The WAVE Report
Issue #0904------------------2/20/09

The WAVE Report archive is available on


0904  CES 2009
0904.1  Sony’s CE Perspective

0904.2  Trends at CES

0904.3  Net PCs

0904.4  Picture Frames

0904.5  Fashion Products

0904.6  Gesture Control

0904.7  Other Products

0904.8  Bluetooth

0904.9  NAS and Backup Storage

0904.10  Evaluation of Touch Experiences

0904.11  Touch Products

0904.12  WAVE Comments


0904  CES 2009
By John Latta

Las Vegas, NV
January 8-11, 2009

The predictions are that only 100,000 will come to CES this year. A good news, bad news story. The place is much more manageable but signs of the downturn are everywhere. There are 10% less exhibitors than last year, 3000 to 2700. Our early scan of the floor showed how the existing space is being “stretched” to look like it is being fully used. Not quite.

Gary Shapiro spent nearly 30 minutes in his state of the CE industry speech talking about the economy and the change in administrations. He predicted flat sales for 2009. The core issue is that no one has a clue when the bad economic news will end. Gary sought to show that CE is essential for the human existence but the reality is that as the economy turned down consumers withdrew very quickly.


0904.1  Sony’s CE Perspective

Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony gave his 3rd CES keynote. It was low on new products and high on on-stage talent. Here are some key points:

Sony is basing its strategy on 7 principles:

     Embrace the convergence of IT, CE, and entertainment.
     Focus on adding value with customer service.
     Make products that do more than one thing.
     Support open technologies.
     Embrace social networking and user-created content.
     Make products whose value builds on each other.
     Go green

Sony intends that by 2011, 90 percent of its product categories will connect wirelessly to the Internet and to each other.

The demonstrations included:

     An R&D project which is a set of glasses which allows the wearer  to watch a movie on their glass and see their
     surroundings at the same time.

     The G3 Cyber Shot10-megapixel, 4X zoom camera which includes 4GB of storage and a 210ppi 3.5-inch touch-screen
     display and Wi-Fi connectivity that allows one to wirelessly upload photos and video and deliver e-mail

     A widget based WiFi clock radio which also can be a picture frame.

     A mini-notebook called the Vaio Lifestyle PC. The size of a small business envelope with an 8” LCD screen.

     A flexible OLED display was shown similar to that seen in video at CEATEC.

     A prototype of its sugar based bio battery that generates electricity based on the breakdown of carbohydrates.

     GreenHeart concept phone that has a recycled plastic keypad and greener packaging.

     The Play Station Network (PSN) has more than 17 million registered users and added 2.1 million accounts last month
     with sales totaling over $150 million as of December 2008.

     The game LittleBigPlanet can be modified by its uses. It has sold 1.3 million copies. With the use content there are
     now some 300,000 levels for the game or the equivalent of non-stop play for two solid years.

Sony will introduce an OLED television in the 20” to 30” size range.


0904.2  Trends at CES

The WAVE walked the floor to sample products and technology. There was much to find.

Connected CE Home

The so called converged home is happening. This was first seen at IFA, then CEATEC and was much more evident at CES. But it was not all open access to the Internet. It appears that the most open is Samsung. All seem to have embraced Widgets as a means of getting content.


     LG was making the case for the connected home in two ways. The first was using BD Live. This was claimed to provide:
     real time access to movie trailers and on-line chats direct from Hollywood. BD Live also allows for a home network to
     be created using either wired Ethernet or WiFi.

     LG also had a mock up of a home. This included these LG products: wireless television, network BD player, LCD
     broadband TV, wireless monitor, network attached storage, digital photo frame and PDP broadband TV. Also supported
     were these broadband services: Yahoo Widgets, Netflix Instant streaming, CinemaNow online movie service and
     access to YouTube video. The network supports uPnP but no reference was made to DLNA.


     Panasonic was promoting Viera Link as a means to control devices in the home on HDMI – one simple remote. Panasonic
     uses a partner model to provide IP content to the television. Listed in the booth were: Amazon video,
     Bloomberg television, Picasa, and YouTube. This is called Viera Cast and built into high end televisions. The on
     screen menu directs the viewers to these content providers. The TV runs an AJAX application and connected over


     Samsung had 3 different connected televisions on display: Internet@TV using Widgets; DLNA Wireless and USB. The USB
     TV has access to music, photo and movies. It was not clear why there would be 3 different products with 3 interfaces –
     Samsung effectively acknowledged that there will be one product.


     At the front of the booth was a 105” LCD television which drew crowds. Sharp was also showing its AQUOS Net
     televisions. These have a CAT 5 Ethernet port. Their televisions, XS1 and SE94 series, has an AQUOS web
     navigation page. Support is also provided with AQUOS Advantage Live – that can allow a user to connect to AQUOS
     for television support. On the remote control one presses “NET” twice to get to the owners page. Then various web
     sites can be accessed. There is a widget bar on the right side of the screen for Sharp selected widgets. The network
     connection to the TV is via Ethernet.


     Toshiba’s home networking is based on a Network Player. This will allow access to content on a Windows Media Center PC.
     The Network Player is connected to a Widget Gallery Server over the Ethernet to the Internet. The Widget channel
     provides access to free internet video, premium internet video, news, weather and more.


0904.3  Net PCs

Given that NetPC was the only segment of the PC computer market showing growth it was not surprising that there was both variety and innovation in this space.


     ASUS has certainly been a leader here with the EeePC, which many had initially dismissed as a toy. At CES they were
     showing the PC 1000HA. This has a LED backlight 10” display, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP, stereo sound, digital array
     microphone, 1.3M pixel camera, 160GB HDD and a 10GB Eee storage (assumed SSD). Another computer is the Eee PC
     900SD, which has an LED backlight 8.9” display, 8GB of Flash and 10GB of Eee storage. Battery life is claimed to be 4
     hours. The computer comes in 5 colors.


     At Last Gadget Standing MSI presented the WIND Series U115 Hybrid. This is a 10.2” Net PC which claims a battery life
     of 15+ hours due to the integration of both a HDD and SSD.


     The VAIO Ultraportable stand was packed. Being shown was the VGN-P500 Series which has a 8” LED backlit LCD display.
     There is 3G wireless integrated and GPS. The Ultraportable touts Instant Mode for boot up. The case is available in 4
     color options.


     At Showstoppers VIA had three NetPCs on display. This included the UNI-V 100 Smart Book based on the WenderMedia
     PRIZM Platfrom VT8430 SoC processor – price $700. The next was the FreeStyle Mini Mini-Note with a 8.9” screen size and
     the VIA C&-M Mobile Nano processor. It also contains the VIA VX800 system media processor along with the VIA Chrome
     Integrated Graphics Processor. Lastly was the FreeStyle 1300n Slim and Light Notebook in a 11.6” screen and also
     using the 1.3 GHz VIA Nano U2350 Processor. The latter two priced $300 - $500.


0904.4  Picture Frames

They might be called the 3rd generation of picture frames. One of the uniform attributes is WiFi connectivity. With this a whole new product category is created. This was reflected in the clock radio shown by Sony at the keynote but many creative implementations were on the floor. These picture frames are Internet content delivery devices which can be managed by a PC.


     There was one WiFi frame, the Wireless Smart Display., which included internet connectivity, internet radio and
     the ability to support play lists of photos, video and music collections and display email. Downloads can come
     from Flickr. Price is $169. The df820a frame at 8” has 512MB of storage and can print photos directly using PictBridge

     A 3.5” frame, the df300a, was shown which looked like a key chain. Internal memory supports up to 45 pictures.

     The ODM for the picture frame, Lite-On Technology was also manning the booth.


     Ipevo had a WiFi connected digital frame with a 800 X 480 7” digital frame. The frame rotates from portrait to landscape
     mode and has dynamic picture adjustment to best fit the image to the frame. Software is provided for the PC to
     manage the frame. The frame can receive RSS feeds and there is an iPhone app, not on the app store, for controlling the
     frame from an iPhone. Pricing is $199.


     Kodak has completely eliminated the remote control from its picture frames. Control is accomplished with what is called
     Quick Touch Border and is based on a series of lights which illuminate where there is a control operation. The lights
     match control functions in the display on the frame. Very well done.

     The WiFi frame allows for complete PC control. With wireless there is access to news, weather, sports and other
     web content powered by what Kodak calls the Frame Channel – done by Frame Media.

     The Kodak software will recognize more than one frame on the network, has drag and drop functionality and the
     ability to set up slide shows. We found it interesting that Kodak is anticipating multiple digital frames per home.

     Kodak was also showing an OLED frame – just called Kodak OLED. Impressive at even $999. Kodak stated that this has
     picture processing so that the displayed picture is optimized for the OLED display. Stunning as usual.


     Marvell was showing its PXA168 Application Processor for digital frames and more. It is a media and Internet
     connectivity processor which scales to 1GHz processing clock rates. The intent is to scale to volumes of 1B units.
     It will be used in CE devices that can support full-featured web surfing, Internet widgets, multi-format video,
     Adobe Flash-based content playback, image processing, video conferencing and advanced graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
     It might also be called a touch interface processor as the chip supports these interfaces. Other applications include:
     connected digital photo frames, portable navigation devices, portable media players, automotive dashboard
     displays and infotainment systems, home automation, portable TVs, digital signage and other devices that
     utilize Internet connectivity, media processing and touch screen interfaces.

     In the Marvell booth was Chumby showing how its Flash Video player supports the PXA168.


0904.5  Fashion Products

We have seen products in the past which had a fashion element but this year marked a high point in bringing fashion to PC products


     Cocoon was showing a number of fashion carrying products. One was an all in one carrying case for ones mobile
     devices. Shown in the bag were a GPS navigator, iPhone, mouse and more. A stylish woman’s hand bag for technology
     items was also on display.


     Golla had a large all white booth highlighting 6 categories of mobile device bags: mobile bags, music bags, digi bags,
     laptop bags, laptop sleeves, and laptop backpacks. The booth design and the bags were fashion statements in


     HP was making a big deal of its Vivienne Tam NetPC. The price of this unit is $699 compared to the non-fashion
     units at $349 and $449. But for the fashion unit a designer mouse, scarf and clutch bag is included. The booth even had
     a dress to match the PC. We have to give HP credit that the design element was good looking.

     In a separate section of the booth HP was showing how fashion could make even the lap top bag look good.


0904.6  Gesture Control

The Canesta, time of flight IR 3D, sensor continues to capture interest as a means to accomplish gesture based television control. This was first seen at CEATEC, then at Image Sensors and now at CES. The technology has improved and the gesture recognition appeared to work more effectively than at CEATEC.


     Hitachi was showing television control with gestures. This booth had the logo of Canesta, giving credit for the
     sensor. There was also a logo for GeatureTek.

     GestureTek also supports multitouch products for gesture recognition.

     One difference with the demonstration at CES was on screen feedback. This circular indicator of hand motion seemed to
     help in the control for changes of volume and channel.


     Toshiba calls this the Spatial Motion Interface which allows for hand gestures to control the “Next generations
     Digital TVs.” The on screen display is based on 3D graphics, including a sphere with media objects. It was stated that
     the product will be released in 2010.


0904.7  Other Products

A number of unusual and interesting products were seen.

Bug Labs

     At Last Gadget Standing Peter Semmelhack demonstrated how many products could be created by just plugging Bug      modules together. These included a video camera and GSM connected devices which used GSM to send data from the      module. New at CES were the following Bug modules: BUGsound, BUGbee (802.15.4 and 802,11, Bluetooth modules),      Bug3G GSM (cell phone module) and a pico projector BUGprojector.


     Last year, at Last Gadget Standing, Eye-FI showed a SD card which was a WiFi module for picture transmission from point
     and shoot cameras. This made any point and shoot camera a WiFi camera. This year Eye-FI did the same for video. It is
     possible to shot and directly upload to YouTube. An impressive demonstration was given.


     Flip has created a sensation with its video cameras – simple and inexpensive. In 12 months, in 2007, it collected
     13% of market share. At Last Gadget Standing an HD Flip was shown. It sells for $209, has designer cases and
     individuals can send in their own case designs. These can also be shown for sale, which allows flip buyers to make


     Hitachi was showing a prototype of “Video-de-Mail” a two way video communications product based on a HD IPTV with an
     embedded video camera. This is similar to the home Presence like systems discussed for many years.


     A very interesting demo showed 4 displays on 4 notebooks linked dynamically over WiFi. It looked just like a
     multiple monitor set up. Impressive.

Io gear

     Io gear had the Open200N Mobile Digital Scribe. This is a small device which attaches to the top of a pad of paper.
     The scribe captures the handwriting without the need to be attached to a PC. The scribe has a 12 language handwriting
     recognition software which will convert into digital text.


     The LightScribe pulse is a pen capable of recording handwriting on ordinary paper and audio recording at the
     same time. It is possible to download both to a PC. The content is indexed and searchable based on the writing and
     audio. The presentation was focused on the value of the LightScribe for both students and those in many meetings.


     LG showed a 15” AMOLED display which is .85mm thick.

     A highlight of CES was the LG Watch Phone, LG-GD910. This is a fully capable phone which has the headset connected
     via Bluetooth. There is a 1.43” touch screen LCD, 3Gfor data and a built-in camera for videoconferencing. The phone has
     a bar on the bottom of the watch casing which is the means for interaction.  The bar actually has three buttons. The
     user interface relates smartly to these three buttons and typing a phone number. There is support for both 3G and
     HSDPA. It is first to be released in Japan and Europe.  Pricing has not yet been announced.


     Minoru had what it claimed was the first 3D webcam. It has 2 cameras and mounts on the top of a monitor. This
     camcorder works with Windows Live Messenger, Skype, AOL Instant Messenger and OoVoo. 3D videos can also be      uploaded to YouTube. There a 5 pairs of glasses provided with the product.


     At Last Gadget Standing Motorola presented the ZN5. This was stated to be a camera with a cell phone attached. There
     is a 5MP camera which has been optimized for quality picture taking. The pictures shown were quite good. The
     camera has a built in panorama stitcher built in. The camera gives on screen hints on where the next photo is to
     be made and once three photos have been taken they are stitched automatically.


     uVending based on a large touch panel in front of a coke vending machine was a hit – may be from the free products
     which came from it.

     Samsung was also promoting MagicInfo Pro as a means to distribute content to interactive signage.

     There was also in the booth the same 70” touch displays seen at SID and other venues. This uses IR touch detection built
     around a commercial LCD panel.


     Following Storage Visions SanDisk showcased in its CES booth the pSSD modular solid state disk drives. These are
     focused on the netbook market and have sizes from 8GB to 64GB. The interfaces include PATA and SATA II.


     Sony had a number of well designed Bluetooth headsets. One which stood out was the DR-BT160AS. This not only provides
     for streaming but also remote control. One can not only listen to music but answer the phone. It is completely

     The Sony book reader has been updated. There were two models present: PRS-505RC and the PRS-700BC.  This latter
     unit has the ability to zoom in and out for 5 different text sizes. The 505RC holds 160 books while the 700BC holds
     350 books. The 505RC was in a bright red finish.

     Sony had a section of the booth called “Made for iPod” which showcased a number of audio products so that the iPod could
     be plug and play.

     Flexible OLED displays were being used in two product concept examples.


     Toshiba continues to try to promote its Cell TV based on the cell technology. In the booth was a CELL Platform
     processor which had 1 Power Processor Element (PPE) and 8 Synergistic Processor Elements (SPE). The Cell TV was
     married up to a LED backlit LCD panel. This was also linked to DLNA.

     A transfer jet interface was shown which allows for the high speed transfer of data between two objects by just
     placing them in proximity.


0904.8   Bluetooth

Creative Integrated Systems

     Certainly in the unusual category is Teligent, a Bluetooth cellular phone converter. This is a box, costing $198 at
     retail, which expands one cellular line to many phone lines in an office or home. Teligent basically operates like a
     PBX on the cellular network. This device will also connect to an office PBX.


0904.9  NAS and Backup Storage

This was a hot category at CES with a number vendors showing product.


     ClickFree was claiming the easiest backup technology – and we have to agree based on what was shown. The ClickFree
     technology resides in a USB device which when recognized by uPnP executes code on the PC. There is no need for an
     application to be resident on the PC. This software then executes a backup of files in a native image mode. The
     backed up files can then be seen when the ClickFree device is plugged into this or another computer. ClickFree is
     available as a USB dongle. USB hard drives and plug into the dongle. When the dongle is plugged into a PC the backup
     is done on the drive. ClickFree is available with an attached USB disk drive. These prices were being quoted:

          250GB - $130
          320GB - $180
          500GB - $220


     NetGear has a presence in the NAS market with its ReadyNAS product family. In the booth was the ReadyNAS Pro which is
     for the SMB and home office market. The unit will hold up to 6 SATA HDD with RAID levels of 0, 1, 5, 6, and Auto-
     Expandable X-RAID2 support for data protection against disk failure, system monitoring capabilities and built-in
     backup. Redundant Gigabit Ethernet ports provide failover protection. There is support for  CIFS/SMB for Microsoft
     Windows, AFP 3.1 for Macintosh OS 9 and OS X, NFS v2/v3 for Linux and UNIX HTTP and HTTPS, FTP and FTPS and      RSYNC. The Media Streaming support includes DLNA Compatible UPnP AV, Logitech SqueezeBox, SONOS Digital Music      Center, Network DVD player compatible, Windows MCE compatible, Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360.


     LG had a NAS cabinet, N4B1, which, as described above, is embedded in its home CE strategy. This has a built in Blu
     Ray recorder which supports up to 50GB on a disk. The NAS houses up to 4 HDD. Connectivity includes three USB 2.0
     ports, suitable for adding external storage, and one eSATA port. The N4B1 is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac
     computers and networks, allowing any combination of the various operating systems to access the NAS simultaneously.


0904.10  Evaluation of Touch Experiences

Because there were so many touch products on the floor, this was an opportunity to examine many different implementations of touch interaction.


0904.11  Touch Products


     There were two touch products in the booth: Eee PC T91 which is a NetPC with touch on an 8.9” panel. This was not
     evaluated. But we regard it as significant that touch is being shown on a NetPC this early in the NetPC life cycle.

     The second was an Eee Top ET1602 with a 15.6”” 16:9 screen. This ran Windows XP with a touch/pen input overlay on top
     of Windows. The processor was an Intel Atom N270. Price is $599.

     This is single touch only and thus had limited functionality. The only gesture was touch. But the target
     example in the booth was a home communications application based on screen writing.

     This had similarities to the Intel Digital Home Platform seen at CHI 2007. These are examples of a narrowly targeted
     use case with limited touch functionality which has utility in the home.


     Elan was showing only transparent display overlays for multitouch interaction. The maximum size is 5”. The booth
     had a Smart-Pad demonstration platform attached to a notebook. A gesture library was shown for the Smart Pad.
     This was not evaluated.


     There were two products in the booth. The first was a tablet using Wacom technology called an fx2 notebook PC.
     One can interact with touch or a pen.

          Two finger zoom was poor.
          Scroll was slow
          Higher functionality that the Touch Smart
          The platform integration was limited.

     The second product was the Touch Smart PC.

          Limited functionality.

               HP is waiting on Windows to expand the

          Single touch product
          Custom browser did not work during part of the demo
          Crude scrolling with side panel
          Limited capability compared to the notebook.
          When asked – why not the same functionality as on the
          Notebook on this product?
               The touch technology is too expensive for a 22” screen was the response.


     Cell phone Dare with touch capability. Noted the following:

          Display quality was only fair.
          No two finger zoom
          Interface was awkward but reasonably fast.

     Large screen LG Touch

          Two finger interactions were difficult for the screen to detect the second finger.
          Difficulty tracking touch
          Responsive to single finger actions


     A number of Win 7 demonstration screens were present in the booth. These appeared to be IR based. Limited individuals 
     available to assist. Noted the following:

          Touch sensing would frequently lose the position of the touch.
          Movement was not smooth in single touch.
          Distance from the touch point to the touch movement caused erratic behavior and difficult to judge touch
          Objects flew off the screen to another part of the screen
          Unanticipated touch behaviors


     Announced at CES was the Pre touch phone. The user interface metaphor is based on "cards." Every task or
     application runs inside of a card and one can switch from card to card by flicking them to the left or right. The Pre
     has multi-tasking, so that multiple programs can be running at the same time.

     The following was noted:

          Well integrated touch functionality.
          Gestures extend from the bottom of the phone, non-screen portion, to the screen
          Multitasking support integrated into the touch functionality

     Well thought out interface.

Plastic Logic

     This is an electrophoretic bi stable technology for a sheet type book and document reader – 12” diagonal in portrait
     mode. Monochrome only. Image examples included documents and a spreadsheet. Touch is enabled but with only finger
     pad contact. Insufficient to evaluate. Trials expected in 2009 and product in Q1 2010.

PQ Labs

     PQ Labs is a startup in San Jose, CA that does touch panel integration and systems development for end to end
     applications. The company develops complete solutions. They have both a hardware touch add-on and a software
     applications suite. The product Multi-Touch G², is a touch screen overlay, that can be mounted onto any LCD or Plasma
     TV monitor. The software for touch application development is called PQWindow Platform and Apps which supports both
     Windows and the Mac OS. The package includes some multi-touch applications and is included when Multi-Touch G² in

     An IR bezel was used for the monitor we experienced in the booth. Multitouch functions of two finger zoom worked as
     did rotate. Overall the operations were smooth and responsive.

     The value of working on end-to-end applications was obvious.

RIM Blackberry Storm.

     The Storm was available in two booths – a Verizon stand in the central hall and the Blackberry booth in the South
     Hall. When we sought to use it on the Verizon stand we were told that the phones had “crashed” and had to be restarted.
     In the Blackberry booth we found the phone and noted the following:

          Typing with the haptic feedback was artificial;
          The overall platform was very slow
          No two finger operations as a result Zoom was awkward.


     The Interactive LFD Monitor is 70” with an IR touch screen overlay. The panel exhibited these characteristics:

          Easy to cause erratic responses.
          Operation was inconsistent
          Limited multitouch capabilities – zoom and rotate
          Easy to get the touch reactions to get lost


0904.12  WAVE Comments

For the first time at CES there were multiple products from the large CE companies where the IP based world has entered the world of television and entertainment. One technology is BD Live which is controlled by the content producers. It remains to be seen if this has market reach and resources are put to make it a significant platform, but it is not an open platform. The more important example of convergence is a direct IP connection to the television and home network. All the implementations, in one form or another, use Widgets. But some rely on a special home box and others PC connectivity. One of the most open and complete we saw was from Samsung. We were surprised that a number of companies, Sharp and Panasonic, limited the scope of the connectivity. They tried to make an open platform closed with the narrow selections being offered. But this is early in the development of such converged products. It is truly an exciting time to see a new digital entertainment environment created in the home.

In spite of the dismal economic situation there were many new products. We found the Palm Pre exciting because it was a fresh
approach to a platform. Motorola had the camera which is a cell phone in the ZN5. While Flip had the HD Flip. Eye FI makes every video camera a WiFi and Internet camera. Gesture control of televisions is entering mainstream. Fashion entered the market in many ways including the NetPC. Certainly one of the most important is the new category of NetPC. This is bringing excitement to an otherwise stagnate PC market.

The number of companies exhibiting at CES dropped off by 300 from 3000 last year to 2700 this year. It was obvious on the floor.
Logitech did not have a booth. Belkin and Tragus were missing. Dell and Lenovo were not evident on the floor. And, of course, the one company which has shaken up CE, Apple was not present. But there were consistent rumors that Apple may be at CES next year. The CEA is planning on an Apple section to the show. If Steve Jobs gave a keynote presentation he would shake the event up.

Now that we have passed the milestone of convergence it seems as if the most overused word is Platform. Every company has a platform –“you can make money on our platform” is the entry. But this has less and less meaning. There was even a poster at CES which said that Computex is an IT platform. That is stretching it.

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