CES 2007: A casino conference room full of pale gadget fan-boy bloggers, doe-eyed PR reps, and pre-market electronics, means one thing — I’m in Vegas for the next few days for, what else, CES. The desert is cold, and Barry Manilow’s face is everywhere. I just got back from the first official event of the CES circuit, the standard CES “Unveiled” event, and true to tradition there were not many major unveilings. But it’s always fun to get a taste of some of the goods that CES has to offer before the rush of the week, and in a room that’s quite a bit smaller than the football stadium-sized Las Vegas Convention Center.
Check out some of the photos I took with the Nokia N93, which I managed to pry out of Om’s hands for a few days to take to Vegas. The two below are from the convention center — DivX is finally promoting Stage6, and Verizon bombarded the press room with fiber-based demos. It’s not too bad for a 3.2 megapixel mobile camera phone. We’ll try out some video this week too.
This year is also the 40th anniversary of the event, so I guess its officially over-the-hill now. Andy Abramson says its getting revitalized, but the blogs that are making news have been doing this for several years now. Maybe there are just that many more now.
At the Unveiled event, LG was showing off some of its latest phones like the QWERTY-based enV, the CU400, which is an HSDPA push-to-talk phone, and, of course, the Chocolate in many flavors. What they didn’t have at the booth was an LG MediaFLO phone, which I’m thinking is going to be the center piece of Verizon’s press conference on Sunday. MediaFLO USA also had a running demo of its mobile TV service, but over a weird clunky demo device. They have promised the real thing tomorrow.
Not to be outdone by their LG, Samsung showed off their own nifty new phones – the X830s, the Ultra Music phone, the i760 super slider, and the not-so-nifty large-text phone for the senior citizens, the Jitterbug.
Samsung is not just a mobile phone company. It is also showing off both very large and small screens, from a double-sided 2.22-inch LCD that shows different images on both sides of the same screen for mobile use, to a 70-inch diagonal HD LCD TV panel. Then there’s Samsung’s mobile video tech news, which we’re looking to find our more about.
The Axion “IPTV Box,” looked like something I would actually use, and is launching sometime in the summer — it’s a small mobile monitor that runs online video connected wirelessly to its broadband-connected base station. No PC required. I tried to duck past the WiMedia UWB section but I got roped into watching their demo-only UWB Kodak camera. Stop teasing us. Of course robots always have a way of upstaging the group, particularly if they come in the form of a Singing Elvis or a robospider.
The event wasn’t a blockbuster, but it’s better than bumming around my hotel. Somehow I thought it was a good idea to stay outside the city and rent a car, so I found myself in the city of Henderson, sandwiched between a bar called Mugshots and an industrial plant. This is my fourth CES, but my first and last time doing that.