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CES flops: A brief history of high hopes and bad guesses

Colin Neagle | Jan. 10, 2014
Remember the Palm Pre? Anybody watching 3D TV these days, running Windows Vista or watching a movie on Blu-ray?

PC World declared that "the 3D-product plans for the coming year represent the initial salvos of the coming 3D revolution." Most major manufacturers introduced their 3D TV products at the show, and Panasonic's 3D plasma-screen won Best of CES. With 3D movies dominating the box office at the time, it was easy to imagine those awkward 3D glasses becoming commonplace in consumers' living rooms.

Fortunately for people who wear prescription glasses, the 3D TV revolution never quite materialized. Vizio recently announced that it will no longer support 3D TV in its products, opting instead for the promising 4K TV, and ESPN, an early proponent of the technology, has abandoned 3D programming.

CES 2012: Ultra hype for Ultrabooks
About a year and a half after Apple's iPad set the tablet market in motion, PC makers needed to appeal to customers who were excited about the convenience of the tablet form factor but still needed a laptop for serious computing. Hence the ultrabook hype at CES.

It made perfect sense. ultrabooks are thin and efficient enough to take anywhere without cords, and many of them even double as tablets. Mashable called ultrabooks the "star product from CES 2012." Wired warned, "if you're coming to CES, bring a cool ultrabook or innovative tablet or don't bother stepping off the plane," predicting that the ultrabook was "poised to disrupt the traditional notebook space, and with good reason." In early 2012, Intel bet $300 million in a marketing fund on ultrabooks, predicting that the devices would account for 40% of the PC market by the end of the year.

Before that year was over, it was clear the ultrabook wasn't the savior the PC market had hoped it would be. Figures from October 2012 showed that only 10.3 million ultrabooks had been shipped. The ultrabook couldn't get over the same problems that plagued the PC market as a whole.


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