CES 2014: Day One Recap

LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- The glitz and glamor of Las Vegas is certainly an appropriate backdrop for the Consumer Electronics Show, as companies demonstrate their best and brightest products for the world to see.

From televisions to tablets, to connected cars to the connected home, CES 2014 has been pretty much what you'd expect, with companies clamoring to show off their new wares. Some firms offered creative ways to get their message across, from QR codes on business cards containing in-depth presentations to NFC chips implanted right on your badges. Companies at CES are doing everything they can to woo consumers.

Here are three of the more important, interesting announcements/unveilings during the first day of CES:


Samsung's Big "Meh"

Samsung, which clearly has Apple (AAPL) in mind with almost everything it does, announced a slew of new products this year, including more smart appliances, several new televisions, and new tablets.

The smart appliances, which include a refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer, and microwave, continued to play on the "Internet of Things" theme, as more appliances and devices become connected to the Internet. It certainly wasn't impressive to me, and many of the presentation attendees. Perhaps the most interesting I learned during this portion of the presentation was that fish should be kept at 30 degrees, to preserve its flavor. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the products themselves.

The company also announced several new televisions, including a curved, 4-K 105-inch television, which was pretty stunning. Unfortunately, director Michael Bay, who was brought on stage to help introduce the product, messed up his lines, and abruptly (and weirdly) walked off stage, overshadowing the announcement. That's live for ya, Michael.

Samsung also introduced a television, which brought the "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd.

Going back to the Apple-centric part of the presentation, Samsung announced several new tablets, including the Galaxy Pro and the Note Pro. This is clearly aimed at what Apple is reported to be doing with its iPad lineup. Samsung is trying to continually refine its tablets, but the notion of business-centric tablets did not come off as appealing.

In a research report following the event, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White noted that "[g]iven Apple's history with the "Pro" name in its products (e.g., the MacBook Pro), we are interested to see how Apple responds."

Time will tell on this one.


Toyota's Big Unveil, Cars Reign Supreme

CES this year seems to be geared more toward autos than actual handheld electronics. Toyota (TM) unveiled a new fuel cell vehicle, due out in 2015. It's pretty sharp looking, and indicates the trend of CES slowly, but surely, becoming the Auto Show.

Google (GOOG) also unveiled what it calls the Open Auto Alliance (OAA), as it seeks to bring Android to the car.

Audi, General Motors (GM), Honda (HMC), Hyundai and Nvidia (NVDA) are founding members of the partnership. The coalition has extended an invitation for other companies to join as well. "The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone," the coalition said in a press release. "This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way."

New Android-equipped cars should start to come to market by the end of 2014.

There was also hype surrounding electric cars, as Formula E-racing, which is being sponsored by Qualcomm (QCOM), showed off an electric racing car.

Anki Drive is Awesome

Perhaps the coolest thing that I saw was Anki Drive, an iOS enabled racing game, which I saw at Pepcom last night. 

San Francisco-based Anki was on stage with Apple at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, showing off its wares.

This prompted me to stop and talk to company representatives, and even have a Twitter conversation with Marc Andreesen of venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz about how cool the product was.

Written by Chris Ciaccia in Las Vegas.

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