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Taking a glimpse into the future with the Consumer Electronics show
Written by Rowan Govender
21 January 2013

The CES, or Consumer Electronics Show, is tech industry trade show that's hosted in Las Vegas. CES allows various companies to showcase their latest technological developments for the consumer market. The very first CES was hosted in New York in 1967 and had over 100 companies exhibiting. CES grew in popularity as time passed, and in 1978, they decided to host CES twice a year. CES ran bi-annually until 1994, when the show was cut back to an annual event.

Currently, CES plays host to over 2000 companies, including the likes of Sharp, Sony, and Samsung. CES 2013 recently wrapped up and we got to see devices such as ultra HD TVs, flexible screens, Android video game consoles and phablets (phone/tablet hybrids).

Two industry giants, Microsoft and Apple, don't exhibit their own products at this year’s CES. Apple has hosted their own events for a fairly long time, and Microsoft, despite being the “opening act” for CES for many years, has chosen to follow suit.

South African participation low

Unfortunately, while South Africa has had a few standout technological developments, CES is still dominated by major Asian and American tech companies. However, this year did see South African born Mark Shuttleworth announce and demonstrate an early version of Ubuntu for smartphones. Ubuntu will be available in two flavours: Ubuntu for Android and Ubuntu for phones.  Ubuntu for Android is an OS that will run alongside Android without needing to reboot the device and switch operating systems. Since both Android and Ubuntu are based on the Linux kernel, you can easily switch between the two operating systems, without needing to have any kind of virtualization software. Ubuntu for phones will be used as a replacement for competing operating systems like Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Unfortunately, if you are a tech lover, CES is an industry trade show in that isn't open to the public. Thankfully, it is open to the media so the public can get a glimpse at the latest in technological developments.

But what about South Africa? Do we have our own CES?  The closest we have to CES is RAGE (Really Awesome Gaming Expo) which takes place in October every year in Johannesburg. The RAGE Expo focuses on computers, gaming, and technology, but, as you can no doubt tell by the name, is very much an entertainment expo. It plays host to media and tech companies such as 8ta, Sony, Microsoft, and EA Games, who showcase everything from the latest cell phone deals to early looks at video games that are still in development.

So while we don't have the equivalent of CES (yet), South African tech fans and other entrepreneurs can get a glimpse into the future, and this glimpse might spark an idea that could see the rise of the next Mark Shuttleworth.


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