Under clouds frequently as brooding and relentless as those currently dominating the world’s economic climate, the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo’s Chiba Prefecture has played host this week to the annual CEATEC Japan show. And TrustedReviews has been there, in search of rays of technological sunshine to pierce the gloom.
Described by its organisers as a ‘Cutting-edge IT & Comprehensive Electronics Exhibition’, CEATEC this year comprised a total of 804 exhibitors spread over 3,121 booths. And given Japan’s reputation for insularity when it comes to technology, it may surprise you to hear that of the 804 exhibitors, 289 were from places outside of Japan – 27 different countries or regions, in fact. Rather less surprisingly, these international companies do not include Samsung or LG…
Although final visitor figures weren’t available as I write this piece, it was estimated that more than 210,000 visitors will have sauntered through the exhibition between its opening at noon on September 30th to its final chucking out on October 4th. In other words, although it’s only recently started to get much coverage in the West, CEATEC is a pretty big deal.
It’s also a pretty ‘high level’ deal, as you might expect from a country that most would agree is the spiritual if not the actual ‘home’ of consumer electronics. To give you some flavour of the sort of level we’re talking about, a couple of the big ‘keynote’ speeches at the show were entitled ‘ICT Advances and the Deployment of Business Solutions’ and ‘How Does a Next Generation Network Revolutionize the Software Industry?’. And before you ask, no, I didn’t actually attend either of these fascinating efforts.
In fact, initially it looked like I wouldn’t have very much to do at all. For compared with the monstrously huge IFA show in Berlin a month or so back, first impressions of CEATEC are that it’s remarkably compact - at least in terms of the bits that actually interest the man on the street. The stands from the big players are far smaller than the ones seen at IFA, with the result that all the major AV brands manage to find a home within a single hall rather than being spread over what feels like 100 miles at IFA.
However, once you start digging below the surface, it turns out that the relatively small amount of space is densely packed with new technological trends and genuinely cutting edge themes and products. So without further ado, let’s try and give you a flavour of Japan’s current vision of our AV future.