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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CES 2013: One Big Step for Mobility

CES 2013, which has truly established itself as a major mobile venue for North America, wrapped up with record attendance last week, with major innovations and announcements by vendors of all sizes and industry segments. The show has transformed itself from a pure television and consumer electronics forum, to a cross-industry event representing market segments ranging from Ultra HD TVs to a Rolls Royce electric car. Interestingly, it was only eight years ago at this show during Bill Gates’ Windows Media Center demo, which resulted in the historic blue screen of death. 

Bits and bytes
Also present at CES was FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Despite some heckling, he announced additional 195MHz of spectrum will be allocated in the 5GHz bad for WiFi 802.11ac, also known as Gigabit WiFi. This is the first time in more than 20 years the FCC has allocated such an amount of public use spectrum without a multibillion dollar auction process. How times have changed ….

Although Mobile World Congress continues to be the leading global mobile industry venue, CES has received noticeable attention from mobile infrastructure, devices, platform, and ecosystem vendors this year. All major device and platform vendors made key announcements, ranging from Huawei’s 6.1 inch Android smartphone to Panasonic’s 20 inch tablet. 

Mobile got star attention at CES 2013. Gone are the days of titans promoting Blu-ray disc format to mainstream vendors.  Instead there were displays of the latest processors and handheld devices running Android. Chinese vendors spent significant resources to showcase new innovations, with Huawei receiving very positive media attention (rare in the North America trade press). 

With the absence of US tech giants (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.), Samsung stole the show with its bold announcements and innovations. Traditionally known for its conservative methods, Samsung surprised the industry and openly discussed developing projects such as its San Jose, CA, Display Lab innovations (featuring flexible screens) and spoke about its partnership with ARM, showcasing first- generation Octa-core processors. 

CES 2013 captured the mobile industry’s attention and this is significant, especially where tweets, specialist bloggers, and trade media rarely have spent keystrokes to recognize the venue. Oddly, this year trade media financed their editorial staff to cover the news and events. Even mainstream pundits who had publicly denounced and written off the CES event this year, later embarrassingly admitted they were wrong. CES is now a mainstream mobile venue for North America.

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