Schmidt on Next Big Thing: Devices have to be friends (live blog)

Panel featuring Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and others tackles the topic of ecosystems in consumer technology and how they are changing how companies approach the business.

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LAS VEGAS--What's the Next Big Thing in tech? Google's Eric Schmidt says it's devices that play well together.

Devices such as smartphones are a portal to other devices and applications, the Google executive chairman said today at the Next Big Thing panel at CES. But the trick to consumer products is to make them work, Schmidt said.

CNET brought together four industry luminaries at the annual confab to discuss and debate the evolution of ecosystems and how they are changing the landscape of consumer electronics.

The panel included Schmidt, Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian, Benchmark Capital General Partner Bill Gurley, and Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America sales, marketing, and operations, covering both the consumer and enterprise business divisions. CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood and CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley moderated the discussion.

During the panel, Samsung's Tim Baxter said the problem is that most devices are not, in fact, connected. This is a problem when so many companies want to own the ecosystem. He also said no one has the answer because of the pace of change and innovation.

The biggest shift in technology, Baxter said, is that consumers are now driving the enterprise space.

Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian said tech companies need to start from the experience, then figure out how to make the technology realize what the experience needs to be.

Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital pointed out that Google is investing in developer relations the way Microsoft used to. That's very smart, he said. Gurley argued that the fragmentation will be a benefit.

We used ScribbleLive to live-blog the press conference, so if you missed it, you can scroll through it in the embedded component below. That will give you all the live updates, along with commentary from our readers and CNET reporters.

Editors' note: The original, bare-bones version of this story was posted January 9 at 1:12 p.m. PT.

 

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