CES is an overwhelming collection of screens, beckoning to thousands of attendees as the bright portals to our entertainment, information, and one another anywhere in the world. Whether designed for the home, office, car, or on the go, those screens range in size, quality, resolution, and function.
In previous CES years, the focus of most display makers was size. It seemed that each year we saw progressively larger screens, far beyond a size reasonable for the average consumer. Display makers jockeyed for size-based bragging rights. This year, the focus evolved to screen quality, whether it's 1080p, reduced motion blur, improved contrast range (some up to 1,000,000:1), or a broader color palette. As HD technology becomes more pervasive and personal, image quality is vividly increasing as prices come down.
Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty to see if you're looking for a huge TV. Case in point, Sharp showcased a 108 inch TV "wall" with incredibly crisp resolution and vivid color, while Panasonic unveiled a 150 inch TV with outrageously high resolution. While most consumers won't buy a TV that large, the technology will help to evolve the existing products so that resolution and display quality continue to increase, while weight, screen thickness, and price decrease.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the small screens of personal technology devices like the iPod or Zune. These devices are creating a huge market for accessories and components that work in tandem with those devices. For example, wearable technologies are available that allow users to view the small screen content on a "larger" display (check out the photo of the "sunglasses" that mimic a 52-inch viewing experience). The essential point here is that these technologies are also dropping in price (the pictured glasses cost around $200), which will make the technology attainable for mainstream audiences.
And screens are no longer just for viewing. More and more, we're using touch-screen technology to make devices more functional and intuitive. Touch-screen remotes, navigation systems, and cell phones are making technology easier to use for average consumers.
The focus on image quality and energy efficiency (more on that later), and new innovations such as Sony OLED should drive down average price points and make rich, crisp displays available to more and more people.
Phil Hester is senior vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) at AMD, responsible for setting the architectural and product strategies and plans for AMD's microprocessor business.