Keynotes in CES Sharp

I've been going over the CES keynote coverage over at Engadget, and there are a few items of, er... note:

"We Have an English-English Translation for the President..."

First off, the Google keynote, which reads like it must have been tremendously fun, if only because they had Robin Williams there (honest, go over and read it, it's hilarious).

Besides Google/Video and Google/Pack, which weren't really secret anymore, there was a lot of common sense (like Larry's plead for manufacturers to standardize on USB for power, something I've often ranted about) and cursory mentions of stuff I'd really like to see, such as Google/Talk for Blackberry and Series 60.

Best of all for me, though, was Larry's tacit acknowledgment that they aren't paying enough attention to the Mac - maybe we'll get Talk and Earth soon.

I sure hope the keynote becomes available in Google/Video sometime - I'd pay to watch it, even if their video store is Windows-only for the moment.

"It's about connecting the devices that all of you are manufacturing."

I have mixed feelings about the Yahoo keynote, though.

Besides the hilarious nugget at the end -

Outside, a guy talking into his phone: "Well Steve Jobs is a f*****g Jedi Master of this shit compared to these other clowns."

...their own Dashboard (based on their Konfabulator acquisition) and a few other doodads, you almost miss out on their new mobile offering, targeted at Series 60 phones.

It's got the works: IM, syncing, search, e-mail, etc., and shows how serious they are about going mobile in a far more convincing way than before.

And yet, they're cramming all sorts of low-level stuff into the phone instead of doing open services, which contrasts heavily with what we've seen so far of Google's approach.

"If it is protected content, it will move throughout your home but it's still very much protected."

Intel's keynote seems to have been pretty much as expected, although I'm a bit fazed by their Viiv DRM. Even as an enabling technology for content providers, it seems a bit much - especially because with Intel CPUs dominating the market, it is likely to become the only game in town.

The AOL Video store, of course, will take full advantage of it, but for me it's only of interest because it's another online video store that Europeans can't get at.

"If you'd said software would be so important in making phone calls, music, photos, TV better...."

Last but not least, Microsoft's keynote (which I already wrote about the other day) shows that they're gearing up for the media wars in a big way, although the hints Bill apparently dropped regarding VoIP require further scrutiny.

They might be playing catch-up on the media wars, but they pack a lot of oomph and it will be interesting to see where they focus on (if they focus at all - they have this tendency to go juggernaut...)

Random Thoughts

Still, CES is (and has always been) mostly about show-off and posturing - the time of year when you get big, noisy product launches aimed at the consumer market.

The only real change over the past few years is that we've gone from Hi-Fi to Wi-Fi in a way: DVDs have given way to video downloads, and software (especially branded service offerings) has naturally become more prominent.

As to mobility, it's still a very minor aspect of the really big CES announcements (in the sense that it's not where the heavyweights are aiming first right now), but I blame that partly on the US's somewhat late blooming of standardized mobile services and carriers' reticence in stepping into the limelight.

My guess is that by next year we'll be seeing a lot more joint announcements between carriers and portals, as well as an even bigger focus on seamless service offerings.