SANDY BERGER: Big Consumer Electronics Show Offers Glimpse Into the Future
More than 140,000 people converged in Las Vegas this week to see the latest and greatest technology and gadgets at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES).
Dave Berger, my business partner and husband; Rich Rushforth, my podcast partner and local radio celebrity; and Gabe Goldberg, the latest Compu-KISS Web site writing contributor, all joined me at the show. It was exciting to have a Compu-KISS entourage and even more exciting to scour the show looking for new technologies to write about and new products to review for all the Compu-KISS readers.
From Bill Gates' keynote address to the products being shown on the show floor, this year's show was all about finding ways to link computers, digital data, entertainment devices and handheld equipment.
The goal, of course, is to be able to give everyone a connected digital experience 24 hours a day. We saw all types of gadgets and gizmos that can handle and sync digital data.
These gadgets also highlighted the convergence of the computer and the television. So it is no surprise that new television sizes and technologies also took the forefront at the show. We were able to view the Sharp 108-inch high-definition LCD television set, which is currently the world's biggest television. Samsung also showed off an outstanding 102-inch plasma television.
The product that really knocked my socks off was also a television -- the Sony OLED television. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. It is a special type of display technology that has been around for a few years, but so far has been used for only very small screens. Sony showed off 11- and 27-inch OLED televisions.
Bolstered by a 1 million-to-one contract, these television sets produced the clearest, sharpest and most realistic television that I've ever seen. If you think high definition television looks good, wait until you see it on one of these new screens!
The OLED television was a prototype. No production date has been set, but this gives us a glimpse of the future of television and display technology.
One of the big announcements this year was LG's new DVD player that can read both Blue Ray and HD formatted DVD disks. This brings us one step closer to an end to the DVD format wars, but at $1,200 it is still not a viable answer for consumers.
There was no lack of mobile devices or accessories at CES this year. I've never seen so many different iPod, MP3 player, and cell phone cases and covers. There was everything from plastic to leather to fabric -- many with unique new designs.
I returned from Vegas with my RAZR phone covered with an adorable fluffy black and white panda bear. However, this type of cutesiness can only be taken so far. I had to turn down the manufacturer that wanted to give me a miniature zip-front sweater for my cell phone.
In competition with the CES is the concurrently running MacWorld Expo, where Steve Jobs announced a completely new type of cell phone with a touch screen instead of buttons. I will, without a doubt, have plenty to write about in 2007.
With almost 3,000 exhibitors -- from wacky ideas to breakthrough technologies -- CES has it all. There are countless other trade shows, but nothing can compare to the CES.
Stay tuned. I will be telling you about many of the great products and technologies we saw.
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comments on today's column. Please post them on the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/ckmessageboard.
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