CES 2011: A consumer wireless fest

Mike Jude/ Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan
14 Jan 2011
The Consumer Electronics Show 2011 might as well have been called a consumer wireless show. All of the big announcements had to do with wireless technology. AT&T announced the imminent deployment of its 4G LTE network, along with a plethora of LTE-enabled new smartphones due for release in the second half of 2011. Verizon followed with its own LTE smartphone announcements. Many of the supporting vendor players like Ericsson and Motorola also made hay on their new LTE-capable modules and supporting chip sets.
The consumer wireless announcements didn’t stop with the carriers, however. Just about all consumer electronics now have some form of wireless capability. The 2011 CES featured cameras with built-in Bluetooth transceivers so that downloading pictures to a PC and enabling printing capabilities is now an exercise in proximity to a personal network. And of course, tablet PCs are all wireless enabled. Even Amazon’s next-gen Kindle eBook has built-in 3G connectivity, compliments of Amazon and AT&T.
For the home networking environment, LG demonstrated smart appliances that can connect wirelessly to the home Wi-Fi network to report status and energy use. Although these smart appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator and oven) are only in the concept stage at this point, they seem too well finished to be simply conceptual. LG is almost certainly contemplating some form of release in the next couple of years.
Automotive wireless was also pervasive at 2011 CES. GM’s Volt is wirelessly enabled and can support a rich diversity of connected devices in addition to the ubiquitous OnStar service and systems. Other automakers also showed off their wireless features.
It goes without saying that smartphones are de rigueur at events like these. Not only were new devices demonstrated in abundance by Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC, but lots of new applications designed to run on them were in evidence.