Steve Ballmer is no stranger to the CES keynote stage, having delivered the opening keynote at each of the last three editions of the popular trade show. It has now been announced that the Microsoft boss will also deliver a preshow keynote address at the next edition of the Consumer Electronics Association-owned event (much to a certain David Einhorn’s displeasure, we assume). But what will his keynote be all about?
Still not convinced that 3D is here to stay? Here it is -- the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is so sure that 3D isn't going anywhere that the organization launched a new standards process for 3D glasses. So not only is 3D staying put, but as far as the CEA is concerned, this whole business of having to don pair of glasses to see blue creatures defend a tree in three dimensions is going to be par for the course for a long while to come.
As you may have heard, the RIAA has found another way to piss off music lovers, this time by backing a PRA (Performance Rights Act) mandate to force cell phone makers to include FM radio chips in their mobile phones. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) initially showed little interest in getting involved in the matter, but is now speaking out against the mandate.
"The backroom scheme of the NAB and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity," said a statement issued by CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "Forced inclusion of an additional antenna, processor and radio receiver will compromise features that consumers truly desire, such as long battery life and light weight. Reducing product performance, mandating inclusion of features consumers don’t want, and replacing product innovation by companies like Amazon, Apple, Motorola and HP-Palm with government design mandates are not in our national interest."
Shapiro went on to say that not only are the NAB and RIAA failing to adapt to the digital marketplace (haven't we been saying this all along?), they're acting like "buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do."
We don't know if the Consumer Electronics Association is playing the part of Captain Obvious by saying that tablet shipments will double in the U.S. in 2011, or Captain Conservative considering how well this emerging segment has been performing as largely a one-man show.
"Considering these products weren't on the market a year [ago], it's staggering how fast they are developing," said Steve Kidera, a CEA spokesman.
According to Apple, the one-man show shipped its three millionth iPad just 80 days after its introduction in the U.S., and that number is even higher here a month later. Other companies are planning to join in the fun, however, and the CEA predicts we'll see U.S. tablet shipments reach 6.9 million units by the end of the year, generating revenue of $4.3 billion.
Impressive as all this is, CEA may be underselling the tablet market a bit. Apple's iPad has been on the market for less than four months, and we've yet to see all these promised slates materialize. But they're coming, and combined with a possible iPad refresh as early as April 2011, there's certainly potential for the tablet market to more than double in size next year.
Maybe the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) was just being pessimistic, but whatever the reason, the organization behind CES was expecting a drop in attendance this year. They were wrong.
In 2009, 113,085 people flocked to CES. This year, that number jumped by about 7,000 attendees.
"At show close, preliminary registration figures indicate more than 120,000 industry professionals attended the 2010 International CES," the CEA said in an email.
Other stats include more than 2,500 companies showing off their wares, which is actually a decline of 2,700 from 2009, or more than half. If there's a bright spot, however, it's that there were "a record 330 new exhibitors," the CEA said.
The PC market isn't the only sector to note its first decline since the dot-com bust. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), consumer electronics in general is on pace to record its first annual drop in revenue since 2001, the same year the PC market also recorded its last decline prior to 2009.
Revenues are expected to be about $165 billion by the end of the year, down about 7.7 percent from 2008. However, it's not because consumers have reduced their spending. Instead, the CEA blames the lower revenue on lower product prices. In fact, CE spending as a percentage of all durable goods is as high as it has been in 50 years, TGDaily reports.
That might come as little consolation to CE manufacturers unable to cash in on consumer spending, but Blu-ray could turn that around. Despite falling prices of Blu-ray players, the CEA predicts unit shipments to reach nearly six million, a whopping 112 percent jump. That would push Blu-ray revenue over the $1 billion mark, a 48 percent increase over 2008.