Notes From a Senior Editor: CES Last-Day RoundupJan 10, 2007, 19:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jame Turner)
By James Turner
Traditionally (if something I'm doing for a second year can be considered to have a tradition), the last day of my show reporting is devoted to the strange and the silly at CES. However, given that all of the space yesterday went to OLPC coverage, I'm going to have to mix in some actual products in today's coverage. I spent a lot of Tuesday running around the Central Hall looking at big screens, DVRs, camcorders, and the like. I also went to the Lunch at the Pierros press event, which has been a gold mine for interesting Linux stuff in the past.
Hard Times Have Forced Vendors to Live In a Makeshift Tent City
Last year, it was work, if not all that hard, to find Linux at the show. This year, devices with Linux in them practically fell into my lap. This is because most of the new streaming media and IPTV boxes run embedded Linux. And because of that, most of the new UMPC and PC platforms (and even some PDA and phone-size platforms) explicitly support or have been tested with Linux. I'm not going to try to individually describe every STB (Set Top Box) I saw at the show, but I'll try to call out some of the more interesting ones.
Hauppauge is moving into HD tuners in a big way. The first one to have Linux drivers is likely to be the WinTV-HVR 950, a USB-based over-the-air tuner out now. They are busily working on Linux drivers, and hope to have them out in the spring. Hauppauge recently took the step of hiring a UK-based driver guru who had done the Linux drivers for previous Hauppauge products, which should allow them to make more of their products available.
Hauppauge's HD Tuner, Available Soon For Linux
There were not one, but two different Linux cell phones on display at the show. Trolltech was showing their "Green" phone, while OpenMoko was showing theirs. Both have promised to get me units to play with in the spring or sooner, so expect a report in the near future.
Finally, it's time for the weird and wacky. Booth babes, the female eye candy intended to draw traffic to booths, is harder and harder to find. Partially, that's because less and less of the attendees are male. Still overwhelmingly male, but less and less. Still, you do occasionally run into someone going for the retro marketing strategy. No sign of any Booth Beefcake...
Lose Weight While Attracting Booth Traffic!
It can be easy to forget, in the face of all the high tech multimedia gear for sale at CES, that consumer electronics includes products that are much less high tech.
No Linux, Thankfully, Inside These Dolls...
Case Mods and other PC modifications are going more mainstream, as people want to personalize what can be a major purchase. There were plenty of products at the show this year to help you out.
One final note before heading out the door for the final day of show floor wandering. The biggest news at CES yesterday actually occurred 571 miles to the west, with Apple's announcement of the iPhone. It was literally all that anyone in the press room could talk about all afternoon. It's a tribute to Apple's image that they can steal the spotlight from the largest electronics show in the world.
Members of the Press Look Lustily at iPhones, Wishing They Were at MacWorld
Well, that's it for another year of Linux fun and frolic at CES. For a change, my feet are actually in good shape, and I saw a lot to indicate that Linux continues to be a strong player in the consumer electronics industry. We may still be fighting for the desktop, but we own the set-top.
No Matter How Bad Your Lot in Life, at Least You're Not This Guy.