CES 2007

Aron Schatz
January 14, 2007
CES happens to be the biggest technology show in the world. With nearly 2 million square feet of floor space, doing this show in only four days was impossible. Needless to say, there were many interesting bits of technology.

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CES debuted 40 long years ago when solid state TVs were the new thing on the block (those things will never catch on!). Today, the show has blossomed into the monolith that it is spanning almost 2 million square feet of show floor space. The show spans multiple locations and doing the entire show in only 4 days seems impossible alone. While walking the show was quite a feat, most of the new things were refreshes of old designs and there was nothing that sparked the "I'm buying that when it debuts" nerve. Either way, the show was very interesting. Let us walk through some of the exhibits.

The Show:

Microsoft PR

Most of the exhibits took up the entire Las Vegas Convention Center area. As you can probably guess, Microsoft plastered their presence everywhere. The entire city was packed with techies and their crazy smart phones and bad manners.

ATI Cards

AMD has been pushing their new ATI brand into their lineup and showing off their latest products. Sadly, they still do not have anything comparable to the Core 2 from Intel... They will soon, though.


Another interesting tidbit is that AMD is powering many new TVs with their Xilleon chips. You have got to love the names of the chips.


Another great thing that AMD was showing off was their OLPC computer. It runs a 366MHz AMD Geode CPU with 128MB of RAM and 500MB of flash storage. It contains wireless networking and the devices act as a mesh network. The last I heard was that the power could come from a foot pedal for places without AC power. The interface is a custom built derivative of Red Hat. AMD is committed to having 50% of the world have computing power by 2015. This is a very lofty goal and I doubt AMD will make the target. Plus, not everyone needs a computer.


Creative was showing off some cool things as well. They had a pass-through device that cleaned and enhanced sound coming from any stereo source. It worked extremely well and sounded like 3D audio even when the source was not 3D. Very impressive. The product is called the Xmod. It does not use drivers. Creative also mentioned that they try to not have to load drivers if they do not need to which is a huge plus in my book. Creative was also showing off other things.


One of the best gamers in the world was at the Creative booth pimping Creative product. There is a line from Fatal1ty produced by Creative strictly for gaming. The shot above shows my nephew getting raped at Quake 4. The score was 22 to -4. By the way, Fatal1ty is cheap with spawn killing and such and he only played one map. If this was a public server, he would be kicked.


VIA had a press event that served lunch at the Pieros restaurant. They were showing off many SFF PCs. It was excellent and I meet with companies such as Kingston that were there to show off some of their products. Kingston should be sending some high speed DDR2 memory this week for testing. Kingston also produces flash and USB memory.


Ultramobile PCs were on showcase at the event. Even though the battery life is not where it should be (two hours or less...), it is still an interesting concept. It will remain that way until the battery life improves to at least a full eight hour day. No one wants to keep charging their computer over and over to get through the work day. Granted, there are many different vertical uses for UMPCs. The eo from TabletKiosk was shown with a credit card reader that can be used as a POS system. Businesses would benefit from this mobile type of payment system.

Intel Bike

Over at the Intel booth, they were showing a smattering of Viiv and Vpro computers along with the great Core 2 powered machines. What I found most interesting was the exercise bike. The exercise bike was not that expensive if you planned on running a gym. It really made bicycling enjoyable as opposed to boring when doing it indoors. It was a blast to have to shift up and down in response to the grade of the terrain and having other bicyclists keeping pace was also a blast. This thing should be in every gym to motivate people. Imagine taking a ride down NYC or up through the Alps! That is me riding the bike, by the way.
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I finally see the elusive HD-DVD drive that will mount in a computer. These high-def drives are useless right now and I suggest waiting forever until a better standard comes out without DRM and without this crazy competing standard. That being said, the amount of HD-DVD content was impressive. I read on a news post of ours that the porn industry will be supporting HD-DVD... HD wins by default.

Rugged UMPC

Back to UMPCs, this ruggedized model from Switchback is built to milspec and can take a beating. It is still a product in search of a market because the battery lift is not there. The show on the screen is Future Weapons.


Seagate was showing off their new hardened hard drive in their carputer display. The device runs Windows XP Embedded, but was actually very interesting. The touch screen handles input like a dream. If you want to get to navigation from anywhere, just type an "N" on the screen. That is where things are heading.


Not everything that runs Windows is all peachy, though. The fabled smart home from Microsoft was completely thrown out the Windows in favor of a sales pitch from Best Buy. The so called smart home that they were showing was no more than some gadgets in a house and there was nothing that I saw that I would really need. The interface was also terrible. One screen would display all the devices in the house with no sorting or anything and they said it was the best thing... keep dreaming about this idea. The funniest thing about this display was that they hired actors to play parts in the house instead of having someone familiar with the product do a demonstration. It was not what I expected and I certainly will not pay Really Good Purchase $15000 for a smart home setup.

Battery Explosion

I saw a Sony sign at the international area at the Hilton... ohh. I just thought it was from Sony due to the "Battery Explosion" comment. I thought only Sony batteries exploded. The writing on many signs at the international area were hilarious. Most were companies like "Best Good Technology" or "World Mastery Technology." It was very funny to listen to a presentation in perfect English have the wrong sayings. "It will not change color or shape to what long time in any way." Imaging listening to that and not laughing.

Glowy Keyboard

I did see something I did want. A company was showing off a keyboard that you could individually light each key as a different color. That was one of the coolest things I have seen yet. They also showed off fans that displayed temperature readings and fan speed. I had never seen them before but they told me that they have been out for awhile. I guess I was in the dark on that.


By far the coolest thing at the show was this joystick from Novint. It provided tactile feedback in an amazing way. This is the first step to real virtual reality feedback. For instance, if you hit a solid object, the joystick would not move forward. If you were in a thick substance, the motion would be harder to move. It really was very impressive. They showed the joystick working in Half-Life 2 and it was simply amazing. I am waiting to get one to review to really test how the product works.

Geil Concept

Aside from memory makers such as Patriot, Super Talent, Adata and others, Geil had something that really caught my interested. They showed me a concept product that would be able to take power directly from the power supply instead of from the motherboard. This means that the RAM will generate less heat and be much more stable. This is the evolution of where RAM is heading and I am glad Geil thought of this.


Well, I know I said I would provide coverage everyday but when you are having fun in Vegas, it is though to stop and write. There were many more exhibits that I would love to talk about and hopefully over the next few weeks, the companies that I talked to will be sending some cool products out for review for you that are reading to enjoy. Stay tuned because this should be an interesting year.


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