Inside the 2005 International CES

About CES

Every year thousands of the worlds most prominent consumer electronics companies gather together in fun-filled Las Vegas, Nevada for CES, the largest electronics exposition in the world. Though CES started as a small venue in the early eighties, it currently draws attendance of nearly 150,000 industry insiders including installers, retail buyers, and investors. In case you were wondering how to be a part of this amazing venue, you must be a part of the electronics industry to attend.

CES is one of the most exciting times for those who work in the biz. Often, CES is the event where new products and technologies are announced, and sometimes displayed for the first time.

2005 International CES

2005 proved to be the biggest CES event ever, with nearly 2500 exhibitors. It successfully filled the enormous Las Vegas Convention Center, causing CES to overflow into the city by setting up exhibits in the Las Vegas Hilton and other hotels around the city. The crowded Las Vegas Convention Center was flooded with attendees scouting out the latest and greatest electronic toys.

"The 2005 International CES succeeded by every measure," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, the producer of the International CES. "From the international audience, major media and top buyers that came to the International CES, to the top-notch keynotes and conferences, government leaders and exhibitors showcasing the amazing breadth and depth of the CE industry, this event truly was the place to be over the past week for anyone involved in the global consumer technology industry."

Convergence was the main theme for 2005. Many new multi-tasking devices are on the way, many of them portable entertainment devices. There was also a specific emphasis on portable audio from companies like Toshiba, Creative, LG, and Samsung, who seem more than determined to dethrone Apple's iPod as the best music-on-the go device. Many of the upcoming players include slick control schemes, color screens, and high capacities at prices lower than we've seen. Missing from the show was Apple, who wasn't there to show off any details about the inevitable successor to the iPod, but rather unveil their new stuff at MacWorld later in the month.

Flat panel displays were also a key segment at the show, but there was little innovation seen in the category. LG and Samsung were the biggest plasma winners at the show. Lg showed off its 71" Plasma Display Panel, which will actually be available for purchase soon, and debuted a 42, 50, and 60 inch integrated HD plasma with a built in 160GB DVR. Samsung focused mostly on size, displaying their 80" plasma, as well as a prototype 102", which is currently the largest plasma display panel in the world. LG still holds the title for the largest plasma you can actually buy.

A plethora of wireless devices were displayed all over CES, proving that wireless is big business in the US, and becoming even bigger in Japan, Korea, China, and other parts of the world. Most of the handset innovation maintained the convergence theme, proving that cellular handsets are going to do more in the future. It wasn't uncommon to see new products with quality built-in camera, 3D gaming, scheduling, wireless data connectivity, and more. Palm One showed off its recently released Treo 650, which acts as a conveniently sized Palm handheld and wireless phone in one device. LG surprised the world with its latest flip open gaming handset, complete with gyration control.

Satellite Radio was hot this year, with both Sirius and XM fighting for the attendance of attendees. XM focused heavily on the new XM2Go, which is the first portable satellite product with internal antenna, and 5 hour built-in recording. Sirius had little to show in new hardware, but rather showed their prowess in quality programming like NFL Football, NBA Basketball, Howard Stern, and others. We asked a Sirius representative about XACT, which is their plan for a portable device like the XM2go, but received mere "it's in the works" response, and was pointed in the direction of a non-working prototype.

Automotive electronics nearly filled an entire section of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Tricked out cars featuring the latest amplifiers, subwoofers, speakers, electronics, and video products were everywhere, not to mention the barely dressed "booth babes" showing them off. Though many of the products shown were more of the same, it was obvious that companies have made major strides in the video sector of automotive electronics.

Microsoft's Windows Media Center generated much buzz from attendees, and was prominantly displayed in their booth and in the Connected Home display across from the street from the Convention Center. Media Center was the main topic of Bill Gate's keynote address, which kicked off the 2005 International CES. Gates emphasized that technology must be flexible and simple for the end-user and that consumer choice is "driving things forward." He spoke about the central role of the PC and the importance of standards to ensure connecting devices and applications are flexible and simple for the consumer. Microsoft's Media Center PC, for instance, will now serve as a personal video recorder for all TVs in a household with the Media Center PC Extender and will all operate via a common electronic program guide.

Impressions & Top Picks

TechLore founders Ron Repking and Steven Jones were on site at CES, as well as Editor Matt Whitlock. Click the name below to read their personal opinions and impressions of the 2005 International CES, as well as their top 10 favorite products shown at CES.

Ron Repking | Steven Jones | Matt Whitlock


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