THE SWAGGER RETURNS TO CES by Scott Budman
It’s official: The swagger is back.
The tech industry, dragged down both by the overall economy and its own missteps, is having a bit of a renaissance lately We’ve seen it with the hype (and sales) surrounding the Amazon Kindle, Netbooks, Google’s Nexus One phone, and the sheer hype over whatever exactly it is that Apple will throw at us next. But what’s truly impressive is here at CES in Las Vegas. This is where tech is getting its groove back.
And when I say groove, I mean it. Dr. Dre, super producer and rapper, hitting the show floor to unveil a new set of $250 headphones, both to keep your head ringing, and to help raise money for the fight against AIDS. Another impressive sign: Companies not just thinking of themselves anymore, but feeling good enough to want to reach out to others as well. We saw Dre’s fellow music superstar Lady Gaga not once but twice on the show floor, stumping both for Polaroid, and also introducing a “Red” branded set of headphones herself, with some proceeds to fight AIDS.
For you Gaga fans, here’s her entrance onto the CES show floor: www.qik.com/budman
Add to this star power some amazing new technology from Intel called “Info Scape,” which lets you touch a giant wall to bring up news events and web updates as they happen. It’s part Twitter, part gigantic touch screen computer. I have no idea what we’ll ever use it for, but it sure gives Intel’s stodgy reputation a boost. Also, 3D TV. Hey, says Sony, it’s in the movies, why not in your livingroom? And, you won’t even have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars like James Cameron.
Among the head-turners this year: Flo TV, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, which makes a portable TV the size and weight of your smartphone. Real, live TV, too. It doesn’t just look like a smartphone, but the $249 device is soon coming to AT&T and Verizon smartphones as an option. Pretty cool, if you’re in line somewhere and want to follow the game. Also, a cool two-sided device from a company called Entourage. It’s half netbook, half e-reader. When you want both books and the internet inches away.
There are more cool things coming our way, if CES is any indication. And that in itself is a good thing. Seeing the Show not as a reason for pessimism, but as a reason for hope in the future.