CES 2007: Nonstop Mon and Tues

If you’ve never been to CES, we can’t even begin to tell you how exhausting it is, especially if you’re trying to make the most of it. So far, we’ve been up around 7AM and heading to bed after 2AM, and this does not include all of the walking (easily a few miles per day) and standing, and even missing meals sometimes. Add the pressure of trying to get stories written, and possibly the best thing you could wish for at the end of it all is that you don’t get sick.

But let me not take away from the sheer magnitude, the showmanship, and of course, the excitement of seeing brand new, cutting-edge, shiny technology up close, that is CES. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve ooh’ed and aah’ed, both in my mind and out loud. I try to keep myself in check with the out-loud ones, because after all, I’m supposed to be ‘press’!

Let’s recap what we saw over the 2 past days.

On Monday, we attended press conferences held by DirecTV and EchoStar (DISH Network). Interestingly, they both introduced portable solutions. Later in the day, we attended a panel discussion on Home Automation with panelists from leading HA companies. Although they all have differing technologies, they agreed that they need to increase consumer awareness of HA solutions and that it’s more affordable than they think.

We saw a great product demonstration from Digeo, who will be introducing their Moxi application in their own set top box which will be available directly to consumers in the 2nd half of this year. You may have been already exposed to their product if you are/were a cable customer in certain markets. After taking a detailed tour of their application, just the interface alone makes this a really compelling, slick alternative to TiVo and Media Center. Perhaps the only drawback may be the lack of support for Satellite TV services.

The last thing we attended on Monday was ShowStoppers. We forgot to pre-register but were able to sign up at the event. That was lucky for us, because we made a lot of contacts and discovered some cool new products like the Robopanda from WowWee, Planon’s Universal Charger, Streaming Networks’ iRecorder, Aegia’s PhysX, AverMedia’s HD PC-TV Tuners, and HAI’s Snap-Link. There was much more, but there’s no way that we could possibly cover all of the companies represented there in 3 or 4 hours. We’ll do a separate article covering ShowStoppers soon enough.

On Tuesday, we hit up a few more companies like NXT, Akimbo, Nyko at the Hilton. NXT showed off some of their new speaker technology, including some very cool technology for portable devices. Akimbo revealed that they are teaming up with AT&T to embed their technology in the AT&T Homezone box. Lastly, Nyko talked to us about their line of gamer accessories, and we got to play around with their new guitar game accessory, the Frontman. We used it with Guitar Hero, and I totally sucked at it!

Chief Gizmateer then made me walk over to the Central Plaza from the Hilton. Ugh. But it turned out to be worth it as we got a special tour of the smart house demo from one of the folks from Exceptional Innovation which makes the Life|ware application and hardware featured in the smart home. We’ll be doing a bigger piece on this later on.

After lunch, where we met up with some of the Capable Networks guys, we took some time to do some writing (and resting), and then headed over to the CES Bloggers event at the rather interesting Atomic Testing Museum. Later that night, we were invited out to dinner by Neuros to hear more about their Linux-based media center product, and had some great conversations (and steak) with their folks. We’re looking forward to reviewing the OSD when it comes out in beta.

To be honest, despite some of the cool stuff we saw, we were thrilled to head back to our rooms that night.

– Chief Gadgeteer