CES: The power of the printed word

CES: The power of the printed word (ThePlan8 Podcast)The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas is crammed with the latest gadgets, all blasting out light and noise and motion in high definition goodness. Much of the news this week will be about 3D TV, motion controlled video games, and the blending of Internet and broadcast on traditional television platforms.

There will also be a lot of press around e-readers. They are everywhere – CES has an entire section of the show floor dedicated to e-reader developers; most major CE manufactures will also have branded e-readers. And of course, the rumor mills churn with the news of an Apple iSlate, though there have been no formal announcements yet.

These little flat, grey-scale tablets seem to have little to compete with the walls of flat screen monitors in every booth. Although e-readers offer lots of consumer benefits, the actual experience is not as exciting as 3D, not as immersive as new gaming technology. It is just reading, after all, right?

So far, that’s mostly what these devices do – duplicate electronically what you can easily do with a newspaper or book or magazine.

But the promise of e-readers looms. We hope to see it in the devices on display this year in connected readers, able to access content and interact with it; screens with deep dive hot spots, allowing you to move seamlessly between reading and browsing; and new forms of advertising content which allow readers to connect with brands for product information on their terms.

These readers offer so much more potential than just a replacement for print and ink. And our consumer research at the EML suggests that consumers will be quick to adopt devices which allow them to get more information, connect with sources, and interact with information as they need.

This will create new opportunities for advertisers who figure out how to deliver information in e-reader format which enables consumer research, without interrupting the e-reading experience. Expect to see new kinds of ad units, interactive and expandable in ways we have just begun to imagine.

Who would have guessed that black type on a white background could be so powerful?