I just left CES. I was only there for a day, so my wisdom on the show is somewhat limited. I have two takeaways I wanted to share and they come out of one observation. Many of the booths and products were focused on making technology more livable and integrated into our daily lives. There was Panasonic’s expensively framed Plasma TVs. All sorts of wearable devices. And, my personal favorite, Hannspree’s branded and personal LCD televisions.

The two takeways are:
1. Technology really is part of our everyday lives so it had better be comfortable. Comfortable to watch, from comfortable chairs. Comfortable to wear (LV iPod cases etc.) and fashionable. And, perhaps, most of all for the fiercely independent young generation, highly personalized. This trend will accelerate even more over the coming years.

2. This is a net negative trend for CE vendors. Because their other motivation is profits. To wit, the products have become so similar and the technology so commoditized that the only place they can seek profit margin is in enhancing the plastic or livability (if there is such a word) of the product. So Panasonic makes increasingly lower margins on the 42" plasma but can make $400+ on the fancy frame. Hannspree can make nary a buck on the LCD TV but can charge upwards of $500 for the branded and personalized MLB TV with your favorite team’s logo on it.

[Originally published on 7th January 2006 by MIchael Eisenberg]