CES Unveiled is the unofficial opening to CES for the press. It’s essentially a micro-conference where a small number of vendors show off their latest products. For 2013 the list of vendors included big-hitters such as Lenovo, LG, and DISH Network, but in total there were over 70 companies vying for the attention of hundreds of members of the press.
This is the first time I’ve been to CES, so I had pretty high expectations for Unveiled. I assumed that this would be the place to see some of the coolest new technology and gadgets, and that there wouldn’t be a single iPhone case or Bluetooth speaker in sight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite right. There weren’t a lot of those types of vendors, but there also weren’t very many vendors showing off technology that I thought might be really innovative.
Lenovo had, by far, the biggest display area. Unfortunately it was jam packed with people for the entire night. We could see that they were showing off a new Windows 8 tablet that docked into a keyboard. I eventually found out it was the ThinkPad Helix. It’s an impressive tablet PC in some ways. It offers up to a Core i7 processor, and it has a beautiful 11.6″ 1080p display. The keyboard dock in it doubles the battery life and allows the tablet to be docked with the screen facing the keyboard, or away from it. The price looks to be around $1500. They also had a 27″ “table PC” on display. It’s massive 10 finger touch display sits on top of a Core i7 processor and discrete graphics card, and even a battery. While you could theoretically get two hours of life from that battery, you probably won’t be all that comfortable lugging around a 17 pound tablet. We have an appointment with Lenovo later in the week, so if this all sounds interesting make sure to check back later.
The LG display had a constant stream of people. They were showing off their 85″ 4K 3D television. It was definitely stunning to look at, but we just can’t imagine 4k really taking off in the consumer space in the next couple of years.
There were a few different companies showing off home automation products. Belkin is adding a light switch to their Wi-Fi enabled line of products (more on that in a later post), and Lowes is expanding their Iris system to include a necklace pendent that can be worn by elderly people you might be caring for. If the pendent doesn’t sense any motion for a longer-than-usual amount of time it can notify a care-giver. There were a couple other less impressive offerings from other companies, so we’ll just skip over them.
DISH Network was there, and we were quite excited to see what they would have after rocking the DVR world with the Hopper in 2012. However, all they had to show at Unveiled was a second-screen iPad app to compliment the Hopper DVR system. They have a press conference tomorrow though, and we’re hoping to see a bigger announcement at that time.
Maybe going into CES Unveiled with high expectations was a recipe for disaster, or maybe it really was a less-than-overwhelming event. As Richard and I walked out we really struggled to think of what we would have given the “best of show” nod to. Even now, three hours later, I don’t see any one single product that really stood out. Sure LG’s 4k television was impressive, but it’s not the first time it’s been shown. Lenovo had some nice new computers, but they were far more evolutionary than revolutionary. Fortunately the show is really just beginning. Monday is when most of the big press conferences take place, and the actual show floor doesn’t open until Tuesday. We’ll be here covering it all!