The 6 Least Surprising Things About CES

CES 2014 yielded few surprises, but these six trends were unbelievably predictable, and disappointing. If you’d like to find out what product I chose as the most exciting development of CES, skip to the end. As always, enjoy!.

1. Makerbot Stayed expensive:

2013 saw a 3D-printing price war, with printers going for as little as $200, and new printers introduced that will cost as little as $100, but the consumer market leader, Makerbot, refused to join the price wars. They introduced a new “low-cost” model with a tiny print volume, and a $1,400 price tag, as well as a new top model starting at $6,500. Their top competitors pretty much stayed in sync, like 3D System’s Cube 3D printer division, who also released new models.

2. 4K Televisions Stayed Expensive, and there’s still no content:

The joke amongst owners of 4K TVs is, “The only 4K content I’ve ever seen on my TV is the logo when it turns on”.

3. Smartphone makers released a bunch of curved smartphones, and incremental upgrades:

I don’t get the appeal of a curved smartphone, but “to each his own”. LG announced another curved smartphone today, and other companies discussed plans to follow suit. On the incremental upgrade spectrum, Sony took their Xperia Z, gave it a new processor and camera, and called it the Xperia Z1S. It looks fantastic as a phone, but it’s still just a minor upgrade. Oh, and there was a curved TV too (why?).

4. Some car company tried to flaunt a green car in the color blue:

Cool companies don’t have to talk about how cool they are, and they never show a model car in some ugly shade of blue. Hyundai did just that with their fuel cell-based car. The blue fuel cell car may be green, but I wouldn’t qualify it as cool. There’s always some type of car at CES, but unless it’s from a startup, Tesla, or self-driving, I really don’t think anyone cares.

5. The “Smart”, or “connected” home is the new startup theme:

Each year, as bigger manufacturers adopt trends, many smaller companies back away, and find some new market to build something cool in. Some recent categories: A few years ago  it was phone accessories in general, which bred companies like Mophie and propelled companies like mophie, then wearables which gave us companies like Jawbone (though they’re mostly audio), Fitbit, and Pebble, and finally smart home devices have become the “it” thing for startups to try to find their place in.

6. And Speaking Of Wearables, Big Companies Are Jumping to Make Their Mark

It seems everyone wants a piece of the hot wearables market, and it just got significantly more crowded. Crowdfunded Pebble released a new smart watch. ZTE, whose smartphone share has eroded,  released the Bluewatch. LG released the lifeband. Rather unpredicted was that Pebble paired with Mercedes, while Samsung partnered for its gear with BMW. What’s with the luxury german car connection?


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The Final Word…

I’d like to say I’ve seen some innovative products come up in the tech media, but I’ve only seen a few. The one I’m most excited for is Sony’s new cloud-based live-TV and on-demand streaming service, which if it achieves its potential, could finally kill the cable box.

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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