CES Press Day Shows You’re Not Missing Much
From CNET’s coverage, the Consumer Electronics Show press day sounds uninspired. The PC world is getting into ultrabooks (think of a MacBook Air running Windows), there are new TVs that don’t look all that different from old TVs, smartphone manufacturers are trying out large-screen models that won’t fit in a pocket, 3-D printers are still kind of expensive, and cameras will increasingly have Wi-Fi. Oh, and Microsoft will no longer exhibit at CES.
I think CES is pretty worthless these days. If it was held in Akron or Fresno I don't think many people would attend. It's really all about Vegas and the executives pretending it's important so that they can use their expense accounts in Vegas. I think it's funny that there are all these pre-CES stories about all the excitement and then after a couple of days in Vegas the stories stop flowing - my hunch is because everyone who is working on covering the show is hungover and unable to write effectively.
I went to CES one year, and I can tell you that from this reporter's perspective, the drop-off in stories is due to two factors:
1. Exhaustion. CES is huge and really a bombardment of the senses. At one point at the end of my second day, my legs could almost literally no longer keep me upright, and I had to sit down against a wall to recover. I should have brought a pedometer, because I'm sure I walked miles and miles.
2. Repetition: All the big, exciting products get reported on at first, and then it's a hunt to find something interesting. And in so many cases, much of the rest of the show is either also-ran products (oh look, more TVs) or junk.
It's also important to remember that the people attending aren't consumers. Most of them are resellers getting hands-on experience with products to see what they plan to stock and sell in the coming year. It's a media event because people are interested in what's coming down the pike, but that's it.
I'm sure there's a lot of drinking and gambling and burning of expense accounts, but I didn't experience any of that. I blew some cash in a Star Wars slot machine one night. Whoop! Whoop!