CES Scorecard: the Biggest Misses of CES 2013

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Fri, January 03, 2014

IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau) — Love it or hate it, the annual International CES is the way the year begins for many people in the consumer electronics industry. Next week in Las Vegas, companies will present their vision of things to come, some of it grounded in fact and some pure speculation. For all the solid technology on show, there's an equal amount of "throw it out and see what sticks" gadgets and gizmos.

Here's a look at some of the highest profile technologies of CES 2013 that didn't quite live up to the dream or at least not yet.

OLED 4K televisions

Ah, OLED. Televisions based on this screen technology show a picture that's brighter, more colorful, and more vibrant than a typical LCD screen. They've been "the next big thing" for the last few years and everyone who sees one wants one ... until they see the price tag. At large screen sizes, OLED remains a difficult technology to manufacture and that's reflected in a hefty price that puts them out of the reach of most consumers.

At CES 2013, OLED collided with the other "next big thing" in TVs: 4K resolution, which is four times today's best HD resolution. The result was an amazing picture made greater by the carefully chosen demonstration videos that showed off the best attributes of the screens. Some of the first 4K OLED TVs are expected to be launched at this year's CES but don't expect to be able to afford them. Indications are they'll cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Alternative OS smartphones

At CES 2013, there was a lot of talk about the just-launched Windows Phone 8 OS and the soon-to-be-launched Blackberry 10 OS. But a lot of buzz surrounded two would-be competitors: Firefox and Ubuntu. Both demonstrated early versions of their phone OSes and geeks everywhere drooled at the shiny demos. Twelve months on, the Firefox phone is a reality in a handful of countries and the Ubuntu phone has yet to appear. Ubuntu-maker Canonical has reportedly just signed a deal for a phone, but hasn't identified the company it's working with.

But the "miss" here isn't so much with the companies as the industry's enthusiasm for these phones a year earlier. Despite a more competitive marketplace, Android solidified its lead in 2013 and consumers haven't shown much interest in jumping to other platforms.

Dell Ophelia Android HDMI PC

Turn any TV into a PC! Dell's Project Ophelia is an Android PC in a stick that connects right into the HDMI port on a television. That means your TV can become a "fully-fledged" Android PC, which essentially means a smartphone with a big screen. Sure, you'd be able to run Android apps on the TV, but is that any real advantage over your smartphone? The answer's unclear because the stick, now called "Wyse Cloud Connect," still isn't available. At one point it was coming in the middle of 2013, then it was reportedly coming in December.

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