NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The annual January Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the largest one of its kind in the world. Over 100,000 technology professionals gather to see what the major vendors have in store for the upcoming year.
None of them have a formal presence at CES.
Yes, I know, they are there, somewhere -- looming in the hallways, undercover, checking stuff out. And numerous technology partners offer accessories and other devices built on and around their products. But unlike companies such as Samsung, Sony (SNE) and LG, Google, Apple and Microsoft don't host any formal exhibits.
With CES unable to get the Big Three to exhibit, they went after the other Big Three -- General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Chrysler/Fiat. Actually, the auto industry these days is far broader than it was in the days immediately following World War Two: Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mazda, Toyota (TM) and Kia were also exhibiting at CES this year, for a truly global automotive flair.
From an in-car infotainment and related perspective, I thought Mercedes had the most interesting invention, straight from its Silicon Valley technology center. It's basically a prediction engine that looks a whole lot like Google's NOW, which is included on Android 4.1 and above.
The point of this system is to predict what you will be doing with the car and where you will be going. The car already knows the location, weather, time of day and how many passengers are in the car. Based on this, it learns what you typically do at that point.