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CEA Summit Draws Top Execs, Outlines CES Details


The Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA) held its 15th annual CEO Summit for the
first time in Europe, with 180 executives in attendance
— 43 of them first-timers — Oct. 1-3.

The event, which is usually held in June, has been
held overseas at least three times — twice in Bermuda
and once in Mexico — but CEA moved its dates and
venue to this scenic resort in northern Italy, more than
hour’s drive from the country’s business capitol of Milan,
where it co-located with the TechHome Mediterraneo

Aside from the multiple opportunities for top executives
to network, the program included meetings of the
CEA board of industry leaders, CEA technology advisors,
and a trend preview of 2012 International CES,
presented by Shawn DuBravac, chief economist/research
director of CEA.

DuBravac noted that the lines between devices —
what they do and how they do it — are being blurred
more than ever before due to hardware changes but
mostly by apps. For instance, while desktop computers
sales are slumping, computing as an activity is
broader than ever before, with other devices sharing
more features and communicating more than ever.

He cited the fact that some cameras are now being
designed “to look like a phone or a tablet and are Android
based,” DuBravac said.

Tablets, to no one’s surprise, will continue to be a
giant story at CES. DuBravac said that Intel, with a variety
of partners, will introduce at the show two dozen
lightweight Ultrabook laptops, whose functionality are
like tablets.

There will be more smartphones with larger screens, and tablets with smaller ones, shown at
CES than in the past. “They will provide
a unique experience … but where will
consumers gravitate?”

Users will drive innovation with apps
that provide unique experiences. That
has happened with smartphones, Du-
Bravac said, where the hardware might
be the same, but “if you pick up a friend’s
phone, you might not be able to use it
immediately.” The app trend will spread
to TVs, he said, noting that while the lifecycle
of TVs “continues to be 10 years,”
at CES there will be “a lot of devices
that will allow consumers to bring the
net experience to a display that doesn’t
have those capabilities built-in.”

DuBravac predicted growth in the TV
category “will be slow for the next four
years.” CES attendees will probably see
more thin bezel sets, more 4K by 2K
screens “with OLED being part of it,”
and glassless 3DTVs. The format fight
in 3DTV glasses will continue and glassless
3DTV will be part of the mix in 2012.

When asked from the audience about
Apple TV and what it may bring in
2012, DuBravac did not provide specifics,
but did note, “Consumers want to
move content easily between the main
screen at home and portable devices.
They want a strong interaction between
both.” For example, smartphones will
become more vital as controllers in
the home gaming experience, be they
iPhone or Android.

Other Summit highlights included
a one-on-one interview between CEA
president/CEO Gary Shapiro and Dish
Network president/CEO Joe Clayton; a panel on global retail
trends with Mike Vitelli, president,
Americas executive VP, enterprise of
Best Buy, and Joe Hartsig, senior VP/
GMM for technology and entertainment
at Sam’s Club (a video of the panel
will appear on

soon); and
remarks by U.S. counsel general Kyle
Scott, based in Milan, who highlighted
the importance of the Italian CE market
to U.S. suppliers.