I’m on my way back from CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The show is, quite frankly, ridiculously big. Spread across three or four extremely large halls, the bigger companies have stands so big, it takes several minutes to cross them.
All the heavyweights, sans Apple, are here in force. Usually this means a week of impressive and exciting announcements but this year’s excitement was a bit thin on the ground.
There were a few things that were revealed. The Motorola Xoom running Google’s Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) was new, but only showing a video of what it could do, no interaction allowed. Windows running on ARM was big news, but that’s not much to look at.
Otherwise it was all 3D everything or Internet TV. Personally, I find the parallax effect 3D that everyone is pushing pretty unimpressive. It makes me think of the old 3D layers in After Effects; basically 2D panels which operate in a 3D space. A bit like one of those fairground games where you shoot the cutout shapes moving back and forth.
Internet TV was the other big part of the lineup, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with this either. Samsung, LG, Sharp and Toshiba all had variations along the lines of the app model. All the implementations seemed pretty clunky though and I can’t help thinking there must be a better way of doing things. Apparently all are based on Intel’s Smart TV platform, so ultimately they are all just reskins of the same thing, Wii-like pointer and all.
Sony, Samsung and Logitech all had their Google TV offerings as well, but the complexity of Google’s TV OS and the lack of consistency in the UI leaves a lot to be desired.
Neither is really approaching the problem of TV user experience with a particularly fresh vision while keeping in mind that this is a 10′ UI and people expect it to operate that way. Still, these are the embryonic stages in terms of Internet tv, so I’m looking forward to where things are going to go. Hopefully I’ll be working on it too!