ces – Stay N Alive

My Favorite Technology of CES 2010

CESOverall the Consumer Electronic Show of 2010, while amazing and overwhelming and definitely worth my time, has been a disappointment when it comes to innovation. The big things of the show have been 3D, new consumer video devices, and, well, that’s about it. So I’m at a bit of a conundrum as to who or what my favorite technology at the show is. If I were to pick one though, it would have to be the demo by TCL (The Creative Life) of their 3D TV Technology that doesn’t require glasses.

Passing by the booth you can’t miss it – they’ve surrounded 4 TVs by mirrors (no relation to the technology), and when you look at the TVs, you do a double-take. You’re seeing 3D, just as you would in traditional 3D glasses, but without the glasses! I never knew this was possible!

The technology revolves around basically mimicking the 3D glasses technology right on the TV screen itself. That, and an optical illusion of just the right flicker with the speed your eyes process information, and they’re tricking your brain to thinking there’s full 3D objects inside those monitors!

I saw a lot of 3D technology at CES. Some are special 3D TVs that you have to buy the TV to get the full 3D experience, but they require glasses. Others are adapters you hook up to your Sony PS3 and you can play games in 3D (due EOY 2010 Sony told me – I’m actually excited for that one and may buy a PS3 because of it). I talked to a guy in the elevator at my hotel that works with devices you put right up to your eyes like glasses to get the experience.

However, no one wants to buy a new TV right now. I just can’t see consumers buying a TV just so they can put on glasses and watch TV through those glasses. These new 3D TVs without the glasses enable you to do that, no glasses required, and I think they make much more sense.

While the TVs aren’t available for probably at least another year, there are still a few issues though. For one, you can only watch 3D on the TVs. They’ve either got to make a dual mode so you can watch either/or, or consumers will have to get used to watching nothing but 3D television, something not everyone in the industry is sure consumers will want. Also, the videos they were showing had to be custom-made for the TVs. They don’t yet work with traditional 3D movies and I think that will be required.

What I liked about this technology though is that they were showing what could be. They’re thinking to the future. That’s what I wanted to see at CES this year. Everyone else is looking to the present and past from what I’ve seen so far. Kudos to TCL for making me think forward this CES.

Here’s some video I shot – of course you can’t see the 3D in the video, but at least it gives you an idea. You can follow all my raw, unedited footage on my personal Youtube channel.



Steve Ballmer’s CES Keynote: Microsoft’s in Trouble

Steve BallmerThis week I am at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada to see what’s happening with the latest in consumer gadgets.  The show kicked off on Wednesday, where I was just barely able to make it to the Steve Ballmer keynote, where he talked about what was supposed to be the “future” of Microsoft.  The problem was, as compared to the Bill Gates Keynotes of the past, there was little “future” about it.  Ballmer focused on previous products, some that have been out for years now, making the Keynote, as I said earlier on Twitter, well, boring.  Based on his Keynote, with all the launches Google and Apple are doing lately, I think Microsoft may really be in trouble!

A very large portion of what Ballmer talked about was focused on Windows Media Center, showing the capabilities it has in the Home Media Center.  This is something I have said before that Microsoft has long had a strength in and I wished they would focus on more.  I am thinking they’re finally realizing this and trying to get more eyes on it.  The problem is, there was no innovation in this area, making the demo a bunch of technology that I’ve been using already for 3 years now!  Perhaps I’m the only one, making this “new” to most people.

The rest of the keynote was spent demoing the already-launched Windows 7 and the various types of PCs that run it.  There were no real announcements other than the fact that Natal will be launched the end of this year (even though they had no Demo), and that there would be a new version of Halo.  Beyond that, nothing.

The Future for Microsoft

Based on the content of Ballmer’s keynote, I have to worry about the health of the software giant for the future.  Will they be able to keep up with their competitors, who are already releasing some extremely innovative technology?  Microsoft has a lot of potential – I just wonder if they’re behind on getting to that potential.

For example, one of the things they did cover in the Keynote was the capability to download Zune and Media Room videos and play them anywhere – on your TV, on your computer, or even on your phone.  I think the full experience is something Microsoft can leverage.  Being able to play this stuff anywhere (and I would argue that anywhere should also be my iPhone), is a powerful point for Microsoft!  Let’s hope they push this further – from the tablet PCs to the TVs to even the Cars with Sync and other Microsoft technologies I should be able to pass this content around (and preferably in an open manner).

What Will We See From Microsoft?

After this keynote, if I were a Microsoft investor, I would be a little worried right now.  There was very little innovation announced the other night!  Let’s hope, alongside Natal (Microsoft’s controller-less body-controlled gaming experience) and Halo, that Microsoft can fully integrate their technologies across the board into many parts of each user’s life.  Microsoft needs to start embracing their Zune brand more (which, the hardware wasn’t even mentioned during the keynote).  They need a brand new, Microsoft-branded phone that they have control over similar to the Xbox.  They need a completely brand new interface that integrates Bing, Zune Marketplace, Windows Media Center, Sync, and many other Microsoft technologies that works on Mobile.

If Microsoft can do this successfully (which they were close, but were unsuccessful at portraying during the Keynote), they would have a pretty serious product on their hand.  However, I don’t know what Ballmer was thinking during this Keynote.  Based on the content, you would think that Microsoft the company was just like the power at the beginning of the keynote – dead.