Dorothy Crenshaw January 9, 2011 | 01:39:00

What Happened In Vegas: Top Trends From CES 2011

And I thought it was 2010 when CES got its mojo back. By the end of day one of CES 2011, I knew this year’s geekfest would easily top last year’s. The recession seems to be receding, the innovation thriving, and the news flowing. Here are the top trends from CES 2011.

Tablets, tablets, tablets. Not since Moses came down from the mountain has there been so much hype over the tablet and e-media category. Virtually every company showed an i-Pad killer, or, more reasonably, an i-Pad alternative. The smart players have created products to exploit the iPad weaknesses, like size, or lack of flash compatibility, and the result is that there’s literally something for everyone.

We’re all connected. Yes, it’s been threatened for years, but the promise of the connected living room is finally coming true. TVs, kitchen appliances, and even cars will be on the grid. Partly due to the use of the same wireless sensors that monitor energy usage in the home, it will now be at our control from must about anywhere.

Smart TV. It’s ironic that, while what we watch may be getting dumber (“Real Housewives,” anyone?) TVs are showing real smarts. Soon you won’t be able to find a TV that doesn’t offer Web access through the same apps we use on smartphones. The implications for e-commerce and customer service are clear. Next stop: social TV.

A need for speed. Gadgets are not only getting smarter, they’re faster for 2011. With 4G picking up steam, data speeds are racing towards the single biggest bump forward in years. Fasten your seat belts.

Immersive entertainment. I may never leave home again. Some of the large-screen TV demos in Vegas reminded me of the launch of virtual reality. Our client Sharp showed a video cube created from 60 LCD panels that was dizzying in its impact. 3D TV is bigger and brighter as more 3D content is expected to come on stream. Entertainment has never been so exciting, or so accessible.

Entertainment to go. It’s also portable. At our client’s booth I watched a demo of a content flicking technique, from tablet to large-screen TV, or from tablet to smartphone, that was just awesome. I have a seven-year-old daughter, and it gave me chills to think how different her media consumption will be from mine as a child. It’s personalized, portable, and literally at her fingertips. I’ve seen the future!

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