CES 2011 – Back to Vegas for 3D, Internet video and tablets

So this year I was back in Vegas. No, not for the gambling or the nightlife (not primarily anyway), but to provide support to our client Sony Europe during their launch activity around CES. Yes, it’s that time of year when all of the big consumer electronics companies (and a few smaller ones) get together to show off the best of their new products launching in the future.

For the majority of the show, 3D was a massive focus. The technology is becoming ubiquitous across the whole range of consumer electronics, not just TVs and Home Cinema systems. Sony in particular were able to unveil a whole host of 3D-enabled  products, including a 3D Handycam, a 3D VAIO PC and a 3D Bloggie (Sony’s mobile snap camera). The key difference for these kinds of 3D products is the personal aspect of them – film yourself, your family, your kitteh – watch the footage back in glorious 3D. It’s fantastically simple. Sony’s 3D Handycam even comes with a 3D screen to watch your footage back on that doesn’t require glasses.

Internet enabled TVs made their first foray into the marketplace last year, and CES saw a vast array of new models on show and new partnership announcements made.  2011 is widely predicted to be the year that mass adoption will take place, and the range of content available is dizzying: catch up TV services such as iPlayer through your Blu-ray player, LoveFilm streaming on the PS3, even Twitter and Facebook on your TV via BRAVIA Internet Widgets. If that isn’t enough for you, you need a Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV, which gives you full browsing capability and a natty mini-keyboard remote control. The TVs look great too (although they are a client, so technically I’m biased).

The other big talking point of CES was the unveiling of a wide variety of tablets, in direct competition to the iPad. Motorola’s XOOM received a lot of positive press, but there were so many on show it’s tough to know where to start: Blackberry’s Playbook, Panasonic’s Viera range (to connect to your TV) and the Asus Eee Pad range to name just a few. Samsung had prototypes of its TX100 tablet that comes with a slide out keyboard on display, but we weren’t allowed to touch them. Or hold them. Or do anything except watch the demonstrator slide the keyboard in and out. Oh well.

So that was CES in a nutshell. Oh, Lady Gaga was there again, showing off the fruits of her first year as the Creative Director for Polaroid. There was a lot more social media activity this year too, with tweetups left right and centre, a special CES badge and a whole host of foursquare offers (including one from Sony). As for anything else, well, we all know that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

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