Prior to this year, I was not aware that the Consume Electronics Show every January is the biggest of its kind in the world. But after reading about the show through detailed coverage at Engadget and Gizmodo (but mostly Engadget), I found that my personal picks amongst their personal picks still constituted a fascinating glimpse at the future of consumer level technology. In short, if you like high tech, you are in for some kind of treats in this coming year or two.
Two things stuck out in the video world to me. First, take the combination of Blu-Ray discs (high capacity discs … about 8-9 times more than DVD in their first generation) and high definition screens, and you get pretty amazing results. The possibilities … that video will look amazing soon, are very exciting. Furthermore, consider the multi-multi-format reader from Pioneer, the unwieldly-named Pioneer DV-588A-S will successfully play “DVDs, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CDs, WMA, MP3, DVD-R, DVD-RW, JPEGs, and DivX.” That final one is very exciting, it allows me to burn data discs of the DivX movies that reside on my computer, and they will play on it … no decompression to any MPEG flavors and a great archive method. Fits on CDs, too! Good things coming from video.
The MP3 player market continues to explode outward, I expect it to grow for the next 4 years. That is a completely arbitrary guess, but hey, it’s optimistic! Anyhow, Playlist Magazine’s summary of the best upcoming iPod accesories has some great picks. My favorite is probably the iTop, a controller that replaces the iPod front controls so one can use it by just tapping a string of buttons on the, well, top. Hence the iTop moniker. But, like they say, “If CES is any indication (and it’s usually a great indication of the direction the consumer electronics market is heading) the iPod accessory market is booming even louder than most of us realized.”
This is still CES, but is tangential to almost everything I can think of in this post (other than the USB flash drive reader): yes, a sewing machine that converts any image to an embroidery pattern. Holy crap. Read more about the Brother Innov-is 4000D.
As usual, the rumors around the upcoming MacWorld Expo are absolutely blowing up: flash-based iPods, new slogans (“Life is Random”), and this headless, budget Mac. While I think the current iMac G5 would be great for my family, perhaps this no-monitor solution would utilize their current LCD, and put them over the edge. Then again, nobody really knows if Apple is actually making this headless wonder, so time will tell. I think the market is asking for a cheap Apple, but that could be just me. One note on those pictures, it says “Media Centre” … I would think if Apple was releasing something in the US, they would spell that as “Center.” Regardless, there is great evidence that this could be a hoax.
Here is something nifty, secure IM chat with support for up to 50 users in a “room.” Read more here. Nice, right? Sure is. But add telephone support to this software, and you have an amazing package. Get this: you have the software, your friend across the world has it, and the two of you get free long distance. You can call normal telephone numbers (for a price), but continuing advances in software like this will all but eliminate the long-distance telephone business. Read more at Skype’s front page. Further note that voice over ip (VoIP) has avoided major problems because the FCC decided to take a step back from harsh regulation and allow the technology grow … another step on the journey to an internet-powered everything. Convergence approacheth!
Last but not least, note that phones can now have their speaker and LCD screens combined as one membrane. Talk about elegant (and about bad puns). Anyhow, if this works, as one commenter predicted “every cellphone will use it within 18 months.” That could be said for most of the CES stuff.
Update: The iHome is a fake. Figures. Oh well. Read more here.
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