A Trip to Gadgets “R” Us
On exhibit at CES - “Surface PCs" - a PC with a very large unbreakable screen with touch panel capability.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, 140,000 attended to check out the 20,000 products being introduced. Luckily, it was a tradeshow, so they don’t actually sell you any of the gadgets, otherwise, I could've really burned a hole in my wallet. Here’s a quick recap of what I noticed at this year’s Gadgets "R" Us.
Tablets. By far, this was the center of attention at this year’s CES. Apple started the trend with the iPad, then it was Samsung’s Galaxy tab, and now 80-100 more models from various brands are expected to hit the market, all promising to offer a unique differentiation. You can get them powered by the Intel Atom chip, or the Nvidia Tegra chip, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. They run on Android 2.2 or 3.0 or Windows 7 and come in various sizes, 12.1”, 11.6”, 10.1” or 6” or just about anything in between. You can get them from Blackberry, Lenovo, Toshiba, ASUS or a bunch of other brands you’ve never heard of. Furthermore, the line between net books and tablets is already blurring because you can now get tablets that come with a keyboard that slides out. They’re calling them “sliding PCs!”
TVs. Two years ago, it was “who can make the biggest and slimmest flat panel TV.” Last year, it was who has the best 3D HDTV. Now it’s “who can have the most number of models of LCD TVs.” There are so many options such as active 3D, passive 3D, stereoscopic 3D, edge lit LED, back lit LED, slim, super slim (now you can get a TV as thin as 7.2mm thick!), wired or wireless. In terms of size, you can get them ranging from 19 to 75 inches and the new buzz word this year was "Smart TV." These TVs with built in internet connectivity are supposed to offer a more personalized experience. There are already more than 300 TV specific apps to run on your smart TV!
PCs. The number of PC choices available has never been greater. Most top brands are offering super slim and sleek laptops to compete with Apple’s Airbook. The high-end laptops are now able to playback movies in full HD. One piece of great news is that battery life is lasting longer: 6 – 9 hours will soon be the standard thanks to chips that consume less power. A new derivative of PCs known as “surface PCs” or “media table” is also emerging. These are essentially a PC with a very large unbreakable screen with touch panel capability where you can make them into a coffee table or hang on a wall like a flat panel display (FPD). To me, that’s just a gigantic tablet computer.
There were many other cool things on exhibit at this year’s CES. Cars with internet access integrated with Google Earth 3D (just in case you need to drive across continents), game consoles that recognizes facial expressions in addition to hand gestures, and not to mention thousands and thousands of accessories to personalize your smart phones and tablets, from diamond studded casing to a tripod for your smart phone to help take photos!
Clearly, the consumer electronics industry is in a product innovation over-drive mode, and over time, the product lines will converge. But if you step back from all the 20,000 gadgets, the mega trend is obvious: We are going to live in a world where we will have access to personalized, high definition, media-rich content, anytime, anywhere, and on any devices, seamlessly. To do that, not only will wireless network, broadband and Cloud infrastructure all need to be beefed up, but every device will become essentially a computer, with enormous processing capability and be connected to the internet wirelessly. Your TV will be your big computer, your phone will be your small computer, your laptop will be your work computer, and your tablet will be your couch and Starbucks computer.
I definitely left CES feeling very excited about how our lives can be enriched with what’s to come.
This mega trend represents an exciting time for the semiconductor and FPD industry that Applied Materials supports. In my next blog, I’ll talk about our behind-the-scene role in making the future happen. So stay tuned.