One of the major problems with covering a trade show the size and scale of CES is that you spend so much time running around trying to see everything, that is almost impossible to sit down and actually write about what you’ve seen. Nevertheless, I wanted to share a few things that are popping up here in Vegas that caught my eye.
Literally catching my eye has been all the 3D displays that litter the exhibition floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Every major manufacturer of TV’s seems to have multiple 3D demos going on, each one trying to outdo the other. I remain skeptical of how much an impact 3D is actually going to have on the home consumer, but I have to admit some of it just looks very cool. Probably the best setup I’ve seen so far comes from Samsung, who have a whole slew of TVs, home theater sets and Blu-Ray players that promise to arrive with 3D capability sometime in 2010, as long as the software actually shows up.
While I’m biased because I know and like the team at Boxee, I can’t help but be impressed by how they continue to release exciting new software versions of the application, and now can couple that to a very cool little hardware device. Pictures don’t really do it justice, but the Boxee Box is quite attractive and if they can actually get it to market at a decent price, it will only drive more interest in their unique and very open solution to internet video.
While the concept itself is not very innovative at this point, nor is the likely price point all that attractive, but I was impressed with the Moxi HD DVR for a couple of reasons; first the performance and interface of the Tivo competitor was quite good, but even more I liked hearing the Moxi representatives happily push the device’s ability to play locally stored MKV files. Some of the spokespeople I’ve interacted with from the major consumer electronics companies at CES were surprisingly retrograde in their opinion of what one called, “stuff people get from Bittorrent.” The Moxi guys were far more open to the idea that people should be able to play their files, where ever they may have originated from.
Not really a device, but a service that I am really blown away by is something I encountered for the first time last night was Shapeways. They don’t sell any hardware but they allow users all over the world to access 3D printing, and at an affordable price. The table of items they displayed was truly mind-boggling, as is the notion that if you can think it up, it can exist. Not sure if it has much practical value, but Shapeways holds incredible creative potential.
And on the slightly sillier end of things I had a lot of fun checking out a new Roomba competitor, the Mint Cleaner. Similar in concept to the Roomba, the Mint claims to be much smarter and more effective at robotically cleaning your house. Not sure I would ever actually buy one, but all I could think about was how fun it would be trick some Mints and Roombas out and have a mini-robot battle to the death. Surprisingly the representatives from Mint were less impressed with my idea.