Big crowds not matched by big news at CES 2012

By Shaun Nichols
12 Jan 2012 View Comments
Stalls at CES 2012

In the PC space, ultrabooks continued to dominate the conversation. Championed by Intel, the ultra-light high performance notebook category continued its efforts to slim down while still providing top-notch performance for both enterprise and consumer use.

Further reading

Intel wasn't the only chipmaker to tout its achievements at CES this year. Speaking at his company's CES keynote, chief executive Paul Jacobs revealed that the company's Snapdragon platform has been the processor of choice for every single Windows Phone handset to date.

Qualcomm also revealed a plan to win over the mobile space by focusing on growth opportunities in developing markets.

Absent throughout much of the show, however, was the revelation of any major updates or breakthroughs.

While 3D TVs and Sandy Bridge ultrabooks were high-profile announcements in previous years, they were merely product update and roadmap announcements in 2012. While there was no shortage of exhibitors or attendees this year, no one topic was able to dominate the conversation amongst press and attendees.

There were intriguing exhibits from some smaller vendors, however. Switch Lighting demonstrated a series of LED-powered lightbulbs which the company believes will provide superior light-quality, lifespan and energy efficiency than the latest CFL bulbs without the need for hazardous chemicals.

The lack of big headlines does not necessarily indicate a bad show, however. Many firms were able to make progress with existing technologies. OLED and 3D display technology took steps forward with the introduction larger and thinner screens, while categories such as convertible tablet/notebook combinations are becoming far more attractive to the general public.

Additionally, the ultrabook space began to transition from being a high-end specialty to a class of devices used by the general public as vendors have begun to develop and offer lower-cost models for both the business and consumer markets.

In the end, it is hard to argue that the CES conference is not as healthy as it ever was. Even in a year when there was no clear winner stealing the spotlight, the conference drew record crowds and unprecedented media coverage.

Attendees were still given plenty to see as vendors began to deliver on the big promises of past years and lay out a map for the near future.

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