Every year’s Consumer Electronics Show, (“CES”) that annual festival that has been held in Las Vegas since the beginning of time, has some quotable and notable products. Most introductions were ‘ho-hum’ products, as there were few game-changers, and most were product extensions that demo’d new uses of yesterday’s technology innovations.
The top buzz category was Wearable Technology. Think of the Pebble wristwatch, the Basis Band, Fitbit, the Nike Fuelband. And then there’s InterAxon’s Muse brain-wave reading headband that sends information to your smartphone. Innovation is alive, smaller, wearable, wireless and connects to your other electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops
Most companies in the wearable technology field were small venture backed companies. These companies are backed by mega billion dollar venture capital funds, such as Norwest, and ADC, which are now the research and development labs of multi-billion dollar corporations.
The product that most people will love to hate is the HAPIfork, which is designed to measure ‘fork servings,’ which measures your forkful, the rate at which people eat and the intervals between each forkful. It even flashes a warning if you’re deemed to be eating too fast. Hmmm. Something to give my step-daughter, who rushes from dinner table to other more pressing activities.
OK, what about the large companies? Interesting products included Corning’s flexible glass, and the touch screen laptop with Windows 8. (While BLP is a Mac-house, I’m very interested in the Windows 8 touch screen laptop.) Evolutionary products were the 4k Ultra HD TVs and smartphone add-ons. Chinese companies are predictably gunning for the US consumer goods market, where Huawei and ZTE introduced new smartphones.
The oddest products: Nano Nails which turn fingernails into touch screen stylii, iPad toilets and DecaTxt’s 10 key keyboard.
OK, I have to mention it: What about Bill Clinton’s keynote address for Samsung? Does it get much stranger than a past US president leveraging his notoriety for a Korean consumer electronics company? Even though he did put in a plug for gun control.
Our next game: Match the smaller, more innovative companies with potential acquirers.