Thursday, January 06, 2011

A 2011 CES Miracle: Silence in the Press Room

Silence in the press room on Press Day at CES? Never thought I'd see the day.

Indeed that's almost what happened at the main press room at the Las Vegas Convention Center Wednesday afternoon even as thousands of journalists poured into town for the media preview day before the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show opened to the public today.

The reason? Most journalists were a few miles away at the Venetian Las Vegas Casino, Hotel & Resort, where most of the larger press events were held. When it came time to write their stories and blogs and upload their photos and videos, most journalists ventured to the much smaller and much-less-equipped CES press room at the Venetian.

The result? The area around the Venetian press room resembled a natural disaster assistance center. The sight of dozens of tired, deadline-pressured, alcohol-lubricated journalists strewn in the hallways around the packed press room gave the area the aura of a flophouse which ran out of beds before the stream of incoming clientele did.

Those sharp enough to catch a shuttle bus to the much larger and better-laid-out CES press room at the Las Vegas Convention Center found seats, serenity and plenty of available computers and laptop desk space--all of which will be nonexistent starting today.

But on Wednesday you could have heard a whispered PIN number drop as journalists quietly, politely and efficiently got their work done without stress, four-letter words or fist shaking. Utterly amazing.

So how do you keep track of the announcements coming out of the show? If you have a Twitter account, all you need to do is search for a term like "#CES," "#CES2011" or any similar variation and you'll get an instant snapshot of what's being announced at this moment. Follow me on Twitter at: @newyorkbob.

Keep an eye right here for some special reports from CES as well.

Video and text Copyright 2011. Stadium Circle Features

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

CES 2011: OnStar - Now Almost Anyone Can Have It

OnStar announced a new product at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Tuesday that non-GM-vehicle owners have been clamoring for for ages: A kit that allows you to add the OnStar satellite information and security service to almost any car on the road.

Where do you find such a device? Just look into your rearview mirror ... and then replace it ... with OnStar's $299 addOn replacement rearview mirror. The addOn includes the familiar OnStar blue button and provides access to OnStar's satellite-borne services such as turn-by-turn navigation, stolen car tracking, hands-free calling and automatic crash response. Service plans will run from $18.95 a month to $199 a year. The new unit will be available at Best Buy later this year. Until now, OnStar was only available as a preinstalled option in GM cars.

At a press conference at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, OnStar President Chris Preuss showed off the new addOn unit to hundreds of journalists two days before the official opening of the convention floor on Jan. 6.

According to OnStar's press release, the addOn is "certified to work on 99 percent of the top 20 selling non-GM vehicles over the last 10 years, or approximately 55 million cars and trucks."

More CES coverage coming. Stay tuned.

Text and video Copyright 2011 Stadium Circle Features
Photos courtesy of OnStar