A very detached view of CES

I have been watching the coverage of CES in Las Vegas with a greater degree of detachment than usual. Partly because I am not in the office, but also because none of the product announcements really felt like news. The one that did was Microsoft’s move to support Windows on ARM.

Why the main computing OS haven’t moved to a real-time OS a la WindRiver or QNX (now part of Blackberry) years ago is one of life’s great mysteries, however iOS seems to have brought that to a head now. With non-PC devices the concern is now about computing power versus power consumption, something that real-time OS’ have been doing for decades.

Otherwise CES seems to be about lots of companies playing catch-up with Apple and the consumer electronics companies trying to jump-start the big-screen television market. LCD television sales have peaked in developed markets and growth will be driven by emerging markets, which means higher volume of sets sold; but lower revenues as the margins are much smaller. This is what the whole 3D home cinema efforts all about.

As for the competitors to Apple, it says a lot that one of the big stories at was covers for the forthcoming iPad being shown at CES by their manufacturer.

Finally I find the trend for celebrity-endorsed gadgets a bit disturbing. Back in the day I was involved in launching the Palm Vx Claudia Schiffer edition. The key difference was the the fascia was anodised with a powder blue colour. It was also the point at which I started to get a real sense of the imminent decline of Palm as a company and a platform. I am amazed that Dr Dre’s headphones with Monster go for more than a decent pair of Beyerdynamic DT-150 or Sennheiser HD-25s. So my heart sank when I read about Lady Gaga and Polaroid.