Echoes of CES
We at Skype have now waved goodbye to this year’s CES, the consumer-electronics industry’s trade show of record.
These massive light-bending, gravity-distorting gatherings of tens of thousands of journalists, bloggers, tech companies, tourists and tote-bag-filling hangers-on are never a cakewalk. Sure, it keeps getting more crowded than ever, our backs hurt, our heels breathe fire, our vocal chords turn to beef jerky, and them miniature buckets that collect beads of executive sweat during media interviews have holes on the bottom. But CES — even with talk of the show apparently considering other, non-Vegas options in the future — is a phenomenon like nothing else. And you have to love it. (It’s the law.)
You’ve probably seen loads of Skype-related CES coverage on news sites and in the blogosphere. Maybe you even read our CES press release, so I won’t get into too much detail here. But where last year we saw Skype jumping the species barrier and squeezing itself into embedded devices (such as WiFi phones or desktop internet phones), our presence at CES 2008 expanded on that and pointed to exciting stuff happening on the mobile side of things.
Oh you know, things like the 3 Skypephone, Skype soon becoming available for the new Sony mylo communicator and the slim & light PSP, Skype on the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, Skype partnering with Intel on mobile internet devices running on Intel’s low-power chips, Skype built into rolls of duct tape so you can transfer files even with your mouth taped shut (ok, that’s a rather tasteless fake example, but I needed to check if you were paying attention). What we’re talking about is putting Skype in your pocket so your conversations travel with you, even when the PC stays at home. After all, some 80 percent of our users say that’s what they want.
Of course, mobility can also go hand in hand with Skype running on your Mac or PC. A lot of people that we met were instantly converted to the Freetalk Wireless Stereo Headset from Avnera. The headset’s good looks, nice heft and 20-meter range (can’t get that with Bluetooth!) are difficult to argue with. The world is drowning in wires, so their absence gets an immediate applause (well, figuratively speaking… we’re not inserting laugh or applause tracks here). From what I hear, these things are so hot that the Skype store has run out of stock.
Flying back to Tallinn will give ample opportunity to think back at what transpired at CES and what it means for the remaining 356 days of 2008. There’s plenty to look forward to, that’s for sure.
But now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to return my typing fingers to their protective casing and charge my iPod instead. It took me no less than 44 hours to get to Vegas and in case things get funky again in the parallel universe of canceled flights and missed connections, I need me some soothing tunes on the journey home.