Steve Sinofsky tours CES and comes away impressed by Windows 8 PCs and hybrid tablets

January 14, 2013

Detailing his observations from the show on his new 'Learning by Shipping' blog, the ex-Microsoft exec begun by countering claims CES 2013 had been lacking in innovation.

“Leading up to this year’s CES show, one might have thought the CE (consumer electronics) industry was in a lull and devoid of activity, let alone innovation, by reading a few of the pre-show reports. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“CES 2013 was another year of amazing things to see. More importantly, CES highlights the optimism that drives our industry. The pursuit of new products, new businesses, and most importantly combining those to come up with ways to simplify and improve life for people through electronics, hardware, and software.”

Sinofsky said that mobile was “front and center for every product” at the Las Vegas show, and noted rising trends for UHD/4K TVs, phablets and multi-screen viewing (“there’s an incredible desire for the ability to get what I am seeing on a phone or tablet onto a bigger screen”). He did, however, see less enthusiasm for 3D and gesture-based TVs and media boxes.

On phablets, Sinofsky said that demand for the form factor shows that consumers will continue to select from a variety of size devices going forward.

The made up word that was used more than it seems like it should was phablet—a device that is bigger than a phone and smaller than a tablet.

“It seems that there are two views. There’s the view that a phone is a phone and should be “less than” some size, and a tablet is a tablet which is 7-8” unless it is a big tablet (9.7”) or a PC/tablet. The other view is that consumers will be selecting from a wide variety of sizes and the industry will meet many needs. I like this second view.

“I would not discount the consumer demand for a sustainable market of a variety of sizes of portable devices."

Sinofsky may have departed Microsoft in a hasty fashion back in November, but that didn’t stop the former Windows manager from praising the new Windows 8 devices turning up at last week’s technology fair.

“While Dell, HP, and Microsoft were not showing their own booths, there were plenty of new PCs. This was newsworthy and clearly showed a focus on “designed for Windows 8”, which is exciting,” he said, before going onto praise models from Samsung, Lenovo and others.

He also said that hybrid tablets are becoming “clearer and more refined”.

“As with “phablet”, it seems that the variety of tablets enabled by Windows will be something that continues to bring innovative ideas to consumers.”


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