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By Dianne R. Davis

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Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis

CES Brings Innovation - and $$$ to Vegas

Las Vegas welcomed attendees to the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in early January at a time when every tourist counts.  Consumers, dealers, media, and industry leaders converged on Vegas to share information and announcements of the newest and future products for the home or workplace.

Even before you entered the LV Convention Center, there were huge signs that CES was in town.

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Gigantic displays called out to attendees, “Visit me”.

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I found CES overwhelming with more than 2,700 technology companies ranging from auto accessorizers such as On Star- announcing the enlargement of their client base beyond General Motors to all auto manufacturers- to basic home appliance manufacturers. Yes, washing machines and vacuums were there alongside the newest cameras and 3 D televisions.

This year’s CES set several records, including 30,000 international attendees and 22 top CEOs participating in keynotes. The attendance jumped from 120,000 in 2010 to 140,00 this year. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the 2011 CES is the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow.  More important to the local community, CES is the largest tradeshow hosted by Las Vegas and is a great boost to the local economy.

Many of the major manufacturers of consumer products such as Panasonic, Canon, Asus, Sony, and Samsung held press conferences to announce new products and advances.

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Casio’s newest camera with its flexibility looks like it will be a winner  in the consumer market.

Special events such as CES Unveiled, Pepcom, and Show Stoppers gave reporters the opportunity to see and zero in on many of the newest products away from the crowds in the convention center.

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With IRobot you can vacuum without being home to vacuum.

IRobot Corp is an example of the diversity of companies exhibiting at Pepcom.  They manufacture  Roomba which is a high tech, remote controlled vacuum cleaner. At their booth, a representative explained to me that the user only has to program a few instructions and the cleaning robot does the rest while the owner is otherwise occupied or not even in the house.  I could go for that.

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I was told that Yurbuds would not fall out when I was in motion.  I checked out a pair in my size and found that to be true.

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Hands on opportunities abounded, luring visitors to a company’s products.

 

The entertainment industry was well represented at CES.  Exhibitors brought in personalities such as Lady GaGa and to promote their products and entertain their clients. Other celebrities scheduled to appear at CES included 50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, award-winning actor and celebrity Aiden Turner, two-time snowboardcross gold medalist and World Champion Seth Wescott,  NBA legends Bill Walton and Rick Fox, Piers Morgan, Larry King, and Jeff Probst winner of the Emmy for “Best Reality Show Host” in 2008 and 2009.  Earth, Wind & Fire headlined the annual Monster Retailer Awards and Concert.

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What a nice surprise to meet Bob Marley’s son Rohan at a promotion for The House of Marley .

Others such as Rohan Marley, son of Jamaican singer Bob Marley have a more vested interest in the companies.  The Marley family is involved with many products including the newest earphones which Rohan was promoting.

This year’s CES contained a great deal of emphasis on notebooks, tablets, and developments in the photographic field. As expected, 3D was in evidence as major companies such as Sony and Panasonic continued to promote their 3D products.

I asked Chris Morris, a noted journalist who has covered the consumer electronics space for the last 16 years for his take on the 2011 CES. Chris felt that while this year's show didn't have any dominant technology, like 3D last year, it was a year that showed a lot of promise.

"You get a feel on the floor that the economy is about to bounce back, which is terrific news for this industry," he said. "There are steady advances in all of the fields I'm seeing -- from 3D to smart phones to tablets -- and that should prove interesting to gadget hounds."

Chris was a little skeptical about the large number of tablets that were on display, though. Right now, the iPad dominates the tablet world and he thinks it will continue to do so. "I really doubt the vast majority of the tablets at this show will ever see a retail shelf," he told me. "Apple's going to take the wraps off of the iPad 2 shortly, which will make a lot of these obsolete before they ship. But a few, like the Playbook from the makers of the Blackberry, actually have a chance at carving out a decent niche for themselves." Thanks Chris, you certainly summed things up for me.

I could write up a lot of technical details about the 2,700 exhibitors, but that is best handled by the technical publications. I came away from the CES feeling like a dinosaur transported to 2011 without the vocabulary needed to communicate. Yet I was excited by the advances in technology. Some of us still remember when making a phone call entailed standing near that wall at the other end of the phone cord. And you used your finger in a circular motion to “dial.”

As for me , I intend to purchase my first tablet and smart phone in the next few months.

For more news on the 2011 International CES, visit CESweb.org. The International CES will return to Las Vegas next January 10-13, 2012

 

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