(By Bearemy Glaser ) There were many disconcerting things on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show. From an enormous half phone/half tablet that uses a stylus to Justin Bieber, there were plenty of things that would make almost anyone do a double take. But beyond that, there were plenty of disconcerting things for investors, too. Beyond the flash and excitement of new were important investment themes that could drive the tech industry for years. Here are five, somewhat troubling, takeaways from last week's conference.
No Upgrade Cycle for PCs
One thing that hardware manufactures used to be able to count on was that a new version of Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows would spur a wave of purchases from consumers and enterprise costumers alike. That trend does not appear to be playing out ahead of Microsoft's planned launch of Windows 8. There just isn't much buzz or excitement to get the new operating system in the hands of users. Considering that every machine that can run Windows 7 can run Windows 8, there is no fear that buying a machine today will mean you can never upgrade. This means there isn't a huge line of people who were holding off a purchase until the new OS was ready.
The relative lack of excitement is not because Windows 8 is a bad product. It builds on the success of Windows 7, and it isn't facing the delays and concerns of other recent releases like Vista. However, many of the new features are more geared toward making Windows more relevant to the mobile world, not to improving the core desktop experience. Being able to run windows on ARM processors that are popular in tablets and smartphones and a new Metro overlay that makes the OS more touch-friendly are important steps for Microsoft. However, people won't be lining up at the door at midnight to get these features.
PC manufactures, therefore, are going to have to rely on new designs, marketing, and a more confident consumer and business owner in order to move more units. Just riding the wave of an incremental improvement to Windows isn't going to do it.
RIM Keeps Falling Behind
Research in Motion's (RIMM) big announcement at CES was that the second generation of its PlayBook tablet would have native email.