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What’s hot at the electronics show?

Marketplace Staff Jan 7, 2010

What’s hot at the electronics show?

Marketplace Staff Jan 7, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: The Consumer Electronics Show opened its doors to the public in Las Vegas today. The latest in games, gear and gadgetry will be on display. As we do when we’ve got gadget-related questions, we’ve got Kevin Pereira from G4 Television on the line. He is up in Vegas this week. And Kevin, for those of us, including me by the way, who’ve never been to one of these things, what is this how all about?

KEVIN PEREIRA: I always describe it every year as sort of the nerd mecca that every pasty white, tech-savvy guy, needs to make the journey to. And it’s no different this year, 2010 is crazy. It’s CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, and all the major players in everything that blinks or takes battery power, show up to show off their products for the year, and consumers get a chance to come in and take a look at them. So it really is a big digital playground, and a chance to see cutting-edge technology before it actually hits the shelves.

Ryssdal: Give me a sense of what it’s like this year with the economy slightly recovering, versus last year and the depths of a really bad recession.

Pereira: Other than finding a $5 table at The Palazzo or The Venetian, which is unheard of, you don’t really notice the recession and that’s been the most surprising thing. Thus far, all the manufacturers are bringing out products that range anywhere from you know $40 all the way up to $10,000 3-D television sets. So they’re ignoring the recession pretty heavily here, and the products are definitely reflecting that.

Ryssdal: What’s your sense of the hot products? I mean as you mention, 3-D televisions, what else?

Pereira: Kai, honestly, I thought at first I was going to tell you guys to just copy and paste whatever I said last year, and make it a little louder. Because that’s what CES tends to be lately, it’s all iterations, it’s, well, devices are getting smaller, there’s more storage and they’re faster. But this year, we’re seeing some really cool stuff. Obviously, yes, 3-D television in the home, that’s a big push. Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to be ready for major mass consumer consumption until 2011, maybe 2012, at the earliest. But if you’re looking to early adopt 3-D TV, come to CES and check out what’s available.

Ryssdal: What about you know the fancy smartphones, and video recorders and all that stuff. I mean, anything we have to know about from this year’s CES, or is it just lost in the burble there?

Pereira: Again, it’s more of the same. It’s iterations. I think Google’s Nexus One Phone caught some people by surprise. I mean it was the worst kept secret in the industry, so that’s an interesting vibe. But the Tablet PC, I think 2010, probably transitioning into 2011, will be the year of the Tablet. Apple’s expecting to announce something. Last night, I got to see a device by Lenovo, which is a true hybrid laptop. Which means you pop open your screen on your laptop, and you’re typing just fine. Let’s say you want to go across the room, or walk away and take a train ride, you can literally remove the screen from the laptop, and it becomes a portable tablet PC, with 16 gigs of storage, its own processor. It’s literally a laptop and a Tablet all in one for about $1000. And that really caught me by surprise.

Ryssdal: If you could pick one item from the CES this year, only one, that you could have for your own and take home, what would it be, Kevin?

Pereira: Ooh, that is tough. I will say right now LG has a line of full LED slim TVs that they’re releasing this year, and we’re talking less than an inch thick. Full LED, high-definition television set. They’re Internet ready, right out of the box, with Wi-Fi, so you can stream YouTube videos, Netflix, and they actually announced a partnership with Skype, so that whole video-conferencing vision of the future — where you walk in front of your TV, wave your hand, and suddenly you’re chatting with grandma or hopefully someone far sexier if you’re me — then you can do it. It’s here, and it’s actually working. It’s the closest thing to the hovercraft, or jet pack, or time machine, video conferencing, it’s actually here.

Ryssdal: Yeah, maybe next year with the hovercraft. Kevin Pereira from G4 Television is our man at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. Kevin, thanks a bunch.

Pereira: Kai, any numbers you want me to play for you on the tables?

Ryssdal: No, yeah, play black 12, and see what happens.

Pereira: Done and done, sir.

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