Friday, January 18, 2008

Small is big at CES

Imagine a football field sized room filled with all sorts of electronic toys and goodies. Then, multiply that by 90! That’s the size of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that was held January 7-10, in Las Vegas, Nev. Strangely, consumers aren’t invited to the show, just those in the business and those who cover the business of selling to consumers.

Among the highlights, Sony® introduced a 150 inch plasma TV. If you have over 12 feet of space on a wall in your house, this screen is for you. Also, Bill Gates bid farewell as he approaches retirement from Microsoft®.

The real news, however, is that small is big. To call the economic situation uncertain is an understatement. Many companies are hoping you’ll spend money on the content pipeline, multiple connected media types that fit in your pocket or purse, rather than the larger (and more expensive) TVs that take up an entire wall. While the line is becoming blurred between computer and TV entertainment, the mobile phone is becoming the true center of attention.

We’ve developed an insatiable appetite to be connected to the Internet regardless of where we are, simply because we can.

Music, e-mail, pictures, Internet access and even live television will all be options available to you on your phone.

However, no device does it all.

Simply because of content providers and owners, no studio, record label or other outlet is able, nor willing, to come up with a universal pricing policy. It would take an electronics industry version of the United Nations to make it work and let’s face it; the UN simply does not work very well.

That said; you as a consumer will be in pretty good shape when it comes to choice based on competition. We’re all part of an international market place and while you won’t be able to have it all, you will still be able to have a huge variety of content and a fast connection. You will even have choices between either low-cost or free service, if you’re willing to watch an ad before you make a call or access certain content. Which means it’s entirely possible for those political ads you hate so much to be on your phone or latest electronic device!

A generation ago, we bought televisions and phones with the expectation of having them for several years. Today many of you think in terms of just several months, because something newer and better is always around the corner.

Bob Dylan had it right years ago. “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” so is technology and the availability of the next big thing.

It’s always good to hear from you, drop me an e-mail anytime at


John W. Scherer