As we roll inevitably toward another Consumer Electronics Show, it’s instructive to look back at what made headlines only a year ago. Some of the products announced then have come and gone. Others are still waiting in the wings for a launch date. Here are five stories we covered at CES 2011 with a look at what’s changed in the 12 months since.
The nPower PEG was one of the coolest green gizmos demoed at CES last year. The Personal Energy Generator stores your kinetic energy and lets you use it as back-up power for your mobile gadgets. According to reps at CES, one minute of walking time could translate into one minute of listening time on an iPod Nano. Unfortunately, while the PEG was on back-order last January, it’s still only in available in limited quantities today. According to the website, “Each week – as we assemble nPower® PEG units in our Cleveland, OH facility – we contact individuals on this reservation list to let them know that their PEG is ready.” That hardly sounds like a model built to scale.
Both Dave and I fell in love with the Yahoo Connected TV platform over successive years at CES. However, I was well aware last January when watching a demo of Yahoo’s latest technology that the company was unlikely to live up to its television potential. Too many promises; too few deployments. Today, after much delay, the Yahoo Connected TV Store is finally available to consumers on Sony and Toshiba TVs. According to Yahoo’s blog post on November 2nd, the platform offers premium paid TV apps in addition to 180+ free apps, and Yahoo expects to its TV Store to reach “millions of TVs in the coming months.” Call me skeptical, but isn’t everyone and their mother offering connected TV apps now? Perhaps Yahoo can make things work with the help of its broadcast interactivity tech, but given competition from the likes of Shazam and Invidi, there’s a tough road ahead.
The tale of Verizon’s LTE network is one of the bright spots in our CES 2011 look-back. The telco made a huge splash at last year’s Vegas confab with several network expansion announcements, and a lot of LTE gadgets on display. Today, we’re still waiting on that LTE-connected car (though apparently OnStar’s working to change that), but the network itself is going strong. Despite recent 4G hiccups, Verizon says it now offers LTE service to more than 200 million Americans in 190 markets across the US.
We covered several announcements and insinuations by pay-TV providers last year regarding their intentions to bring live television to tablet devices. Oddly, Verizon, which sounded the most aggressive about broadcasting live TV over the Internet last January, is running behind the pack in 2012. It’s got the Xbox going for it, but no live tablet TV. Comcast has been slow out of the gate too, but it is still moving forward with its live streaming plans, and has announced it will stream this year’s Super Bowl to smartphones and tablets on February 5th.
Last but not least, I have to mention the Slacker premium on-demand service that I drooled over at last year’s CES Digital Experience event. While the launch was postponed several times, Slacker’s new on-demand service did finally arrive in May. As I said then, it was worth the wait. I can get virtually any song I want now on both my 4G HTC Thunderbolt, and my first-gen iPad. Now that’s a CES success story.