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CES 2011 Wraps in Vegas

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has wrapped up, with a strong upswing in attendance to an estimated 140,00 people, up from 126,000 last year and 113,000 in 2009 (see preview post).

The hot topic this year, of course, was tablets, with 80-plus different products launched at the show. This is not about finding the mythical "iPad killer;" It's a fascinating proliferation of options for consumers, with different designs and target uses, including colors / textures, screen size, HD video with HDMI output, and removable batteries. This should be familiar from PCs and notebooks (vs. Macs), and smartphones and cell phones (vs. the iPhone).

This CES also begins the next phase in mobile phones - from the smartphone to the "superphone" -- with 1 GHz, dual-core processors from NVIDIA, and 4G LTE mobile broadband service from Verizon Wireless, so you can engage in multi-player games on your phone, with real-time 3D graphics linked with players around the world.

In the living room, CES moved beyond last year's tight focus on 3D TV to a broader emphasis on connected TV, with Internet-based services on your TV, Blu-ray Disc player, set-top boxes, and even in your car.

Meanwhile, work continues on much more convenient 3D -- without glasses -- as several companies showed prototype HD displays of research in progress (albeit with very limited viewing positions). There will be some products to start trying out this year.

Unfortunately, the show's size is back to the crowded conditions of 2007 - 2008, big enough to stress Las Vegas with major traffic jams getting to and from the Convention Center, and with cab lines late into the evening the first day, at the airport, Convention Center, and hotels.

The Monorail also cannot handle the show-- while the trains run without human operators, they instead require a staff of ten or more people at the stations to stage and queue the passengers as they penguin-walk in crowds to funnel through a series of bottlenecks at the escalators and turnstiles.

See my 2011 International CES Summary article for information on the show, facilities, Las Vegas, exhibits, conference program, and press events -- plus links to more information and press / blog coverage.

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