CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

Summary: The Consumer Electronics Show is about to wind down---mercifully---and it's time to hand out grades for the major tech players. Motorola Mobility and Nvidia move to the front of the class.

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CES 2011

The Consumer Electronics Show is about to wind down---mercifully---and it's time to hand out grades for the major tech players. Motorola Mobility and Nvidia move to the front of the class.

This wrap focuses on the strategic positioning of the players at CES this week. Why? Let's face it: Many of the products highlighted this week are either six months away or vaporware. At best, CES is a demoware festival. That's part of the reason why I never go to CES. However, you do get a good feel for strategy from some key tech vendors.

With that in mind, here are my top 5 performances at CES from a strategic perspective.

Motorola Mobility: CEO Sanjay Jha did what he had to at CES. First, he diversified with AT&T and showed off the Atrix, which looks like a interesting contender to win the superphone crown. James Kendrick already has it pegged as best in show. Motorola was also out front with its Verizon Wireless 4G LTE launch with the Bionic. Toss in Motorola Mobility's Xoom tablet (right), which appears to be a showpiece for Google's Android Honeycomb effort, and the company had a solid CES. Motorola Mobility sees itself as a bridge between computing and mobility.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Doug Reid said:

Motorola Mobility confirmed steps to diversify carrier relationships beyond Verizon (specifically, with Atrix 4G on AT&T) give us increased confidence that management is effectively addressing the threat of iPhone arriving on Verizon in 1Q11.

Grade: A. See all on Motorola Mobility.

Nvidia: The graphics chip maker is really stepping on the gas. Its Tegra2 is at the heart of several new handsets from Motorola and LG. In addition, Nvidia is positioned at the heart of 4G devices. With Motorola's Atrix, which docks to create a PC, Nvidia is subliminally positioning itself beyond phones. Speaking of that move, Nvidia also unveiled a CPU effort. Simply put, Nvidia was everywhere at CES---even at Audi press conferences.

Grade: A+

Samsung: At CES, Samsung is everywhere. The company is talking phones, PCs, TVs and everything in between. The biggest standout for Samsung was its slider PC, which is a workable mix between a tablet and a laptop. Is Samsung's device an iPad killer? No way. However, Samsung may just have found a way to create a netbook done right. On the 4G device front, Samsung was also all over the place boasting powerful Android smartphones. One knock on Samsung was all the talk about Smart TV, which could be a rathole since the market is so fragmented. Also see:

Grade: B

Apple: Apple wasn't at CES, but the company looks better than everyone there strategically. The biggest takeaway: Despite dozens of tablets at CES there was nothing that looked ready to duel with the iPad. Motorola's Xoom looks promising, but the tablet needs to get to market first.

Grade: A

Google: The biggest event of CES---in my view---was the long demonstration of Android Honeycomb. Overall, the video---relayed by Jason Hiner---was impressive. If the tablet market is riding on Honeycomb, the demonstration gave me confidence that Android may just step up to the iPad plate. Google gets dinged because its TV efforts were barely worth talking about at CES.

CES video: Google's surprise demo of Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Grade: B

Other thoughts:

  • Dell's 10-inch Streak is likely to be pushed as an enterprise device for key verticals.
  • HTC had a solid CES, but is going to have trouble standing out in the Android brawl with Motorola and Samsung. I'm not sure the next-gen Sense---touted by AT&T---is much of a selling point.
  • 4G marketing is a complete mess for consumers. Every carrier is now talking 4G---even if technically their networks are built for "4G speeds." The 4G marketing is only going to confuse the consumer and everyone and their mother will be 4Gwashing. The term 4G will be meaningless by March. See: CES: The Real Cost of 4G

More: CES special report and all CES coverage

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Laptops, Samsung, Tablets, Wi-Fi

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39 comments
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  • So what grades does Microsoft get? D or F? The Buthead keynote was REALLY

    pathetic.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      @DonnieBoy Yeah where's monkeyboys scorecard??
      cyberslammer2
    • I give M$ a D

      @DonnieBoy <br>if not for the kinect, M$ would have gotten an F.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @Linux Geek AKA DonnieBoy, do you talk to yourself like this in your mother basement in the UK?
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • DonnieBoy, AKA Linux Geek, AKA cyberspamer - what a jack wagon you are!

      @DonnieBoy Everyone
      You know what is sooo funny. I saved links of you and your multiple personalities "predictions" and it's so funny. LinuxGeek, AKA Cyberspammer AKA Donnieboy new name comes back from a link a year ago it's soo funny. What a JackWagon:

      So this stupid prediction:
      http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-17924-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=74085&messageID=1434029
      look at the name and icon everyone:

      And who makes these childish statements...our one and only DonnieChild..
      "i7, QuadCores, Athlons, Phenom, or those that still think printing on 8.5X11 inch paper is still relevant."
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • All modern innovation being fueled by Google and Microsoft

    As such, both get grades of A+.
    NonZealot
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      @NonZealot Yes, Ballmer gets on stage, farts, says "Yay Kinect and Windows 7" and then leaves the stage.<br><br>If that warrants an A+ I'd hate to see your college transcript, although a masters in basket weaving doesn't take much does it?

      Yeah, and MODERN INNOVATION???

      LOL that's a laugh...

      Apple rules the tablet market, and will do again in 2011 by the WEAK offerings of the rest of the field...oh, did you see the Blackberry Playbook tablet was delayed due to shoddy battery life? May not even come out mid-year!

      As for the mobile phone market, you are WRONG. Apple and Android rule it at the moment, I guess you could say RIM does too but Microsoft?

      Stop smoking the crack.
      cyberslammer2
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      "All modern innovation being fueled by Google and Microsoft"

      As trolling goes, you effort here is terrible. I guess even you can't put lipstick on a pig.
      alanzo
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @alanzo I met his wife, she does a great job of putting lipstick on.

        I just wish she'd quit wearing belly shirts.
        cyberslammer2
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      I wonder how many commenter work for the publications itself. All one has to do is comment google/microsoft/apple is the best/worst and watch the long thread of comments and all the wonderful hit after hit traffic that the publications can sell to advertisers.
      rengek
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      @NonZealot

      Is that why you own an iPhone and MacBook Pro?
      MG537-23482538203179240121698430309828
  • typical ZDNet

    It kind of says everything about the cultist obsession so prevalent on ZDNet these days that Apple has to be given a grade even though they weren't even at the CES!
    cauleyflower
    • It is well known

      @cauleyflower
      ZDnet is part of the Apple marketing department.
      NonZealot
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @NonZealot
        And yet more strawmen from the Zealot.
        MG537-23482538203179240121698430309828
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      @cauleyflower That's because everyone and nearly everything at CES revolved around defeating the iPad and the iPhone.

      I would say that the intimidation factor of a non-participant would warrant an A.
      cyberslammer2
    • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

      @cauleyflower
      I agree, how can Apple get a grade for not being there? That is like me not going to work and still getting paid, or never go to class, do no work, and still get an A.

      @cyberslammer2
      perhaps so, but still, you'd think that Apple would have something new every year. After all isn't that how cults (aka church of jobs) are? Look over here its new, shiny and all you mindless drones want it!
      mgaul
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @mgaul They do have something new every year. Feb they are going to announce the iPad2, and in a few months iPhone 5....

        They can host their own conference and it would be packed.
        cyberslammer2
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @mgaul

        Oh Yes - Apple chose not to pay a company to be involved in a marketing event.

        The CES is not like school that is mandatory.

        CES is a commercial venture.

        Apple chose not to pay

        Apple still wins in the market.

        That is a very big A+ for achieving market share without paying the organisers of CES.

        And what did you do at school today?
        richardw66
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @cyberslammer2

        Really???? iDevices are new??? Um, nope what about a new hardware line from what got Apple to where they are today. The last computer what apple has put out is the Mac book air. Maybe something that can actually challenge MS in the enterprise market. (Hint: general consumption is not the biggest market, after all, enterprises have bigger and deeper pockets.)
        mgaul
      • RE: CES wrap: Nvidia, Motorola Mobility get top marks

        @richardw66
        I learned Apple has virtually no place in the enterprise market.
        mgaul