My deep thoughts on the CE Week show

Sections: CE Week 2014

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ce-week-2014_logo_for_websiI’m happily back in our Philadelphia office today after spending most of the week in New York (BOOOOO!) for the CE Week show. It was my first CE Week and, well, color me impressed.

Full disclosure: Technology Tell’s parent company runs CE Week. That said, I’m not a shill. It goes against my whole being. It took me a six-year detour in PR (albeit a lucrative one) to figure that out.

Anyway, I’ve been to dozens of trade shows over the years. When it comes to these events, some are great, some are duds. This one had a really positive energy, not the least of which was due to the large number of innovative startups in the house, complementing what was a sizable presence from the old guard of consumer electronics. You can check out what everyone announced here.

Hell, I heard one person call it “Summer CES.” Which makes sense, because it’s a much-needed mid-year event in the media capital of the world that the electronics industry and a boatload of media are increasingly cozying up to. It’s a chance for everyone to gauge the state of consumer electronics midway between the giganto January Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas (BOOOOO!).

The company that really stood out to me above all others was FiftyThree. Led by a charismatic young co-founder and CEO, Georg Petschnigg, its Pencil product, an incredibly intuitive iPad stylus that acts EXACTLY like a mechanical pencil to help people of all walks of life to express their creativity digitally, was a revelation. It’s been around for a little while, but this was our first up-close and personal encounter with it. Watch for Devon Razey’s comprehensive review of Pencil in the coming weeks.

There were other interesting products on hand. Lots of people were enchanted by Voyce, a smart dog collar that allows you to keep tabs on your canine friend’s health and moods. It helped, of course, that there were super-lovable dogs in attendance to put a “face” on the product, like Henry here.

How about turning your skull into a remote control? Perceptive Devices has a technology that could potentially be integrated into wearables a la Google Glass.

Companies like Onkyo and Pioneer were showing off the latest home audio breakthrough, Dolby Atmos. I sat in on Pioneer’s demo, complemented by an Epson projector on an 11-foot screen. Atmos takes the already-compelling concept of 5.1 surround sound to another level by introducing additional speakers that fire up to your ceiling, so that sounds can now whiz over your head in addition to around you. It’s totally immersive stuff and I wish I had a spare few grand to drop on a system.

I love portable power, but I hate carrying a huge brick around with me to benefit from it. That’s why Thinium caught my eye.

Oh, and the Ultra HD TV situation is still totally ambiguous.

My colleagues here at Technology Tell will be sharing their thoughts on the show over the next week. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you can watch all kinds of video from the show at CE Week TV.

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