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It’s time for CES again

04th January 2012

What’s in store for 2012?

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off again in less than a week.

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CES, it’s a huge technology trade show at which the electronic and associated manufacturers showcase their new products. In recent years, CES has attracted more than 120,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding venues.

 
There are literally miles of aisles lined with home theaters, thundering auto audio systems, pulsating illuminated LED signs, massive large-screen televisions, deafening stereo systems and wacky computer game displays. It’s a crowded, noisy affair.

Despite the negatives, CES has been a “must” show for me. In fact, I find it an exciting place to be. So much so that I’ve been to attending this annual event (for a while it was held twice a year) for more than 30 years to learn and write about the new products that are applicable to our businesses. For the first time, the Photographic Marketing Association trade show is being folded into this year’s CES. I suppose this tells us that photographic equipment is now considered part of the consumer electronics realm. Merging of these trade shows into one makes it even more convenient for me to learn about new photo equipment as well.

On the photography side, I expect these will be the trend this year:

  • There will be more offerings of high end interchangeable lens cameras (ILC). This relatively new breed are imirrorless and use real-time electronic viewfinders and are significantly smaller than DSLRs. The Nikon V1 and Sony NEX5 are current examples that have compelling and innovative features
  • It looks like we’ll see big improvements in the video capability of both DLSRs and ILCs. The norm will be 1080p HD video, full-time autofocus amd complete manual control of exposure. These devices are reinventing the way in which video is recorded.
  • Watch for even better images from cellphones. Some models already have large 8MP sensors with builtin flash. There is a striking difference in quality from last year’s models.
  • Slowing sales of compact cameras hasn’t deterred manufacturers from improving image quality. In particular, the trend is towards better low-light performance by using more responsive image sensors and wider aperture lenses. This will most likely continue but at a higher price.
  • Again with compacts the major brands are also competing aggressively on a feature basis. For example the Samsung SH100 has builtin wireless transfer and several company’s have cameras with builtin GPS. I expect that features such as these will become very popular.
  • Last fall in China, I met with several manufacturers who were pushing easy to use, all-weather still and video cameras. This may become a popular category as the younger generation continues the YouTube tradition of recording and producing movies of their varied outdoor activities.

On the technology side I will be looking at these items:

  • I just read that Microsoft will be showing their upcoming Microsoft Flight at the show This is of special interest to me as one of our other businesses sell software for their older Flight Simulator.
  • There are likely to be a slew of new and improved tablet from a variety of manufacturers. Since the launch of the iPad, these devices have made a dramatic shift in mobile computing behavior. With the recent addition of reading devices such as Amazon’s Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, the market is heating up quickly.
  • Cellphones have made the most impact on consumer behavior in the last few years and I’ll be interested in seeing the new features that are upcoming.
  • For several years, robotic devices have been randomly appearing at CES. For the most part, this promising technology has been confined to a few areas such as floor cleaning devices and children’s toys. I’m hoping to see new and innovative consumer-level robots at the show.

I’ll report back to you about the show soon.

Yes, I’m looking forward to another CES. By the way, I’m also looking forward to a few days away from the cold and snowy weather here in Michigan.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee


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