The Consumer Electronics Show was in full force next week, as consumer technology companies from across the globe showed off their latest wares for journalists, analysts and thousands of prying eyes.
This year's hot theme was televisions, as Ultra HD looks set to replace high-definition television sets over the next few years. Social media was also another major theme, as people were using social media to keep track of the show, follow their favorite journalists, and read up on the latest announcements with Salesforce.com giving demonstrations of its Marketing Cloud software
Though many of the television sets are still too expensive (there was one set from Sony floating around the show for $22,000), the technology is here, and companies such as Broadcom and Qualcomm are poised to benefit, as their microprocessors go into new devices.
Broadcom (BRCM), the $20 billion chip company, offers chip for Ultra HD, which is four times the resolution of regular HD technology. Broadcom announced chips for the set-top boxes that will bring the content to these television sets, and stands to benefit as more content is created with Ultra HD in mind. The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was currently filmed using this technology. More content is expected in the coming years, but it's clear this is the way the television industry is going.
The Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom announced the BCM7445 chipset, which enables UltraHD to come into the home, with dramatically improved picture quality on larger televisions. In addition, it also helps the carriers such as Verizon, Comcast and others by reducing video bandwidth by 50 percent, a huge cost for the cable companies.
Qualcomm (QCOM) is making new chipsets to benefit from Ultra HD technology, only it's approaching it from a slightly different angle: the smartphone and tablet. Qualcomm announced new chips, in particular the Snapdragon 800, which will allow smartphones to record and playback Ultra HD video. The Snapdragon 800 is for higher-end smartphones and tablets, and may wind up being in devices such as the Apple iPhone or other higher-end devices.
The San Diego-based Qualcomm also noted that it was able to keep battery life the same with the chips designed for Ultra HD, something that's important to consumers. Smartphones and tablets feel like they have to be recharged at least once if not twice a day, so anything that keeps battery life the same is sure to be a hit with the manufacturers.
It looks like Qualcomm, with a market cap of more than $110 billion, has a real winner on its hands with the new Snapdragon series announced at CES.
Salesforce.com (CRM) was another big winner at CES, as it showed off its recent social media acquisitions, helping make sense of the world's data, and generating significant revenue doing it. Salesforce.com showed off its Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which includes the recent Buddy Media and Radian 6 acquisitions.
The Marketing Cloud helps keep track of tweets, Facebook mentions, and other social media mentions about particular topics, such as CES, celebrities who attended, and some of the more important products that were showed off at the conference.
Most of the mentions were coming through Twitter, as that's a more open platform than the other social networks, but companies are taking this real-time marketing data and using it to help keep track of the reaction to their products, gauging customer interest and responses. As companies increasingly turn to social media, Salesforce is poised to benefit with its Marketing Cloud, allowing its customers to keep track of responses, and generating significant revenue in the process.
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