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CES trends

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Early January means CES in the tech calendar as the media gives its full attention to the consumer electronics sector. With some 2,600 exhibitors there was a lot of news coming out of the event. But I was more interested in some of the more macro trends that you could see from the coverage and hear from friends that attended the event. Here’s my three big things:

Size zero design – Motorola was responsible for move towards size zero design and Apple has turned it into a must-have design feature in smartphones and computers. It was only natural that up and coming young Turks like Huawei with their Ascend P1 smartphone should demonstrate their technical prowess with the current thinnest phone.
Huawei-Ascend P1-smartphones
I also found it interesting that Fast Company wrote an article pointing out the design rabbit hole that size zero design is for device manufacturers and consumers. Pretty good, and only almost two years after this blog (^.^)

Austerity designs – a general observation from a couple of the people I knew had gone to CES was that manufacturers generally had a lower average ticket price on the items that they were displaying. There was less aspirationly priced items than in previous years, probably as manufacturers look to deal with the current economic climate. CES products are not only about drumming sales for the coming year, but also setting the tone for a next few years ahead. This pricing strategy indicates that many of the manufacturers probably aren’t expecting a huge economic bounce back in the West.

Smart everything – one of the things that struck me about CES is the way that technology was been shoehorned into every facet of life  from the car, to the wall thermostat and the wall plug. The only thing is I am not convinced that the electronics will last as long as the useful life of the car or the electro-mechanical Honeywell wall thermostat that would have been used previously. Secondly do you really want your home heating or your car dashboard to need rebooting every so often so that it keeps working?

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I like: Samsung Galaxy Y DUOS

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I currently have two mobile phones, an iPhone 3GS for all that stuff that smart phones do and texting. My second phone is a Samsung B5702 DUOS phone that does my voice calls. Its a great phone with a week long battery life and a space for two SIMs.
Samsung GALAXY Y DUOS Product Image (4)
With the Samsung Galaxy Y DUOS, it looks like I’ve been finally given a reason to upgrade. On the specifications the phone is a basic Android smartphone. But unlike the vast majority of dual SIM phones available it supports UMTS networks which gives you more options when you are roaming abroad on networks. It should be available early next year, but you will need to trawl Google and Amazon (I’d advise Amazon Germany) to find it as the mobile phone carriers won’t like it. More information on Samsung’s press room – the press release doesn’t give an exhaustive breakdown of the technical specifications and too much meaningless marketing platitudes.

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Out and about: Mobile Monday London: HTML vs. app

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Here are the notes I made from a panel discussion on the benefits of the mobile web versus a native application.
#momolo html vs app
Things broadly split down with the technical rationale for the web; applications seems to be much more about what consumers want. There seemed to be an assumption that mobile network access is of a reasonable quality and ubiquitous in nature which is a world away from the real world.

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Samsung building hype through eBay

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I got an email from eBay promoting that it was selling 500 Samsung Galaxy tablets at a discount. It was an interesting tactic probably being used as part of a wider campaign to try and get a critical mass of tablets out there and hopefully build a bit of buzz in the face of Apple’s iPad.
Samsung galaxy eBay UK newsletter
At the end of the day, it’s just a pretender. Just in the same way that nothing can make up for having the wrong brand of shoes in the playground; the Galaxy is no iPad.

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Augmented adult entertainment (probably NSFW)

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It was only a matter of time before someone turned the Kinect into a controller for an adult-themed metaverse called ThriXXX. Its all a bit creepy and sad in my book, though some cyber-futurists will herald it as a further step towards all of us becoming The Lawnmower Man. If it takes off (and I am not necessarily convinced it will), and it follows previous adult entertainment media trends then we will see Kinect devices hooked up to many more computers than games consoles in the future.

Whilst games consoles have been happy to host gratuitous violence, adult entertainment has been a much trickier proposition (in western markets at least, I am not sure if any of the gaming consoles run any of the ‘dating games’ that are popular in Japan). Classic examples of this include the controversial Hot Coffee mini-game hidden in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Acclaim Entertainment’s BMX XXX and the Leisure Suit Larry series of games.

C|Net highlights ambiguity over that fact that the application may be outside the terms of Microsoft’s license for the Kinect since it would be a commercial product.