CES – You Have To See It To Believe It

Last week, we attended the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This is not the first time we have visited the show, but each time, it seems to be bigger, more glitzy. This year, despite the Great Recession, was no exception.

This show is quite literally “porn” for tech addicts.

For those who have never visited CES, let me give you a brief overview. This show is, well, huge. It covers every aspect of technology, from computers to HD-3D television or, from home theatre to automotive GPS units. Every corporation is there, except for Apple (of course), who runs in their own unique universe. CES covers all of the Las Vegas Convention Center Halls, spilling over into the parking lot and several adjacent hotels as well. Trying to walk the show in one day is impossible. Trying to cover just one section (there are at least five main sections), or even one major exhibitor per day is more appropriate.

As with any trade show, CES has its marquee exhibitors in the center of each exhibition hall, with other known companies intermingled. New companies, those with smaller booths, tend to snuggle up around the edges.

Each year has some sort of theme. This year, in my opinion, despite the 3D television, the primary theme was the tablet computer. It seems as if every computer manufacturer was displaying their own unique version of the Apple iPad. Two notable launches of computer tablets (RIM and Motorola) were available for preview at CES. Both were excellent products, with a variety of unique features/advances versus the original iPad.

The RIM Playbook is much smaller than an iPad, handles beautifully, and integrates with their Blackberry effortlessly. The Morotola Xoom is an incredible concept, but relies upon a not-yet-launched operating system, Android 3. Impressive stuff!

All this fuss about hardware. We debated: who would win the tablet wars: Apple, Motorola, RIM, Samsung, others? The answer surprisingly, has nothing to do with the machine or its operating system. It has to do with software, commonly known as apps. In this light, Apple quite literally shines. Apple’s iTunes store is their secret weapon. Easy to use, easy to operate, iTunes is the runaway winner. And, should there be any product advantages for the competition, look for a new, improved iPad to catch up on any deficiencies their hardware might have versus competitors.

Once again, just like the iPod, Apple will prove to be the category champion. What are the shares trading at? $350 a piece? Seems to be a bit light.

(Photo courtesy of DigitalTrends.com)

Larry MogelonskyCES – You Have To See It To Believe It