Monday, January 04, 2010

What To Watch For at CES in 2010

CES hasn’t even begun and we’re already seeing quite a bit of tech news as a result of the annual “Geek Nirvana” show at Las Vegas.  I thought I’d start off the week sharing how I follow the CES show from afar and what to watch for if you’re at all interested in the latest and greatest of the tech world.

1. If you want to be in the know on what’s happening at CES, there are a few ways to see it all and be one of the first to get all of the details available – even easier than being there at CES yourself:

  • Watch Engadget and Gizmodo for the news.  It’s nearly impossible to even keep up with these two blogs during CES as they spread their writers across Las Vegas to cover every possible story they can get their hands on.  They are often first to the story and a great way to watch from a birds eye view the happenings at CES
  • Follow these folks on twitter:  Dave Zatz & Mari Silbey of ZatzNotFunny cover CES and often scoop the big boys.  They both post twitter updates often and provide a kind of coverage beyond what you see at the Engadgets and Gizmodos of the world.  Kevin Tofel & James Kendrick of jkontherun for mobile device news, Lance Ulanoff of PCMag for general CES news and Ben Drawbaugh of EngadgetHD for HD and Media Center/HTPC news, Ian Dixon for Media Center News and of course GeekTonic (me) for the HTPC and Media Gadget news – I’m watching intently (and losing sleep because of it) for anything of particular interest to GeekTonic readers.  I trust there are other good twitter folks to follow so let me know in the comments if you have a favorite or two.

2. While there is always a few surprises at CES, here’s a few specific things I’m watching for from CES this year:

  • Media Players – Hauppauge should be sporting their new MVP-HD devices and there’s a new PopcornHour with a new UI and cheaper price.  What other players might we see?
  • Extenders – Hello?  Anyone out there?  I have little hope for this, but I’ll still be watching to see if Microsoft or any CE companies will have a HTPC extender or two to look at.  Perhaps a new MS platform for CE companies to build from?
  • CableCard – Its sort of ironic, but even after the media companies seem ready to dump CableCard for something else we should see some very exciting CableCard devices this year including new products from SiliconDust (ethernet external tuner?) and Ceton (multi-CableCard tuner).  The rumor about a Hauppauge CableCard device seem to have disappeared so I'm not counting on that one any more although I still hold out a tiny bit of hope for it.  It appears that Hauppauge does not have anything new on the HD-PVR (component tuner) device so no update or refresh coming on that front.
  • SageTV – SageTV will once again be in Vegas, but not on the CES floor.  I understand they will have something to see but I’m not sure what that will be.  Watch for some sort of news on that front here on GeekTonic this week.
  • Boxee/D-Link – The Boxee box should be on display at CES.  We should get some closer looks at the new extender.
  • E-Readers – I’ll be watching for Plastic Logic’s new Que e-Reader and the new Skiff e-Reader both of which are set for a coming out party this week as well as many other e-Reader devices.  This should be an interesting field over the next year.
  • Tablets – Yes it appears the tablet is the buzz device currently so we should see some tablets at CES this year.  I’m not too excited about this and wouldn’t be even if it were Apple showing theirs off.
  • TV – I fear 3D will be the thing most on display at CES in the TV world.  Not something I’m really excited about, but the CE companies sure are.

3. Expect CES this year to be smaller.  As mentioned in the ZatzNotFunny article “5 Things Missing from CES 2010” the show should be smaller in numbers of companies and size of displays due at least in part to the economy.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be anything exciting, but it does make for fewer big news items.  We’ll have to wait until CES is over and see how this holds true.

4. Mobile will be bigger this year.  Google has their announcement about the Nexus One and it isn’t even at CES, but I expect we’ll see a lot of new mobile stuff this year as it is one area innovation pushes on.

5. Auto Tech – I’m personally excited about the new Ford Sync updates that will make your car an actual Wi-Fi hotspot with a 3g USB stick.  My Ford Sync is a favorite addition to my tech world this year and it looks like Microsoft and Ford are pushing to keep improving it.


Those are the things I’ll be watching this year during CES.  What are you excited about for CES 2010?