- I know one thing:
The 300 e-mails announcing product launches at the International Consumer Electronics
Show are certainly rocking my inbox.
Thursday through Sunday, the world's largest consumer technology trade show
will flash the brightest silicone-embedded strobe in Las Vegas. There'll be
the usual fanfare of keynote speakers and talking heads -- from Michael Powell
to Carly Fiorina -- rhapsodizing over tech innovations and media mergers.
But I'm more interested in doing my own sleuthing for the hot new trends of
Last year, flat-screen displays and wireless networking stole the show, which
also featured some straight-to-landfill e-junk that made me fear for our planet.
Judging from the early press releases I've received, integrated home-entertainment
networks, the digital car, wearable tech, home-network devices, DVD recorders,
and portable DVD players are the categories to watch in the coming months. (Stand-alone
DVD players continue to be the fastest-selling technology of all time, with
factory-to-dealer sales of more than $3 billion in 2003.)
All the usual suspects -- Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba -- will be
out in their PR regalia, touting both upgrades and full-scale launches. Here's
a preview of some head-turning products and innovations I'll be sniffing out
for future reviews:
Sound bite: Starship Enterprise-like wireless wrist remote that operates all
the electronics in your smart home.
Real-world business app: Provides a sterile interface for medical professionals
and staff. www.lightglove.com
Systems Solutions's DocuPen Scanner
Sound bite: A sci-fi-inspired pen-size scanner that can capture an entire page
of text and graphics in four seconds and can store as many as 100 pages in 2
megabytes of flash memory.
Real-world business app: Like a pocket-size photographic memory, the pen scanner
lets road warriors capture everything from business cards to, ahem, classified
documents that can't be copied.
30-Inch LCD FlatTV
Sound bite: Dutch company Philips is still the category killer when it comes
to design, and this environmentally conscious TV breaks new ground.
Real-world business app: For companies trying to cut down on power consumption,
the Philips LCD requires 40 percent less energy and weighs significantly less
than comparable flat screens. www.philips.com
Sound bite: Hot off the presses, the first of the double-layer DVD drives and
discs will ship this quarter. Sony, historically a flagship in digital media
storage, will be doing a first-look demo.
Real-world business app: With nearly twice the capacity of standard discs,
or about 8.5GB each, double-layer DVDs will no doubt be instantly christened
the non plus ultra of digital storage for entertainment-media types. www.sony.com
So, sports fans, keep your browsers tuned to this station for a play-by-play
show wrap-up early next week.