Where else in the world can Egyptian pyramids, the Statue of Liberty and Elvi (is that plural for multiple Elvises?) be upstaged by…anything? The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, of course. If you weren’t able to make it to the show this year, worry not. CALinnovates was on hand to get the scoop for its members.
We’re labeling 2012 as the year of device envy. It’s also the year of smarter everything (homes, cars and TVs) and, finally, it’s the year of taking meaningful steps to end the looming spectrum crunch.

Here’s what excited us:

• The HTC Titan II phone, which features a 16 megapixel camera, aimed at reducing the need to carry a digital camera in order to shoot great pictures. Additionally, it has a 720p video camera and video chat over Wi-Fi. Yes, please.
The Samsung Galaxy Note, which is attempting to fill the gap between tablet and smartphone. I’ll have to get my hands on the S-Pen for a longer test drive to truly figure out what makes the pen mightier than (the old-school) the stylus, but the Note feels great in the hands, is “pocketable” (love that term) and is packed with power.
• AT&T’s OpenStack announcement, which has serious upside for the business community (app developers especially), delivering “cloud infrastructure to the masses”.
• mHealth is an exploding sector, with panels and products to match. Who knew being so mHealthy could be so fun?
Ford, Porsche, Audi, and (surprise) Panasonic took the automotive cake by integrating “smart” features into their newest models, though I don’t think the average commuter will be driving Panasonic’s entry down Main Street anytime soon.
• Connected and smart home ecosystems. LG’s refrigerators can help people manage their diets, serve as a cookbook all while doing its standard job of preserving food and Lowes is bringing home management to the cloud.
• The panel discussion entitled “Spectrum for Wireless Broadband: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together” featuring reps from the FCC, the House Energy & Commerce committee, the White House, Microsoft, Verizon, and Google was fantastically insightful. The end result? Auctions are going to happen soon and our membership can play a key role in determining the outcome. Many of the best tech devices are interoperable. Can different sectors of government be interoperable, too?
• Finally, 3D is (still) here. It’s great, but does anyone really enjoy wearing glasses to watch TV? That’s why 3D that doesn’t require glasses was the final revelation at the show.

Quotable:

“Why did someone have to invent an app that lets people beat me in Scrabble?”
– Matt Hamblen, Senior Writer, Computerworld

“Want to split a cab?”
– Anyone not at the front of the cab line

“Where’s the exit?”
– Everyone looking to leave the convention center floor or a casino

About CALinnovates

At the intersection of public policy and emerging technologies, CALInnovates champions the conversation about the future of California’s critical technology sector. Bringing together industry experts, thought leaders, tech innovators, policymakers and consumers, CALInnovates’ non-partisan mission is to promote innovation, create new jobs, spur investment and support tech-friendly policies.