Year of the app signals CES shift from hardware
INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW:Once a showcase for the hardware of the industry giants, CES has seen a new breed of firms emerge
This is the year of the app. So said the Consumer Electronics Association as it prepared for the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
It was a shift in thinking for a show that has traditionally focused on hardware. It’s not entirely unexpected.
This year’s CES showcased just how much the technology landscape has changed over the past few years. Where the Las Vegas show once played host to industry giants, this year saw a new breed of firms rise to the fore.
It wasn’t that long ago that CES was the place for major tech firms to announce their hardware plans for the coming year. Microsoft announced its Xbox at the event in 2011; Palm’s Pre was announced there in 2009, along with its Web OS.
Going back further, CES was the platform for the announcement of important developments such as the plasma TV, the DVD, the CD player and even the video cassette recorder. There were still plenty of hardware announcements to be found, but the impact wasn’t as significant as it might have been in the past.
From new chips to smart TVs, and audio miniature speakers to high-end car products, there was much to see.
Big names absent
TV manufacturers tried to generate enthusiasm for big screens with ultra-high-definition and smart interfaces. Bigger smartphones and better mobile chips were unveiled.
Some of the big names in tech were absent from this year’s expo. Last year was Microsoft’s last big appearance at the electronics show; Apple hasn’t taken part in CES for several years and doesn’t look likely to change that in the short term. HP, meanwhile, had a smaller presence, preferring to have meeting rooms rather than be on the expo floor, while Dell continued to pare down its commitment.
It was a similar trend for some of the Irish attendees at CES. Although few were present on the show floor – PCH International was on the Iolite stand – others, including Digisoft, Openet, Decawave and S3 were in attendance. There were some Irish divisions of multinationals at the event too, including Zagg and Allsop Europe.
It was Qualcomm, the mobile chipmaker that powers smartphones made by HTC, Samsung, LG and Nokia, that delivered the opening speech of the event instead of Microsoft.
Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs kicked off the conference on Tuesday with a speech on the theme of “Born mobile” and announced a new Snapdragon chip that would power a new generation of smartphones and bring ultra-HD video to phones.