What really mattered at CES: An OS, a tablet a network, a surrender

Android, LTE and tablets will drive this year's IT decisions

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During big waves of product announcements, like at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, there is so much static from me-too product announcements that the announcements that matter tend to get swamped.

There are too many phones to pay attention to any single one; Internet-connected TVs are great, and I'd watch the 3-D version if I didn't have to pay for one; I support only on a Constitutional basis the right of anyone to drive, build or rock giant, expensive sound systems in cars customized into complete stupidity.

Intel and Nvidia's attempts to invade one other's markets will matter. So will Microsoft's decision to port Windows to the kind of chips that run tablets and phones.

Tablets are going to make the big difference, both in the way most people use computers, as will the operating systems that run on them. There are just too many to look at individually, though.

So which ones really mattered?

The next version of Android

The tablet product that will have the greatest impact wasn't even really at CES. Google demonstrated Honeycomb, the next version of its Android OS, and posted a video showing why it matters.

It's slick, it's pretty, it's customizable and it's designed for tablets. You can switch between tasks, see a list of tasks running now, which is awkward on phones, and is set up to synchronize wirelessly and automatically with apps in the cloud.

The demo version links with Google Books and Maps and Talk, but the same sync function should make integrating it with an enterprise app or network pretty straightforward.

Honeycomb also builds on an installed base and community of developers big enough to make it a credible alternative to the iPad and Apple's iOS which, even if the next edition of the OS didn't look sharp, would be enough to make Honeycomb the most significant demo at CES.

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