How to net out the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show?
Huge. Had the feel of a pre-recent recession show. Much more crowded than in the previous cople of of years.
Still, the show, announcements, products in vendor booths, etc. may not bode well for the next year or two.
THE Problem: too many vendors with too many products. Take tablets. Apple has redefined the category and owns it. Period. No one will catch them. There are so many vendors large and small chasing the non-Apple market. Too little to late for most of them. Lots of money has and will be invested in this race for second place. The prognosticators are likely to point out that second place in a rapidly growing market can be a good a good position to own. Maybe. To win second place, an app store is not enough. Apple's iPad benefts substantially from the whole Apple ecosystem including, of course, the iPhone ecosystem. Developers already know how to develop for the ecosystem and seem to have had no problems extending iPhone apps to the iPad plus creating new apps that take advantage of the iPad's form factor, etc. And each company playing in the Android space has typically customized their development and app environments. So one can't quite implement once, deploy many.
So what will life be like for the 3rd and lower placed tablet vendors? Probably minimal consumer uptake and minuscule support from the developer community. I'd hate to be reviewing the tablet business unit's P/L statements in a year or two..
Similarly, how many distinct handsets can be profitable? For manufacturers? For carriers? Some will no doubt have great succeses. But for those out of the money, life will be most difficuilt in 2011 and 2012.