Seen at CEATEC, Tokyo’s Big Gadget Show

By  |  Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 12:24 am

I had a good time last week visiting Tokyo to attend the CEATEC show. Back here in the states, most people don’t know what that is–and I explain that it’s similar to CES and IFA the biggest consumer electronics exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. But that doesn’t fully describe CEATEC, which is a smaller show (though still pretty expansive) and focused on the Japanese market rather than a global marketplace.

The best way to convey what it’s like is to share some of the photos I snapped. So here we go.

Sony’s booth was home to a super-fancy show featuring its two new tablets.

There were also long lines at its booth for demos of its new 3D virtual-home-theater headset.

There were certainly plenty of 3D TVs at the show, but they weren’t the center of attraction they’ve been at other recent electronics shows. But folks lined up for demos of super-high-resolution HDTV, such as this crowd at the Sharp booth. (The lady in front is demoing how surprisingly lightweight Sharp HDTVs are.)

In Japan, people still like mimes in a wholly non-ironic way. This one’s also demonstrating how portable Sharp HDTVs are, by toting one around like a suitcase.

Maybe the single biggest theme at the show was energy, and the conservation thereof–a fact clearly spurred in part by Japan’s reaction to its earthquake and the power outages that stemmed from it. Here’s a demo at Panasonic’s booth of a gas pump-like charging station for electric cars.

Just as Ford tends to have a higher profile at U.S. electronics shows than other car companies, Nissan seemed to be everywhere at CEATEC. Here’s a tiny concept electric car that makes a Smart Car look an H2.

Nissan also had a Leaf electric car that doubled as a backup battery for a home on stilts.

The Japanese love their vending machines. This one happens to be solar-powered.

The Wireless Power Consortium had an entire booth of products that use its Qi inductive charging standard to charge up gadgets without wires–including this table.

Intel was one of the few non-Japanese companies with a major presence, including a bunch of intriguing demos. This one involved online shopping, with a green T-shirt that serves as a green screen–allowing you to try out different tops from home.

More Intel: On-the-fly special effects give the lady in the boxy hat different on-screen heads.

Also at Intel, an attendee tries on a bionic arm.

Speaking of Intel, there were several computers based on its Dynabook platform for MacBook Air-like thin Windows machines, including this Toshiba.

Mitsubishi had a neat demo of a giant half-sphere electronic sign made out of gazillions of OLED displays.

At first, I wasn’t positive what this was–but I believe it’s some sort of TV satellite dish. Even if it isn’t, I like it.

I’ll bet that Toshiba didn’t absolutely need to have a human being holding up that tiny sign, which says “Regza,” a Toshiba sub-brand…

In Japan, Hitachi has a sub-brand–at least I think that’s what it is–called Wooo. It’s fun to say!

Yes, this car has giant ears.


A live concert on the show floor.

We western journalists who traveled to the show also took a field trip to the astounding Yodobashi Camera in the Akihabara district–a camera/computer/phone/gadget/watch accessory store that just goes on forever and ever. And then a bit beyond that. (Check out the photo below and you’ll see a Tower Records sign–they still have them in Tokyo, and Yodobashi’s CD section is one.) It’s only one of scads of electronics stores in Akihabara, from other behemoths to tiny storefronts.

More news to come in a further couple of posts.

[Full disclosure: I was part of a keynote panel at the show, and CEATEC covered my airfare and hotel.]

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