CES is over for another year, but the photos live on. There was the minion who visited the blogger lounge, the Panasonic sand sculpture, and the masses of entirely non-goofy-looking people wearing 3D glasses. I also snapped a pic of a dude named Mo, who was selling solar chargers in the middle of the night at the Venetian (doesn’t he know the sun there is fake?), and swiped a photo from Liliputing of me and Brad Linder posing at the Digital Experience event. Good times.
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In case you hadn’t heard, Starbucks announced they’ll be offering free, unlimited WiFi beginning July 1. Unlike the AT&T-powered wireless service they launched two years ago, this won’t require a login and occasional purchase. And, of course by being “unlimited,” connectivity is no longer restricted to two hours. Most interesting is the “Starbucks Digital Network” which will provide SBUX visitors access to premium web content, like the Wall Street Journal.
I assume Starbucks’ goal is to increase store traffic and thus revenue, something their shareholders will certainly appreciate. However, as a regular I’m a concerned with what could happen to the Starbucks atmosphere. The obvious comparison is Panera, an establishment I no longer patronize on a regular basis. Their overrun environment is more akin to a computer lab or Kinkos than a bakery-cafe these days. (See iMac man, above.) Continue Reading…
Vegas, Baby, Vegas! After sharing a flight with Walt Mossberg, I’m on the ground for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mari will be joining me in about 24 hours. We’ve made the command decision to stay fewer nights this year for a variety of reasons. Certainly the trip is not inexpensive, in terms of both time and money (and those 50,000 United miles I just parted with). Also, the vast number of pre-show announcements has devalued the convention center discovery experience. Lastly, several vendors we’ve visited on the show floor in previous years are not present this year or have downsized and relocated to various hotel suites. However, we love this stuff and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. (That’s the view from my room, above.) We know full well we can’t compete with the Engadgets and Gizmodos. And don’t aspire to. But we’re hopeful of supplementing their coverage with some hidden gems. Plus, like most trade events, CES provides outstanding opportunities to learn and network.
The CES news is already flying fast and furious. Netbooks are still a hot topic. But the most interesting looking portable that I’ve seen in some time is not the Google/HTC Nexus One, but Lenovo’s inspired IdeaPad u1 Hybrid transforming tablet/laptop. Both Mari and I are making arrangements to try and track it down. In the home entertainment and digital media space, of course there are and will be new televisions. (Some with Skype?! And others in 3D.) Beyond that, we’ve learned D-Link’s Boxee box will launch under $200. Something they probably had to hit to compete with the $130 Popbox and high-end Roku. We saw the box hardware last month, but new today is the Boxee QWERTY remote! We need, and will see, more of these text-entry devices in 2010. Including ones from Vizio and TiVo. Bigger picture, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) initiative is gaining steam and partners. But I’m not sure we’ll learn enough this week to pass judgment any time soon.
And, without further ado, here’s our pre-show coverage:
Pre-CES Data Backup with Clickfree
Ceton to Unveil CableCARD Quad-Tuner ($399)
Syabas to Launch $130 Popbox
SiliconDust to Announce CableCARD HDHomeRun
Of Lenovo Launches and Leaks
5 Things Missing from CES 2010
In addition to periodically checking in on us here, both Mari (@msilbey) and I (@davezatz) intend to actively post mobile thoughts and pics on Twitter. Plus, Brent’s going to keep the CES coverage going on GeekTonic while reporting from home. If there’s anything you’d like us to seek out, hit the comments below.
The Griffin Technology folks as pictured on the CES blog
Not making the trek out to Vegas this year for CES? You’re not alone. Here’s a list of five things missing from CES 2010.
Cablecos and Telcos
Despite the fact that we now live in a connected world, many of the providers that make our gadget connections possible are, by and large, missing from the CES show floor. Two years ago Comcast made a big splash with the launch of tru2way, and AT&T once had a booth in Central Hall to promote its U-verse service. This year the big guys won’t be around much at all. The one exception is Clearwire. With a booth in the South Hall, and Clear WiMAX service blanketing Las Vegas (WiMAX rentals available for $12.50/day), Clearwire will be representin’ for its broadband brethren this year.
Remember GiiNii? I got pretty excited about the company last year when it was sporting Wi-Fi photo frames and prototype Android tablet devices. Sadly, I heard back in October that GiiNii has suspended development on both its PixPlus frames and the prototype Movit Mini and Movit Max – despite the fact that both product lines are still listed on the company site. There’s no evidence that GiiNii will be at CES this year either.
Long Cab Lines
The best thing about an economic recession? Short cab lines at CES. The long lines were missing last year, and I expect more of the same in 2010. It’s quite a relief after waiting for more than an hour for transportation in previous years.
Macworld may no longer have the star power to rival CES, but that doesn’t mean Apple has given in and joined the CEA’s annual gadget fest. In a change this year, however, Apple will have more of an unofficial presence at the show. A new iLounge Pavilion in the North Hall will feature iPod and iPhone accessories, upping the CES Apple quotient for the year. Exhibitors include makers of cases, speakers, apps, and more.
Dave gave a massive shout-out to Cntrstg last year for the venue it provided tech bloggers at CES. The organizers offered us a fabulous work space, complete with food and Wi-Fi, and brought vendors in to share their wares. Sadly, there will be no Cntrstg lounge in 2010 due to sponsors pulling out at the last minute. There are some dinners and meet-ups planned, however, so we’ll hope for the best this year, and a return to form in 2011.