CES Unveiled reveals little about tech in 2012 so far

Technology's biggest trade show has already gotten underway in Las Vegas, but there have been few teasers to get anyone excited about the field in 2012 thus far.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is just about to get fully underway, and most of the big themes have turned out to be very predictable.

See also: CES 2012: ZDNet's news and product coverageCES 2012: CNET's news and product coverage

That isn't to say that all of these ideas, such as Ultrabooks and Internet-connected homes, aren't entertaining and useful.

For example, take Ultrabooks. Already, Lenovo had its Ultrabook entry out on display, front and center among other products, on Sunday evening at the CES Unveiled product show ahead of the official CES opening.

Sure, anyone is already being crowded by the media for photos and details immediately. But it was quick to see that Ultrabooks, given that Intel has boasted at least 60 designs in the pipeline for releases soon or later this year, are going to become an over-saturated market quickly. It's going to take a lot for any of these notebooks to stand out from one another, and it might just come down to the price point at the very end.

Yet another Intel product, Thunderbolt, is definitely not something to be overlooked at CES 2012. Already, several vendors showed up with gadgets designed around the Thunderbolt I/O -- most especially for Apple products.

One of them is Belkin's new Thunderbolt Express Dock ($299, pictured right), which enables Macbook and Ultrabook users to access multiple desktop peripherals with a single cable. For example, the dock has multiple USB ports and and Ethernet port for streaming movies in full 1080p HD as well as support for transferring large volumes of data within seconds.

Unfortunately, that dock won't be available until at least September, which brings us to another major theme emerging at CES 2012.

That is, many products being unveiled at CES this year won't be available until at least the second half of 2012 -- or even later, if we're lucky.

Many of these retailers were quick to say that these items aren't "delayed," but rather just being prepared. That's fair to some extent, but building up hype for a product too early could backfire badly if many people forget about them after a considerable amount of time.

There were a few other interesting products on display, including the HP-owned Autonomy's demos of augmented reality videos for capturing images to lead to advertising and instructional videos.

The most eye-catching item on display was Nest, a module that can replace the traditional (and boring) home thermostat with little trouble for a relatively inexpensive price ($249). When walking past this booth, it was the only one in the conference room crowded with hundreds (if not thousands at some point) of people that really drew comments such as, "Have you seen this? It's amazing."

Certainly, there will be plenty of very hyped, major new releases to come over the course of the next week. But based on the pre-show, we're definitely left with wanting more -- and not in a good way.


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