Lots of solid singles, but no home runs this year at CES

by Steve Blum • , ,

Crystal ball view of Eureka Park.

All the major manufacturers had a range of 4K televisions at CES this year, giving credence to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) prediction of 4 million sets sold in the U.S. in 2015, with price points dropping below $1,000. No significant 4K content announcements, and DISH was the only company pumping up the volume on the distribution side.

New wearables were everywhere, but the theme seemed to be me too. There wasn’t much to differentiate between the dozens of fitness trackers and smart watches on display. Most of the action came from small start-ups and mid-sized companies that have a history in the space – think Garmin or Polar. That means plenty of opportunity and incentive for the big CE companies to acquire talent and technology if they decide to get into wearables in a serious way.

It was a similar story for home automation. Lots of new products, but little coherence.

CEA was successful in attracting more entrepreneurs to the show. The number of exhibitors in the Eureka Park section grew to 375, from 220 last year, and it moved from a backwater in the Venetian hotel to front and center in the Sands convention center. It’s a clear winner. C Space – a venue pitched to content-oriented companies – was not. It was buried in the Aria hotel, far away from the rest of the CES action. No crowds and little buzz there.

CES is crowded – that’s the whole point of the show – but the 170,000 reported attendees and 3,600 exhibitors were easily accommodated. Only major glitch I encountered was the show’s mobile app – not ready for primetime. All in all, it’s a good start to 2015.