TOKYO--The Ceatec 2008 circus is packing up the tent, but it won't be long until we see many of these same gadgets again. As the Japanese consumer tech showcase winds down, let's take a look at the major themes of this year's show and look forward to what will make it to the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Although the show was a bit smaller this year, it's still the place to see highly imaginative prototypes, as well as get a glimpse of what will actually be on U.S. stores shelves in the coming year.
The most prevalent theme among the electronics giants: thin TVs. Just like at CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin, and CEDIA Expo this year, they're jostling with each other in a race to see who can make the largest screen on the skinniest panel.
Sony continued to push its current 11-inch OLED TV model, the XEL-1, and showed the prototype 27-inch version. But the company also showed an even thinner prototype, whose display is a mere .3 millimeters thin.
But those are small. In larger TVs, Hitachi showed off a 15-millimeter LCD and a 35-millimeter plasma set (see picture), as did Sharp, which announced its new 23-millimeter thin Aquos XS (for "extra slim") model. Toshiba also lined up to show off a concept Regza that looks and leans like an oversize piece of mirrored glass.
Many companies also showed new types of interfaces, such as gesture-based technology. Panasonic showed its connected-home concept, which included an impressive video wall. Users could theoretically call up an exercise program onto the wall, and a video of an instructor would appear and respond to users' movements. Hitachi showed digital signage technology that used human gestures to play games and create interactive advertisements. … Read more