There were a number of hot trends at this years CES, such as 3D televisions, Internet-connected cars, tablets, e-book readers, and Netbooks. Unfortunately, I don't cover any of that technology.
I cover portable media players, and for the most part, CES offered slim pickings. Last year, we had Sony's X-Series Walkman unveiling, a hands-on with the long-awaited Samsung P3, and a grab bag of PMP announcements from Iriver. This year, Sony was mum on the Walkman, Samsung's MP3 players seemed desperately gimmicky, and Iriver's lone PMP announcement came with scant details.
Truth be told, I was hardly surprised by what I saw. It was what I didn't see that made me feel uneasy. Going into CES, my preshow predictions promised Android-powered PMPs and all kinds of interesting fusions between iPod accessories and custom-built apps. Well, I was wrong.
Sure, there were dozens of Android-powered touch-screen devices out there, but in the looming shadow of Apple's late-January announcement, manufacturers are more focused than ever on positioning these kinds of products as tablets. So be it.
As far as app-integrated iPod Touch and iPhone accessories went, iLuv limped out a speaker dock with an alarm clock app, iHome announced its iHome+Sleep app, and Blue Microphones showed off a lite version of the FiRe audio recorder app designed for use with their revamped Mikey microphone accessory. Neat stuff, but hardly Earth-shattering.
That said, one product we saw that really did break new ground with a combination of app and hardware is the Tivit, a pocket receiver that takes digital television signals and shoots them to your iPod Touch or iPhone (or other smartphone) via Wi-Fi. The associated Tivit app acts as a channel guide and makes the set-up and device pairing fairly seamless. We thought it was so cool, in fact, that we bestowed it with a CNET Best of CES award for the portable media category.
Tivit Mobile TV Receiver
One unexpected treat during the week was Microsoft's announcement that its Zune HD will soon support XviD video playback and Smart DJ playlist creation. It's unfortunate that the announcement got a little lost in the deluge of other CES news, but I'm sure the devoted Zune owners of the world perked their ears up a little.
MP3 Insider podcast cohort Jasmine France kept herself busy with a number of headphone announcements, including a new Adidas line from Sennheiser, noise-canceling in-ear headphones from Sony, and a new P Diddy-branded line from Monster with the unfortunate name of Diddy Beats. Also, we found out that your bicycle helmet is going to get a whole lot louder.