Cheaper tablets, thinner laptops, and an array of sleeker TVs stood out at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
More than 140,000 people gathered there last week for an event that is growing in size, despite the absence of Apple and, more recently, the decision by Microsoft to make this the last year it participates.
A bevy of celebrities, including 50 Cent, Will.i.am, and Kelly Clarkson, stopped by to add glitz to the proceedings—but they were hardly the stars of the show. Here are some of the more significant gadgets that shined at CES:
Cheaper tablets: The industry’s enthusiasm for tablets was considerably tempered this year compared to last, when more than a hundred manufacturers thought they could capitalize on the iPad’s success with their own models based on Google Inc.’s Android software. Sales were disappointing, in large part because Apple prices the iPad relatively low compared to the cost of making it. Then, late last year, Amazon.com Inc. demonstrated that you can take on Apple by selling a smaller, barebones tablet for $199. Analysts believe Amazon sold millions of Kindle Fires in little more than a month.
Now, Asian manufacturers are hoping to jump on Amazon’s bandwagon. One of those companies, Taiwan’s ASUSTek Computer Inc., showed off a tablet with a Fire-sized screen—the ASUS MeMO 370T—and said it would sell it for $249. It’s considerably more powerful than the Fire, sporting a premium “quadcore” processor. Still, one of the things that made the Fire a success—Amazon’s library of eBooks, music, and movies—will be missing.
Nokia Lumia 900: In recent years, the world’s largest phone maker, Finland’s Nokia Corp., has practically been a no-show in the U.S. market. That’s hurt the company badly. Now, it hopes to come back with smart phones that run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone software. The Lumia 900 is its first such phone for the AT&T network, and the first Nokia phone to use AT&T’s faster wireless “LTE” network. In a sign of how much is riding on these phones, both the Microsoft and Nokia CEOs showed up for the Jan. 9 announcement. The companies didn’t announce price or availability. T-Mobile USA, a smaller carrier, started selling a more modest Lumia last week.