And Now For The Real CES, Macworld


Live from Macworld: My colleagues at Business 2.0 magazine are doing a great job of reporting from there, so I decided to give it a pass. I still am getting the urge to splurge.

The recently concluded biggest trade show was such a massive disappointment in giving us a direction of what gadgets could come next. Why? For starters, Four out of five keynotes at the CES 2006 were folks who make no consumer electronics devices.

  • Most of the announcements were under whelming: Yahoo Go Mobile works on mere nine handsets, two of them not available in the US.
  • Google Video, took four days after the keynote to come to life, and at first blush is pretty, what’s the word I am looking for, medicore.
  • Microsoft Vista, MTV Urge? AWOL as of now.

So no, the world didn’t change at the CES. I can hardly blame Microsoft, Yahoo and Google to not paint their own picture of the future. But I do worry that the organizers have forgotten the lessons of another trade show, most of us OGs remember: COMDEX. It went too horizontal, got all these fancy Internet companies to show-up, and lost its core audience, and soon went bust. How many tiny device makers who spent thousands of dollars, got absolutely no attention at CES 2006; are going to show up the next time around.

Is it me, or did anyone else notice that the show put confusion and convergence before consumer convenience, the very reason gizmos sell? So when Niall asked me, what should we talk about this week for our podsession, I suggested, lets discuss the CES, and the whole concept of Geeking Out The Living Room. Here are four things, which I think were important enough to ponder when thinking about CES 2006.

  1. The lack of networking standards and ease with which data can be shunted inside of the living room, will be the big obstacle that needs to be overcome before living room can be truly geeked out.
  2. Why set-top box is the method of mass deployment when it comes to cool technologies.
  3. The content announcements from CBS are just a way to appease Wall Street and showing investors that they are trying to do something to capture the “Internet” opportunity.
  4. Silicon Valley’s dismal record of producing CE devices. Despite the perceived success of TiVo, the only successful mass market CE device from Silicon Valley in recent years has been iPod.

I personally believe, that the real CES starts with Steve Jobs’ keynote at the Macworld on January 10. Macworld started today and run through January 13th. Check out this week’s podsession on which is about 20 minutes and 53 seconds long, and is a 9.6 MB download.

I think a lot of people forget why Jobs does what he does best: he focuses on making it easy for the consumer to use this inherently complex technology. He gives it to them in bits and pieces, and not as a big buffet. I am not sure what’s cooking inside of Apple as of now, but I do know one thing – it will be something many will be able to use. It will not be cheap, but then comfortable life, never is. As I said, now waiting for the real CES!

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“Microsoft Vista, MTV Urge? AWOL as of now.”

Weren’t you the one convinced by the announcement of this nonexistent service that Apple was going to lose? Can’t you be consistent or at least not treat your readers as if they have a memory span of one week?

Jesse Kopelman

RIM has been a success with Blackberry. Palm is already irrelevant. Given the depth to which it is embedded in the popular lexicon I think TiVo is a success as a product — unfortunately not so much as a company.


Despite the perceived success of TiVo, the only
successful mass market CE device from Silicon
Valley in recent years has been iPod.

Ummm… How about all the Palm PDAs & Treos…


I think Apple has been changing its release schedule. You can’t fit all the things we would love to have in one MW. Plus, it’s too constraining for a company to gear all of its product announcements for one big date. We saw Apple having lots of announcements last Fall. It almost became a joke with all the announcements. I think things like the Media Center mini, etc., will all come in due time, Apple’s time.


Anybody notice that iTunes Music Store has stuff like “Best of Jimmy Fallon” and “Best of Christopher Walken” among their SNL downloads? These are already out as DVDs and they are not little – they are feature-length and feature-price (10 or 12 bucks). Is this the dry run for selling actual movies?

Jacob Varghese

The lack of a Mac mini media centre was a but of a disappointment. I was really hoping for a grand push into video. No new media deals either. Figured movie downloads would’ve been a sure thing or at least contracts with more TV networks. They did announce a lot, but not what I was expecting and nothing for me to buy.


If by mediocre you mean awful. Just another example of Google putting out a shoddy product that Wall Street wets itself over. I challenge someone to name something Google has done well in the past 18 months outside of its core business, aside from look in the mirror and fawn over itself.

Om Malik

Moo, sorry for being so grumpy. lack of news does that to me. after all i have to worry about my audience and give them some insights.


hi om,

very good podcast, exactly what i thought. on the google video thingy i had just one more thought. how can you get into the video market and NOT put up the video of the keynote where this decision was announced?



Hey Om, you sounded rather grumpy in this podsession. Didnt have you usual two rounds this evening? ;-) But good stuff really. I think the whole net neutrality issue will be big this year.

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