The media likes to focus on the latest and greatest because it is "new". I saw stories about a new Samsung TV that is thin and huge and won't be available until November, if that among other bleeding edge reports. As an exhibitor watching people go by, though, I saw a different story from CES this year.
This year, in a way not seen last year or really in prior years, was the year of the broad deployment of the "smart" device and people actually using them for more than email. Everyone in the aisles had a smart phone or tablet. That's not unexpected at an event like CES. These aren't new devices and simply having one is not really a big deal. The difference this year was how many people were actually using them on the aisle or in the booth.
Take the attendees who took pictures on their phones and filed them for reference when they got back to their office. Some uploaded those images to cloud based apps in folders. Take the exhibitors who were scanning badges with an app or uploading photos of business cards for later use in a database. Take the fact that the AT&T network was periodically crushed for lack of bandwidth for 150,000 "extra" multiple device enabled people in Las Vegas.
As a bag (protection) supplier for handheld and laptop devices, it serves us to understand when adoption is broader than the early adopters and ultra geeks, to the broader general public. All the attendees and exhibitors were using technology in ways not possible 2 years ago, or if it was, at a hefty price.
Lots, and I mean lots of people were two device people (or maybe three). They have a smart phone with the little smart phone screen be it Apple's or Motorola's or some other. They have a tablet of some kind be it an eReader or 7" screen or a 10" screen like an iPad. And, I suspect most have a laptop in their hotel rooms. Each had funtions for the individual that one or the other of these mostly interconnected appliances performed better for the individual user.
How everyone made decisions about which device to use for what purpose was personal. There was no "everyone was doing this". But, everyone was using their devices to be sure. Nowhere is that more apparent than walking anywhere and seeing or being bumped into by person after person, walking with their heads bowed slightly looking into their almost prayerfully positioned hands, transfixed by some communication or activity happening on the little device in their hands. If you think distracted driving is a hazard on the roads, imagine it with no lanes or dividers. At least the collisions were at only 2 or 3 mph.
That's my summary - massive adoption and actual usage of smart devices. An inertia I've seen sporadically in subways in NY or at airports, but, nowhere as embedded as I saw it at CES last week.