The Consumer Electronics Show last week would have been a great subject for an entry in the Bill Gates blog, but the Microsoft chairman said his highly anticipated online diary...
LAS VEGAS — The Consumer Electronics Show last week would have been a great subject for an entry in the Bill Gates blog, but the Microsoft chairman said his highly anticipated online diary is not ready for prime time.
Gates said last week he is considering producing a blog and has written three entries. But he’s waiting to see if he can produce a series of entries over, say, six to eight months, before he starts publishing.
Another good subject for his blog would be the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, later this month, he said.
Sweat equity: Exhibitors unveiled a thousand new ways to be entertained while sitting on your behind — and Jackie Chan just can’t take it anymore.
People need to move around and exercise while they are having fun, the Hong Kong action-movie superstar said while announcing a new fitness video game he developed for the SSD‘s Xavix game console.
Crowds gathered to watch him work up a sweat as he demonstrated the game and the Xavix console, which connects to a TV and uses sensors to monitor players’ movements and interact with the on-screen action.
Chan’s JCX line of fitness games includes a boxing title and another that uses a mat as a controller for workout routines.
He said he decided to make a physical, interactive video game after trying to get an 8-year-old relative, who would spend eight hours in a chair playing video games, to come out and play.
Chip off the old rock: Retiring Intel Chief Executive Craig Barrett delivered the most rambunctious keynote of the week.
It began with a Broadway-esque music and dance number but reached its crescendo when Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler joined Barrett for a duet of “Walk This Way.”
The pair demonstrated technology that makes it easy for consumers to manipulate and create music on a PC, but for many, Barrett’s bold, rockin’ performance was the most memorable part of the speech and perhaps the whole show.
Stars come out: Tyler was one of several tech and nontech celebrities that Barrett brought on stage. Also appearing were eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman and actor Robert Redford, whose Sundance festival is using Intel networking technology.
TI, meet HP: Another memorable moment came when Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, misread his teleprompter and invited an audience to come hear the keynote speech by “TI’s Carly Fiorina.” Actually Fiorina is chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instrument‘s boss is Rich Templeton, but both did give keynotes on the same day.
Shapiro corrected himself, then said, “All right, folks, I have to yield to age here,” as he put on his spectacles.
No kidding: Overheard in the jammed South Hall on Thursday morning: “I’ve been here an hour and I’m ready to get the [bleep] out of here — it’s too much.”
Speaking of too much: Vending machines in the convention center sold bottles of Pepsi or water for $2.75 apiece. Fortunately, they took credit cards.
Wired rooms: The Las Vegas Hilton is also discovering the joys of networking. Its rooms have the Vegas-standard in-room safe to hide your winnings, but now they’re connected to the hotel’s network. The safes are wired to a phone-based charge system that requires guests to dial an automated service and pay $3 a day to activate them.
Rooms are nearly $300 a night during CES, so what’s a few more bucks?
Boeing shows up: Among the more than 120,000 attendees were a half-dozen from Boeing, including 7E7 workers.
“We’re seeing more consumer stuff converging into aerospace,” said Tom Akada, a supply manager with Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Airlines are asking Boeing about the consumer-electronics products passengers carry. Planes are also getting more in-flight entertainment features.
Magic debut: Boeing was just a small part of the Seattle presence.
Seattle’s Pure Networks was there to unveil its Network Magic home networking software. It also announced a partnership with America Online to produce a special version of the software for AOL customers later this year.
Gamesmanship: RealNetworks flew KING-TV personality John Curley down to host a mock game show in its booth.
Like a carnival barker, Curley pitched the music trivia game and RealNetworks products to passersby.
“CES has only been going on for a couple of hours, but I would say this is the best booth, wouldn’t you agree?” Curley’s amplified voice boomed in the noisy hall.
Prizes such as a wireless music receiver and three-month subscriptions to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody music service were handed out by young women in tight pink T-shirts, black miniskirts and high-heeled boots.
RealNetworks’ booth also gave away passes to a party Thursday night at the House of Blues club featuring the band Smashmouth. The floor was illuminated by fans, who held up latest-generation cellphones with built-in cameras and bright displays.
Muscle sounds: Digital music players are getting smaller and smaller, but somebody forgot to tell the guys making car-audio products.
Many of the automotive-electronics companies were exhibiting docking stations and wiring harnesses for connecting Apple Computer iPods and other portable players to car systems, but most of the booths were dedicated to enormous speakers and amplifiers.
Auto showdown: While Japanese and Korean electronics companies tried to one-up each other with wider TVs, smaller phones and bigger hard drives, other exhibitors were trying to outdo each other with cool cars.
Microsoft Automotive‘s Hummer with an Xbox in the back was parked in front of the convention center, but inside, the show had more Hummers than a Schwarzenegger campaign rally, including some with custom gullwing doors and bushel sized-speakers.
Toyota Scions and customized choppers were sprinkled across the floor, and a couple of Lamborghinis hardly raised eyebrows.
Sony managed to stand out with a prototype Ford Shelby Cobra, tricked out with Sony car stereo components, that’s appearing in one of its upcoming movies.
Monster Audio also won bragging rights with a bright-red Porsche Carrera GT Cabriolet that overshadowed the yellow Ferrari Modena elsewhere in its booth.
Although the Porsche lists for $440,000, apparently it comes with an inadequate stereo, so Monster added four amplifiers (totaling 600 watts), an 8-inch subwoofer and a bunch of fancy cables. The company also mounted a matching red iPod on the center console.
Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or email@example.com