Smart appliances are once again in focus at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The four-day event helps set trends for the rest of the year, but vibrant competition may also mean growing confusion.
The start of the CES in Las Vegas saw much attention of the tech world still devoted to next-generation televisions. With a couple more new software systems announced for Internet-enabled sets letting viewers interact with friends online on the big screen, a new round of competition was ushered in.
The slew of operating system options for smart TVs is a thorn in the side of many technology experts, one of the problems being that more consumer choice will also make it more difficult for services to come up with compatible apps.
"I keep hoping we'll see convergence," nScreen Media analyst Colin Dixon remarked. "Unfortunately, we keep seeing the number of operating systems increasing, not decreasing."
New features, new excitement?
Producers are working on ways to snap out of this technological lull, and the next big thing is likely to be mass-production slightly curved and flexible display screens for smartphones and tablets - a development that might eventually lead to devices and displays that can be folded. Such future devices will be "smart enough to carry with you at all times without thinking about them, and essential enough that you won't want to get rid of them," Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo said.
Only days ahead of the Detroit auto show, the electronics fair in Las Vegas is morphing into a platform for smart cars, too. German carmaker Audi and Google, for instance, are showing consumers what their planned cooperation is all about: how the Android operating system should embellish Audi's in-car entertainment features.
hg/msh (Reuters, AP)