verizon Treo 700w running Windows Mobile 5.0 none of the PDAs I saw from all the major players had any features that jumped out. I didn’t see anything cool from HP, Palm nor Dell, who jointly have the PDA market pretty wrapped up at least in the US. There were tons of “me-too” mobile phones but nothing that grabbed my attention for very long. Maybe I’m just too picky. The services side seemed to dominate the show from my perspective. Streaming and slinging and shooting video to PDAs and phones is definitely the big thing, especially trying to mix HD into the picture. But from a device standpoint I didn’t see anything innovative at all.

Notebook computers– Intel’s Duo (dual-core) notebook computers running XP and Media Center were everywhere. I’m certain I saw at least two dozen different notebooks with dual-core technology but other than the CPU nothing much stood out. No new connectivity options, accessories, nothing. I was hoping to see some really small ultra-portable notebooks but maybe I missed them.

Tablet PCs– Toshiba stole the show with the M400, sporting the dual-core processor and integrated optical drive. They also demonstrated the concept Tablet PC with the detachable screen, but they’ve been showing this for about a year now. It’s time to have a first generation model in production, if they intend to pursue this commercially. I hope they do, it’s a very nice hybrid. Fujitsu was there showing the P1510D which is very nice but there was nothing new from them. HP was abysmal without even bringing the one Tablet PC model they still sell to the show. No Tablets at all from them. Motion Computing did not have a booth again, something I frankly don’t understand. I was asked countless times for directions to the Motion booth and I had to tell them to take a flight to Austin and visit them personally because they were not at CES. I think that is a major mistake on their part. The coolest thing I saw in the Tablet PC space was in the Microsoft booth. They were displaying the Motion LS800 and Fujitsu P1510D running Vista, and running it pretty well. That was pretty cool.

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