facebook twitter tv 360CES 2012 is almost over, and so is the nonstop avalanche of cutting-edge products, amazing concept technologies and goofy celebrity appearances. The show is supposed to be a beacon for the industry to predict trends, and if you analyze the haze surrounding the thousands of product unveilings and company announcements, some figures start to emerge from the fog: tablets and slim laptops, smart TVs, fitness gadgets, power efficiency.

But for me, the thing that stuck out most at this CES was an exchange I had with another member of the media after Panasonic’s whirlwind press conference (with a surprise cameo from Justin Timberlake). My friend emerged from the scrum of press and analysts swarming the stage in the post-event mob, greeted me, and asked, “Did they show any TVs?”

I had to think. “Uh….” Then I remembered there was a brief mention. “Yeah, but they spent two minutes on them, tops.”

To be clear, there were certainly TVs in Panasonic’s presentation, but in terms of specifying the models and features — a staple of CES press conferences of yore — there was just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it acknowledgement. Panasonic only really talked about the television in the context of larger ideas, like its eco initiatives and SmartViera connected-TV tech.

It was a telling omission, and it wasn’t the only one. All over CES 2012 I saw a shifting of focus from hyping technological achievements (Double battery life! Better color! More processing power!) to painting a picture of what those devices really offer, or more specifically, what they connect you with.


Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor

January 13, 2012