One of the more surprising trends that emerged from CES 2008 was a move toward openness and interoperability. For years, vendors, like Apple, have tried to lock consumers into a specific platform and not allow, much less encourage, content or devices to work together seamlessly.
This year, I saw products from several vendors including Netgear, DivX, Logitech and Slacker, that are built to provide a more open platform. Some even have code included to make integration with other devices work right out of the box. For example, Netgear's Ready NAS Duo will work with Logitech's new Squeezebox Duet streaming music device right out of the box. Netgear took the time to include code to make that integration seamless for the consumer. DivX's new Connected platform supports services like Veoh and Jaman and encourages developers to write plugins to integrate Flickr or Google Maps.
I consider this a huge step forward for consumers who want to buy the best device possible, regardless of vendor, and know that it will work with another vendor's product. Now, if all of the major content providers would take the same approach, we would really be getting somewhere. Sony actually took a pretty big step with announcing that their complete movie library will be made available in the DivX format. Maybe we'll get the rest of them onboard by CES 2009?