One way to get people to pay attention to silicon and circuits inside a mobile phone: Flood the stage with celebs, the band Maroon 5, and some random digital natives.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Qualcomm showed off its new mobile chipset in a presentation that all agree was big, but many found baffling. Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief at the tech publication Engadget, was sitting there -- loving it, or perhaps not?
"It was an hour and a half presentation, it didn't really need that much flash," Stevens says. "The chipset looks fantastic, don't get me wrong. What they are talking about is a mobile phone chipset that will have phones that are 75 percent faster than the ones we have today, but use half the power. So we could have double the battery life and much faster phones. I mean that right there is a great story. I don't think you need to trot out Steve Ballmer, Big Bird, and all the other celebrities that they rolled out."
In case you missed it and don't have time to sit through all 90 minutes, check out the highlight reel below:
Last week, we connected with Sam Vasisht, chief marketing officer of a company called Veveo, but during his flight from Boston to Las Vegas, his firm was picked by Entrepreneur Magazine as a top company to watch at CES. The result, a crazy schedule of meetings.
"I got off the plane on Monday, which was a day before the show actually [opened], and I turned on my cellphone, and I had -- well, a number of emails from folks that had read the article," says Vasisht.
Veveo makes predictive software for smartphones and TVs that tries to guess what you want so the device stays a step ahead of you when you speak to it. Vasischt says CES is a place where a startup can get a boost.
"It's a really good place for us to address all our target constituents, in terms of what we are doing new and what are some of the things that they can expect to see this year," says Vasisht.
Some are calling Veveo's system "Siri-on-steroids."
New TVs often come with 3D, but what about holograms, the almost sculptural 3D images that you can view from different angles? MIT scientists may have moved us closer. Here's computer science professor Matt Watts, who worked on a chip with something called a Large Scale Optical Phase Array.
Think of it as a way to control, even bend light, without moving parts. Watts says his chip could help with medical imaging or, indeed holograms for home entertainment.
In the nearer term, says Watts, "this is helpful for trying to determine the distance from the chip to some other servers, and in fact one of the areas that we are pursuing is looking at this for accident avoidance technologies" on cars you drive and cars that drive themselves.