Did this year's CES bring all that you had hoped for?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 13, 2012

The last five days were literally a blur. CES was a blast, but I'm glad to finally be home and to finally be able to sleep in my own bed again. The show is still going on, but will be coming to a close later this evening. Most everything that will be announced has already been announced and all of the exciting stuff is already over, for the most part. Now that it's coming to a close, however, it's high time we look back and recap what CES brought this year.

Going into the show, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to see. I expected a few phones to be announced, several tablets and maybe even something that pushed boundaries of existing technology (i.e.: flexible phones and different form factors). I also presumed we would encounter new ways to charge phones like solar charging, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.

In short, I was almost entirely wrong. There were phone announcements galore. I imagined most phone announcements would held off for Mobile World Congress next month, and I'm sure many will be reveled then. But never did I expect to see nearly 20 phones announced at CES.

And tablets? There were only a couple announced. With all of the hype and chatter of tablets entering the show, I was sure we would see quad-core and Tegra 3 tablets left and right, maybe even the announcement of the 11.6-inch Samsung slate we have heard rumors of recently. (Sorry, guys and gals, couldn't snag any info on that one. I tried on multiple accounts to get at least a hint at a larger tablet from Sammy. No cigar.) In the end, there were only a handful of tablets announced: the Pantech Element, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 for Verizon, Lenovo IdeaTab S2 with keyboard dock and Toshiba Excite (with other Toshiba concepts). Again, pretty cool tablets, but nothing terribly exciting.

As far as other CES announcements and exhibits go, everything was expected or not totally mind-blowing. I saw a few booths with solar chargers that I didn't get to stop at and people were giving out battery charging packs like they were candy. I think I managed to score four or five. If any other cool and exciting technology was to be had at CES, it was either hidden in the back corner of Central Hall, which I never managed to get to, or just in the shadow of all of the other priority stuff I was off doing.

Overall, I was kind of let down by this year's CES. In the back of our minds, we were all hoping for something to blindside us, something from way out in left field to catch us off guard. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this year.

Sure, there was a lot to see and a ton of announcements. I had a blast running the streets of Vegas and getting some hands-on time with a few yet-to-be-released devices. But there was nothing particularly new or exciting revealed or announced this year. Out of the 20 phones, there are only two that I would even consider buying: Galaxy Note or Lumia 900. Of those two, only one is entirely new. The Note has been available overseas for some time now. Both the Note and Lumia are huge, beautiful and fantastic phones. But that doesn't make up for how underwhelming a lot of the other announcements were.

There wasn't a single tablet announced that even caught my eye, and I'm usually eyeing any and all tablets. I'm a fiend, yet nothing really impressed me. I did catch a glimpse of a 13.3-inch concept tablet at Toshiba's booth (I will write more on that later), which was pretty interesting and might have made me drool a bit. Then again, it was only a concept that wasn't even powered on. In short, there was nothing official worth getting excited over.

Out of the whole entire show, the most interesting and exciting thing I came across and am walking away with is a Powerbag Deluxe Backpack (a backpack with a battery pack built-in for charging mobile devices). Most of the other stuff that caught my eye throughout the show was in the form of accessories: iPhone cases with swappable batteries, a Seidio Galaxy Nexus case, battery packs, more battery packs and snap-on iPhone lenses. And the only thing the entire time that caught me off guard was a legitimate high-end phone from Huawei, the P1 S, that I would definitely consider buying if it came to the States at the "estimated price" of $400 sans contract.

I guess you can say that this year's CES was a victim of it's own hype. (That seems to be a recurring theme as of late, for all sorts of things.) And here's to hoping MWC holds a lot of exciting stuff for you cell phone and tablet fiends out there. I caught some hints from several manufacturers that they were still holding out for MWC to release their more exciting announcements, so let's hope they weren't just blowing smoke.

Tell us, readers. How was CES for you this year? Was it underwhelming (in terms of announcements and releases) for you, too? Or were you excited to hear some of the announcements and new phones that will be coming to your carrier?

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