Many may argue that CES 2017 had tons of innovation, but I beg to differ. This was possibly the most disappointing year for me. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of devices and tech to be excited about, but let me explain. (Be sure to browse the gallery as well)
What I Liked
Companies are expanding their reach. Cooler Master, Patriot, Lenovo, Gigabyte, and endless amounts of companies are diving into new markets. The focus has shifted to high end gaming for most. Patriot now has Viper, Lenovo has Legion, and Gigabyte has Aorus. All of which are new divisions of the company. Cooler Master is making newer, affordable towers and peripherals. The community now plays a huge part in what Cooler Master is doing and fans can now create user generated content for their devices. For example: headphone covers, tower designs, fan displays, etc.
Razer is exploring new avenues for gaming. Project Valerie is a 3 screen display, built into a laptop. It was quite impressive, but it is only a concept. Recent news released information saying that 2 of these concepts were stolen at the end of the show. It's always tempting to get these devices, but it's really a shame that someone would do this. Project Ariana is a projector that extends the display across the whole wall. I really believe this is truly a great concept, but I'll get more into that later.
VR is beginning to shine. I stopped by the HTC Vive event at the Wynn and spent some time playing some new games that were being developed with the new Vive Tracker. There is still a myriad of room for growth, but holy smokes we are getting some great VR headed our way. Some developers attacked the issue most experience when playing Vive games. Only 1 person can play at a time, unless you have another Vive. These guys over at Master of Shapes created a game that will allow your friends to join in the game with their phones. The pistol peripheral with a tracker on it is your weapon, and you can see whats happening in the game by clipping a phone on top of it. I'm really excited to see what others have been cooking up.
What I Didn't Like
Companies are playing "catchup". The gaming section was full of drones, phone VR, and new but not so special versions of their peripherals. This is the reason I say there was little innovation. TV's are thinner, bigger, and clearer every year. Headphones have a new design and some small adjustments to make it more relevant for today's specs. Phones are thinner, lighter, and more powerful. You get the picture.
Innovation means redifining a category, not creating a levatating speaker. That's a gimmick. I feel as though developers and engineers don't know what to do next. Project Ariana is great, but I wouldn't recommend it for your living room. It would be more suited for a LAN center or an arcade. Eveyone already knows that computers can get thinner, faster, cooler, and better battery. I guess I'm just not easily pleased.
What Was Innovative
Despite my previously mentioned opinions, there were a handful of innovations. The HTC Vive Tracker may not be innovative, but what several developers were using them for, was absolutely innovation. A company named WayRay has created a non-wearable AR for automotive use. This tech is still being fine tuned, but definitely nothing like Tesla's self-driving or a generic HUD. Sony's new super thin TV has a speaker built into the face of the screen. I know, it's hard to think that it wouldn't blur the image, but it doesn't.
There was so much to see at CES 2017 and unfortunately, I missed out on many booths. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what 2017 will look like. Let's just hope that it is better than this. It is important to remember that companies may not have shown much, because it has become a trend for companies to hold their own conference yearly.
What are your thoughts on CES 2017? What did you like or not like? What could companies have done better?