CES-capades: Part 1

Losing my Vegas virginity and my CES virginity on the same trip may not have been the best idea. There is a lot to take in.

Everything is just…big. Any by “everything” I mean the Strip, the conference itself, the casinos, the hotels, the crowds…the only thing that’s not big is the dividing line between the glamour of this town, artificial as it is, and the grunge that lies beneath, between and behind it. That line is razor-thin, as the walk from my hotel to the convention center made abundantly clear: from high-priced strip clubs to low-rent strip malls. But everything else? Big.

Of course, thanks to CES, that “everything” also includes the latest and greatest in technology, and I’ve seen a bunch of it.

Lenovo, CES, Vegas, technology, computers, horizon, tablets, helix, twistOne of the trends I’ve noticed here at CES seems to be a movement towards opening the computer up and making it more social, I don’t mean via social networking. As I mentioned yesterday, my visit to CES was sponsored by Lenovo and, coincidentally, one of their products has made arguably the biggest splash so far, and that’s the Horizon, something they’re calling an “interpersonal PC.” I got to see this thing up close and personal and it’s pretty sweet.

The Horizon aims to transform the computer from a solitary outpost of communication with an unseen world of strangers into a social gathering place where people can share and interact IN PERSON! It allows several people to interact with the same computer at once, something that could come in especially handy for a dad like me, since the best way for me to allow my son to use the expensive gadgets he’s always pawing at without breaking them is for us to use them together.

The touchscreen Horizon can stand up or sit at an angle like a regular screen, but once you lay the thing flat on a table it changes modes, and all of a sudden the whole family can play Monopoly, Roulette (VEGAS!) and even air hockey (now that the lockout has ended) together. Even my wife would have to concede the benefits of changing the computer or tablet from a head-down, don’t-bother-me kind of activity to a family bonding session. If someone would just develop an app that allows families to eat dinner together via computer, maybe wives and mothers everywhere will finally stop whining about “quality time.”

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon
The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon

The Horizon isn’t super cheap, obviously (pricing starts around $1700), and won’t be out til the summer, but I’m accepting donations now, so when it does hit stores I can spend even more time with it and report back in depth. I accept Paypal.

Just kidding. I don’t need that much money; I just need enough for a tablet.

It’s really beginning to be downright cruel the way you’re depriving my son of the amazing learning opportunities tablets can provide. Here at CES I’ve encountered a lot of cool “kid-oriented” software for Apple and Android-based tablets, and I’ve even seen some kid-oriented tablets (which are somehow not made of rubber). This educational stuff is a great reason to finally get a tablet of your own that the kids can occasionally use. I mean, not only do these things allow parents to teach children things without having to pay much attention to them, someone has finally invented a way to keep the little devils occupied – and quiet! – in the backseat.

Babble, backseat, kids, toddlers, parenting, driving, distractions, photobomb, funny, photosThere are some cool accessories too, like board games that have physical components that work in tandem with the tablet’s digital interface. Which is one of the other things I’ve found interesting about my visit to CES, aside from the fact that Vegas provides porno mags in bins on street corners, free for the taking. There seems to be a trend towards combining the latest in digital technology with old-school, hands-on physical interaction, with both people and things. It’s like we’re suddenly being asked to value human contact again!

It’s a revolutionary concept that, ironically, is being pushed here in Las Vegas, a place where most of the humans wandering around are not people you want to come in contact with. At all.

WAY too many neck tattoos.

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2 thoughts on “CES-capades: Part 1

  1. The tablet looks like a lot of fun! I love it’s ability to incorporate quality family time! Sure beats having to replace the dining room table with an actual air hockey table! 🙂

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