The annual trek to Vegas arrives in early January of 2018. I expect a show full of optimism … not necessarily breakthroughs, but more of incremental improvements. Oddly, this exactly describes the 2008 CES show as well. The earthquake known as the iPhone, introduced at the same time as the 2007 CES, was finally making its mark in history. So everyone was playing “catch-up” and throwing out as many cases and accessories as possible for the new phone. Everybody who produced phones at that time were, to put it mildly, shell-shocked, confused and lost. The future path for much of the technology that would become commonplace, was firmly established. Admittedly, the phone was a terrible, limited device … but demonstrated what was possible, by what it lacked. And that’s what was truly important.

At that show there were a few notable ideas and products worth mentioning. One I really liked was liquid-crystal window. It’s basically a LCD film over normal glass windows that go opaque with a touch of a button. Amazingly, this has not really taken off … I believe the price and being forced to use a few standard window sizes were the main issues, as the tech (at least by today’s standard) is nothing special. The tech to do this ten years ago was utterly absurd, requiring seven layers of plastics, adhesive and glass. Today, only a single sheet of glass or polycarbonate with a single sheet of LCD film is required. Adding color would be simple as well. If an OLED skin (and the appropriate electronics) was used instead of a cheaper LCD version, you’d have a 4K television too. And with the introduction of the ability to produce fully functional bizarre LCD shapes (example: new digital dashboards), no standard sizes are required of windows. So a retrofit should be possible. Think of car windows, all of which have laminated glass, having this LCD film. When you lock your doors, all the windows going opaque to prevent anyone seeing inside, reducing heat and reducing UV interior damage. Residents in towers no longer having to have drapes or blinds for privacy, just a beautiful view only when it’s wanted.


MBL gets the award for the weirdest speaker at the show with what is basically an inside-out speaker. Taking an entire month to produce the four handmade towers and almost costing as much as the GDP of a small country, they sounded ….. ok ….. yep, just ok ….. For a speaker system with that many zeros in the price tag, I expected more. But, they would look perfectly at home in a rapper’s crib.



Really small laptops were out in force and even by today’s mobile phone standards, pretty weak. Gaming laptops only had a video card with a half a gig of RAM and two gig or less of main RAM. In comparison, my new Note 8 has six gig of main RAM. And in comparison to what we call the “Beast”, my new Alienware gaming rig, it’s laughable.

The major tech of the foreseeable future was coming … mobile devices. The show was odd in that many still didn’t fully understand that. Those who didn’t, aren’t at the show any longer …

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