Will Someone Strike A Blow in the Battle Over Our Screens?
Internet TV made a big showing at last year’s CES and this year, we expect it to be even more of a focus. This time last year, devices to connect your TV to the Internet like Boxee were making their first appearences in the flesh. Since then, Google and Apple have both gotten into the Internet TV game and Netflix has expanded its presence across several hardware offerings. Hulu has come out with a premium offering and showed up on a variety of hardware as well.
A big problem in the Internet TV realm, however, is that we’re still battling over which screen content shows up on. If you choose to view content on your computer, you can watch most of the latest in television content, completely free, on network websites like NBC or ABC. These same websites, however, are blocked on Internet TV devices like Google TV. The disparity seems illogical to anyone that knows they can simply connect their computer directly to their TV and have the best of both worlds.
So, what we’ll be on the lookout for are solutions to this problem. Already, we’ve seen proof of concept technologies like Snapstick, but a major problem still remains – will they be adopted by the hardware manufacturers? Or will relationships between major content providers, networks, and hardware manufacturers keep solutions like Snapstick from taking off?
App Store, App Store, Everywhere an App Store
As Shawn Dubravac, the chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, says, we can expect the “appification” of everything.Over 2010, we’ve seen apps virtually take over, with Google unveiling an app store, Apple announcing a Mac app store, and even Microsoft getting in on the fun with an Internet Explorer 9 beta that gets out of the way and virtually appifies the Web. Dubravac expands on how this “appification” will, well, expand at this year’s CES:
To be sure, apps will be omnipresent at CES in televisions, tablets and mobile phones. Apps are a conduit for the Web and consistent with the growth of Internet connectivity, I expect to see apps gain significant inroads in cameras, printers, in the vehicle and digital displays like photo frames. I also expect to see apps gain significant inroads at CES into things like mobile and digital health, and sports and fitness. Monitoring will be a theme at this year’s CES and I expect to see apps play an important role enabling individuals to along many facets of monitoring.
Internet-connected, “appified” everything, huh? That brings us to our third thing we’ll definitely be on the lookout for…
The Ever-Expanding Internet of Things
As more and more devices become Internet-enabled, they gain the abililty to automatically report certain data, such as where it is, what it is doing and when it is doing it. As Dubravac notes, apps are going to be everywhere and that means that Internet-connected devices will too. Ford SYNC is one major push in the realm of Internet-connect objects – in this case, your vehicle – and shows many of the possiblities. With this system, Ford owners can access “Vehicle Health Reports” online, automatically dial 911 in the event that the airbag deploys, connect with traffic data and even connect with your smartphone (among other features).
We’re looking to see two classes of products here: an increased selection of Internet-enabled devices, such as Fords and Nikes, as well as devices meant to connect other objects and bodies to the Internet. We’ll likely see more in the way of the AutoBot, which allows you to control aspects of your car with your smartphone, and other devices meant to retrofit that part of our lives that doesn’t yet live online. A big one here, of course, is ourselves – we’re expecting to see devices that help users monitor the one thing they care about more than anything else: themselves.