"There is a major shift afoot, politically, at CES it was obvious. Google always pledged not to "BE EVIL" and wow you should be grateful they still maintain that basis. That may be changing as technology field grows up, and other major players take their piece of the communcations pie."
I wrote that statement in 2011, and it becomes more true by the day, depending upon where you stand in the CE industry.
2010 the focus was on newer, more efficient, less power consumption, and faster, just like it's been for years.
In 2011, those things started to take a back seat. The big boys figured out how to get the internet to run like an oligopoly, and the government was ready to step up and regulate it. The argument is the ability to deliver content, and run command and control, like to your garage door opener, securely. This is good when there is money, manpower, or material on the line. Not so good if it means stopping the flow of information.
In 2011 the FCC took jurisdiction over the internet, and at current writing, SOPA is on Capital Hill. These two things are a problem for free speech advocates because they would effectively shut down Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and sites where the public can post things on anther's website. This is the major discussion form internet centric programmers, internet consumer electronics manufacturers, and civil rights advocates.
The other side of the discussion is the ability to securely govern your world from the cell phone in your pocket. Redundant networks, miniaturization, are making the control of your blinds, lights, phones, tv's, computer backups, game systems, and phones talk in the same language. When this is demanded by the public in lieu of their rights, what will happen?
In 2011, I wrote this; "Get ready for an internet tax regime, an internet bandwidth upcharge (tax), and easy and consistent monitoring of your business online. The Cloud has come to town." Today I write this from a MAC, backed up by the ICloud, and with the ability to wipe the laptop should I loose it. Yes, I'm certainly paying for bandwidth, but I try to diversify how I consume it to lessen the blow. It also comes with the cost of security for this project. For all of the information is readily available to any Apple Employee with technical access to the cloud :) is it secure? You tell me?
CES 2011 was a bit different than I remember over years past. CES 2012 was the largest CES in history. When the economy turned down, everyone scrambled, and attorneys all got comfortable in the IT industry. It seems much was learned by the legal community, but 2 years later, after many of the lawsuits have been dropped, what will happen? Will these firms stay on retainer or does the industry take the big new hardware and develop toys from them?
In the past, each company was working to use the internet to further their goals. In 2011, the internet started to be used to consolidate the computer and communications industry as a whole. Sure, Facebook, Twitter, and these types of things are expanding the ability to each and every person on the planet. But what nobody is prepared for is the regulation going with it. This is a cause for concern because without the knowledge to protect it, others can take it.
Consumers are driving the shift with their buying decisions alone as the market responds directly to them. I am afraid that consumers are letting ease and lack of knowledge drive these decisions while not defending their rights in their governments.
Based on tracking information, ahem, pardon me, cell phone tower performance logs with date, time, coordinates, bearing and relative distance; you leave a trail already. You have to or you can't connect. Will the public now become aware of the difference between "secure communications" and "secured data transmissions"? Only time will tell...
Once you have an ID and a GPS transponder, can't you issue speeding tickets with a computer. You could corroborate the information from ON-STAR with Cell Phone tower data, and even get speed logs from the motors computers now. What jurisdiction do you need to enter that into a court of law?
Legal precedence is there for subpoena of Automotive Computer Units after a crash already. Patriot Act expands that to what exactly? Could this information eliminate radar guns and automate speeding tickets? Is this an illegal search and seizure? How much more impressive is this than cameras?
This is having an impact on both the hardware, and the software being produced. Much of it very user friendly, but not very innovative and legal, or absolutely groundbreaking.
The next several years in the Consumer Electronics Field will be very interesting. Remember, an oligopoly is a market condition where production of similar products is concentrated in a few large firms, they aren't very diverse, and you have little choice. Regulation inevitably leads to fewer implementations of technology.
We are seeing the internet move onto cell phones, televisions, and tablets. The interfaces consist of touch screens run by 2 fingers, or a remote control. Three Dimensional screens that need no glasses, and can take the glare, are now available.
Finally, a word of warning about user interfaces and the battle being waged inside the industry regarding it. A user interface that locks the user into a few, easy to use, functions, is by it's nature, more simple. By their fundamental nature, these devices limit the number of options to the user as well. Navigation to custom destinations requires an arduous set of keystrokes, resulting in virtual segregation. The shift of interface operations from search, explore, type, and learn, to functions like hotlink, shortcut, and interface hotlink will facilitate Net Neutrality at a hardware level.
It only continued in 2012 at CES ... I can't wait to see what happens this year!