Summary of Day 3 at International CES 2014 in Las Vegas by Cantor.
Fitness Bands and Smartwatches are Ready for Take Off. Wearable technology is a key theme this week at CES and the interest level amongst attendees is especially high as it relates to fitness bands and smartwatches. In Cantor Fitzgerald analysts’ view, the wearable technology category represents an attractive new growth opportunity for the leading mobile device vendors. As analysts have previously discussed, they believe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will launch the “iWatch” before the end of 2014, and they expect this will further validate the “wearable technology” movement. There are many companies at this week’s show that offer or will soon launch fitness bands, including Jaybird, Epson, Fitbit, Razer, Garmin, Sony, LG Electronics and others. Prices for fitness bands ranged from $60 to $200 for the companies we visited. Privately-held Fitbit is recognized as one of the pioneers in the fitness band category, and analysts believe the company would provide a larger tech organization with an attractive platform in the wearable technology category. In the smartwatch world, companies such as ZTE, Epson, Garmin, Sony, Samsung and Qualcomm were showing off innovations at the show with prices ranging from $200 to $350. Since the smartwatch category remains in the nascent stages of development, analysts believe there is an opportunity for a company to define the future of this category, and they expect this will be Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
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GLW’s Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass Provides New Selling Point for Device Makers. Yesterday, analysts met up with Corning and discussed new LCD glass innovations. In the past, Corning has unveiled the next generation of Gorilla Glass; however, this did not occur at this year’s CES. That said, Corning presented its Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass that recently became commercially available, and analysts believe it will be a big hit as more consumers become sensitive to the sanitary condition of their smartphone or tablet. Essentially, Corning formulates the glass with ionic silver that acts as an antibacterial agent. Analysta at Cantor believe this premium Gorilla Glass will be in high demand across the mobile device landscape in 2014.
Smart TVs Still Are Not Smart but Nothing from Apple in the Near Term. This week, analysts had the opportunity to interact with various smart TV devices, and they attended conference sessions on the topic; however, analysts still find these devices clunky and less than user friendly. A clear theme was that the set-top box is facing extinction and in some cases, they believe chips will simply be embedded into the TV system. Over the years, there has been a plethora of media reports around a potential Apple TV, and analysts have discussed the topic on numerous occasions; however, their checks at this week’s International CES indicate that the bottleneck around Apple TV coming to fruition is the inability to negotiate terms with content providers. In analysts’ view, it appears highly unlikely that Apple TV becomes a reality in 2014.