Year of the tablets
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), long considered the technology event of the year, began in Las Vegas yesterday. The three-day conference allows the world's media, investors, established companies and start-ups to showcase their latest innovations.
Last year's CES saw an abundance of 3D televisions and the unveiling of the Nexus One, but media coverage was dominated by the conspicuous lack of an announcement regarding an Apple tablet.
This year is quite a different story, with TheNextWeb reporting there are "tons of tablets", including 'hybrid' offerings from Asus and Samsung that transform from laptops into tablets. However, the only example to grab media attention so far is the long-awaited Motorola Xoom. This tablet runs on the Android Honeycomb OS, and enables 3G, the Android app market, and HD content.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer opened proceedings, with a keynote speech detailing the company's successes over the past year. However, commentators have noticed that Microsoft has not announced a tablet, despite licensing several other companies to use Windows 7 on theirs. The Guardian's Charles Arthur described this approach as "Damn the tablet and cloud torpedoes, the future is in Windows, and the lovely revenue and profit it brings from its licensing."
What Microsoft did unveil was Avatar Kinect, enabling motion-sensor Xbox Live interaction, and a Touch Mouse for gesture control on any PC. There was also a demo of Surface 2, the giant touch screen device manufactured by Samsung.
Although many iOS-compatible gadgets and Apple product accessories have been showcased, the rumoured iPad 2 is nowhere to be seen.