What happens in CES stays in Vegas

Earlier this morning an email from Arnie Berman, a good friend of ours, and chief technology analyst with investment house Cowen & Company had me cracking up. He used the headline “CES ’07: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” to describe the big show, which was long on hype, video and short on consumer viability. Just like Katie’s round up from yesterday, Arnie talks about various issues and explains why Wall Street yawned at the Vegas jamboree.

The really big difference between CES ’07 and CES ’05 and ’06: the absence of any unifying, thematic driver – or any trend so obvious that gadget enthusiasts felt compelled to shout “Hallelujah!” and technology investors felt compelled to bid up the shares of the potential beneficiaries of their new found “discovery”.

The sad part of the show, and its highly compressed nature results in most of us missing out some of the interesting stuff.
For instance Sonos announced its new 2.1 software. Not earth-shattering news, except this allows you to listen to music you bought from any music market place except the iTunes store. [AOL Music Now, MTV Networks’ URGE, Napster, Wal-Mart, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, and the Zune Marketplace.] Since Sonos supports Rhapsody, that is a pretty good line-up, the kind which puts consumers first.
sansaconnect.jpgAnother small announcement with interesting ramifications, is a deal that was announced between Zing and FON. Zing is a company started by Tim Bucher, who used to work at Apple, got into a bit of pickle there, left and started a company that is basically building and designing gadgets for others.
Just like how FON now works with some Skype phones, FON is finding its way into the Zing software. Zing announced a Wi-Fi enabled device in partnership with Sansa called the Sansa Connect. With FON embedded into it, you could now link up to the FON network.
Music Gremlins, Zune and now Sansa (and some day the iPhone) shows that the connected music players are here to stay. Now we can expect more device makers to team up with wifi network operators, giving them perhaps a long shot at long term viablity 😉