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CES Scorecard: the biggest misses of CES 2013

Martyn Williams | Jan. 6, 2014
Love it or hate it, the annual International CES is the way the year begins for many people in the consumer electronics industry. Next week in Las Vegas, companies will present their vision of things to come, some of it grounded in fact and some pure speculation. For all the solid technology on show, there's an equal amount of "throw it out and see what sticks" gadgets and gizmos.

Lenovo tabletop PC
In a world where PCs are getting thinner, lighter and more portable, a 27-inch "tablet" PC with 2 hours of battery life is always going to be a tough sell. Lenovo found that out this year when it put on sale its IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC that was first shown at CES. The computer is designed to be laid flat on a table so a family can, say, play digital board games. Lenovo's marketing department even came up with a new word to describe the hours of part physical, part digital fun families would have: "phygital."

It went on sale in the middle of 2013 for $1,699, but apparently without much explanation as to why it's any better than a regular tablet for computing and a $20 actual board game that doesn't require batteries. It's still on sale, but as CES 2014 rolls around it costs $1,199.

Windows 8
What a difference a year makes. At CES 2013, computers running Windows 8 had only been on the market a few months and consumers were just getting used to the OS. Unfortunately for Microsoft, consumers weren't totally happy with what they were seeing, were confused by a version called "RT" and were also getting used to accessing their email, browsing the Web and playing games on non-Windows tablet PCs. A year later, this year's show-floor demos and product announcements will serve as a gauge of the popularity of Windows 8 and traditional desktop and laptop PCs as a whole.

The Chinese smartphone invasion
Two major Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Huawei and ZTE, used CES 2013 to launch flagship smartphones that attracted a lot of attention. The gadget blogs loved the large screens — around 6 inches — and furnished readers with lots of close-up shots, quick reviews and praise for the flashy handsets. So where are the phones? The CES launch events were a clever ploy by Huawei and ZTE to capitalize on the mass of gadget-loving bloggers in Las Vegas and get some easy publicity for their brands. The phones were primarily aimed at the Chinese market, so the "miss" here goes to the bloggers, who should have been a bit more critical.


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