The Consumer Electronics Show reminds me of that restaurant Yogi Berra was talking about when he said “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Just about everyone I know who comes here each year complains that it’s not worth the trip, yet they keep making the trip.
I’m no exception. I’ve said many times that the week of CES is my least favorite of the year. My feet hurt, I’m constantly being jostled by crowds and a couple of times I’ve come down with terrible colds. One year I had a severe case of laryngitis, which is not good considering I am on radio and TV several times a day from CES. I got around it by using text-to-speech software to deliver my radio segments.
Also, most of the products I see here are either old, boring or stupid. Every year I ask myself “why,” and every year I wind up making the annual pilgrimage to CES in the hopes of seeing a cool gadget I might otherwise have missed or picking up on trends that will dominate the tech world for the rest of the year.
It’s also a time to see old friends from the industry and the tech press corps and to take a quick look at products that I might want to review sometime later in the year.
I wouldn’t miss it
But despite my complaints, I wouldn’t miss CES because it’s the one time of the year where just about everyone in the tech world comes together not just to look at products, but to talk about them, get a beter understanding of how they fit into our lives and try to figure out where things are headed. It’ a messy event, but it’s useful and it definitely provides a picture of how technology is evolving.
What’s interesting so far
What I’m seeing this year is a fascination with tablets. It’s not just all of the iPad wannabes that are being shown, it’s also the apps, the accessories and the creative uses of tablets which are definitely emerging as a new class of personal computers.
It’s also interesting to see how TVs and PCs are merging. At a pre-CES press event, Lenovo showed off the K91 — a 55-inch TV powered by a Qualcomm chip and Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) operating system. For all practical purposes, it’s an all-in-one computer for the living room that’s also an entertainment center. This particular model will be sold in China starting in April but there will be plenty of other Android powered TVs on display at CES this year.
So, it’s time to stop griping and lace up my walking shoes and start walking the miles of aisles. Sure, I’ll have to see a lot of “frogs” for each “prince” I encounter, but the good, the bad and the ugly are all part of the mix that makes tech such an interesting beat.