CES 2007 Part I: Convergence Happened and the Most Impressive Demo of CESby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 11, 2007 6:53 PM EST
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For years companies like Intel and Microsoft have been talking of this impending convergence of PC and Consumer Electronics (CE) devices. In the past couple of years we have finally seen this convergence come to fruition, through a slew of devices that basically let you move or display content stored on your PC, on CE appliances. While most manufacturers have tried, very few have “gotten it right” when it comes to convergence devices. The end goal is simple: access to everything, everywhere on any device. Making it happen however is far more difficult, as creating the devices that will facilitate this goal is like one giant game of process of elimination.
Most of this year’s CES has been about poor attempts at convergence, with a handful of things that were worth while. Despite very high expected attendance, the show wasn’t nearly as crowded as last year. It still ends up taking 30 - 40 minutes to get a cab during the day, but we had no problems navigating the show floor and surrounding hotels. Whereas in previous years we’d waste a significant amount of time wading through hordes of people, there’s actually breathing room this year.
Whether it’s that the show is simply far more spread out this year, among two convention centers and many hotel suites, or attendance is simply down due to a lack of interest, we were here in full force in search of something interesting. This year’s CES marked the end of an era of talking about convergence, and the beginning of the introduction of many convergence products. While we’ve yet to see anyone with the vision to bring us the convergence world’s iPod (although Apple’s iPhone announced at Macworld looks like it may redefine another sector), that didn’t stop us from finding individual technologies that were worth a look.
As with most trade shows, the vast majority of what we saw on the floor was poorly designed and/or executed. What follows are some of our answers to the question we always get: “what was the most exciting thing you saw at the show?”