I'm back from the Consumer Electronics Show, the once-a-year showcase for the latest, most innovative consumer technology. With over 130,000 attendees, a show floor the size of six New York City blocks, and IMAX-sized arrays of flat-screen TVs everywhere, the CES can be hard to get your head around. But each year some strong themes emerge.
This year, a major development is what you could call the Emerging Entertainment Ecosystem. We're moving rapidly into a world where movies, live TV, music, and more will be available on all devices, anywhere and at any time.
The idea of "TV everywhere" has been around for a while. For instance, Slingbox began six years ago by marketing devices that send your TV signal to your smartphone or laptop, wherever you are. At the Slingbox booth, a rep told me how he'd recently used their product to watch his local TV station via Wi Fi on a plane over the Middle East. What's different now is that major manufacturers, software companies, and carriers are partnering to develop fully integrated systems to provide entertainment across devices.
The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on CES, chose several keynoters to talk about their visions for integrated entertainment. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg described how his company is developing strategies, infrastructure, and devices that will allow you to view TV or movies in HD with higher download and streaming speeds on your smartphone or tablet. The new XOOM tablet, designed in a partnership between Motorola, Google, and Verizon, is made for this use, and was a popular stop on the CES show floor. The XOOM, expected out early this year on Verizon's 3G network, will use a new version of Google's Android platform, called Honeycomb, that's developed specifically for tablet use and will be upgradeable to Verizon's new high-speed LTE network by mid-year.
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