CEATEC, or Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies in its long form, is Japan's biggest consumer electronics show. Held at Chiba's gargantuan Makuhari Messe convention center — the same stage occupied by the Tokyo Game Show two weeks previously — it's where Japanese companies come together in an effort to demonstrate the country's sustained potency in the global technology arena.
Unfortunately, little in the way of major news breaks at the show, and companies from sectors such as photography and gaming — where Japanese hardware remains dominant — are virtually absent. Products on show have mostly been announced at larger events elsewhere like IFA, and big names from other countries tend to stay away.
But as a snapshot of where Japan stands in the technology world today, it's hard to beat. Take a look for yourselves.
- Sony CEO Kaz Hirai fields questions from reporters on the show floor.
- Nissan's self-driving cars enthrall adults and kids alike.
- Xperia smartphones take center stage at a booth labeled "The Best of Sony."
- An unhinged interpretative dance performance from Toshiba would have you buy into a future where your fridge, washing machine, and air conditioner all work in perfect wireless harmony.
- Attendees lining up to see Panasonic's 4K OLED TV are treated to some trippy high-resolution projections.
- Denso's mysterious "Moon" transportation device bears an uncanny resemblance to IT, the uncomfortably trendy gyroscopic vehicle dreamed up for an episode of South Park.
- The Makuhari Messe is everything you'd expect from a major technology conference venue: cavernous, concrete, and bathed in harsh lighting.
- One of the few new products making its debut at CEATEC is Sharp's Mebius Pad, a Windows 8 tablet with an impressive 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 IGZO display.
- Although there's usually no shortage of incongruous dance performances at Japanese tech shows, Pioneer chose to demonstrate its bass-shaking DJ equipment with a model rooted firmly to the spot.
- Contrary to a recent report, Docomo is not dropping Samsung products this year — the leading Japanese carrier is showing off the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch at CEATEC. The iPhone, however, is conspicuous by its lack of promotion, even though Docomo finally decided to sell Apple devices this year.
- Despite announcing plans yesterday to lay off half its TV division, Toshiba is gamely attempting to take part in the 4K revolution.
- Need another reason to hold off dropping thousands on a 4K TV? NHK's 8K Experience theater gives a glimpse at what's next.
- Perhaps the defining image of CEATEC: a besuited gentleman tests out the Uni-Cub, Honda's answer to the Segway.
- And, in case you thought this convention center had worn out its gaming impulse with last month's TGS, here we have a bizarre title controlled by jumping while strapped into a crane arm.