We're at CES and there will be gadget blogging

RTXW6W6.JPG The first moments of CES blend Vegas' superficial glamor with the anxiety of knowing busy days lie ahead -- an anxiety heightened by cellular networks choked half-dead by the concentration of reporters, bloggers and techfolk. Three things happen in Vegas during CES week and, by the end of it, you're only too happy to leave them there. First, there is queueing. Queueing for the official lanyard that allows access to the events. Queueing for the keynote speeches. Queueing for taxis and buses, to shuttle you from hotel to show floor to private PR shmoozing in furry-walled temporary offices and suites. Queueing for the vile ichor served as coffee in the convention center's vast and crowded lobby. Then, there is walking. You could say the city's majesty (casinos notwithstanding!) is revealed not in the fiberglass statues and epic shows but the maze of hallways and corridors linking everything to everything. The beige carpet beneath one's feet is matched in its sinister inoffensiveness by the relentless light jazz playing overhead, spiteful in its ubiquity. One year, I wandered somewhere the light jazz did not play: instantly, I knew I was lost, somewhere I should not be. Finally, there are the toys! This year promises a few things of interest and we'll be checking them out in the coming days, between the queueing and walking. This is the part you're interested in, and the part we shall endeavor to serve with blurry incandescent-orange cellphone photos and half-baked opinions on 7000 nearly-identical Android tablets. Last year, CES attracted about 110,000 people, and that was deemed an off year. It's not really clear if things will be 'better' this time around, though the industry expects so and there's always something interesting to report when this many people gather in one place, for one purpose. Failing all else, there will be show-offs in silly costumes, slick marketing folk fluffing their lines, and the warm glowing hope that epic drama will occur as boredom, fatigue and frustration takes over the pack. If you've gotten this far, you'll enjoy two more pre-CES thoughts from two you know well: Gizmodo's Joel Johnson explains Why you should and shouldn't care about CES and Gearfuse's John Brownlee explains Why CES is Hell. It's not all that bad, really. And if there's anything in particular you want covered here, fire away in the comments.


  1. I’m finding it hard to get enthusiastic about gadgets anymore, since they always seem to be weighted down with DRM and treacherous computing features. From iPhones sneakily sending out private data to Kindles with Fahrenheit 451 baked in, not to mention locked-down game consoles, it has really become a minefield.

  2. the vile ichor served as coffee

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it regrettable that ichor has to be pronounced “EYE-core” rather than the much more onomatopoeic “ICK-er.”

    1. Just pronounce it however you want. The chances of anyone knowing how to pronounce it are minuscule.

  3. Play enough cheap first-person shooters and you can navigate Vegas without ever getting lost.

    1. I have found that Fallout: New Vegas isn’t nearly as helpful for real-world navigation as Fallout 3 was. I begin to suspect that the Lucky 38 isn’t actually a real casino.

  4. The fundamental problem with covering CES is that it is a show for electronics dealers and retailers, and for special customers and such. It is neither for the public nor precisely for the press, even though thousands of reporters cover it. The focus that Brownlee cites on specs instead of big picture (why it matters) is because the booth folks are selling to people who sell their stuff, not to actual consumers. This misperception has fed confusion about CES for years.

    I always offer my condolences to colleagues who have to cover CES, because it’s uncoverable, and in some ways, not entirely useful. It’s a pulse of the industry, but it’s not the brains of the industry.

  5. “Vegas’ superficial glamor”…

    If even Vegas’ glamor is superficial, then where do I have to go to find the real, and deep, glamor???

    1. Why, the Atomic Testing Museum, of course. They closed the Liberace Museum, so what else is left?

  6. It’s my first year going CES. Hopefully Rob et al will be boing boinging ahead of my walking so they can help me find the not-to-be-missed items. Wish I could get into the private Nintendo booth to play some 3DS.

    Also, to UncaScrooge’s point: just follow the lights, right?

  7. That setup photo brings back bad memories.

    I did my last CES in January 95.

    I was an exhibitor, for a cut-rate multimedia CD-ROM company. We sold crapware for bundling. Hour after hour standing around the Sands or LVCC, demoing stuff for buyers who just wanted to hear about margin.

    Sometimes we’d have to deal with “journalists” who edited a User Group newsletter; they’d badger us mercilessly for review copies. I remember one of these sneering at me because our CD-ROM encyclopedia didn’t have an entry for “sufferage.” (He didn’t know it was spelled “suffrage” but I didn’t realize that in time to sneer at him back.)

    On our breaks, us booth slaves would run around trying to score freebies and give-aways. I’d come home with bags full of stuff. I still have some! Choice souvenirs of the SEGA booth.

    After hours, I used to enjoy walking the Strip, from the Sahara clear up to the Hacienda. Most of the places I remember have been blowed up and built over.

  8. Supposedly Polaroid is going to be introducing a new instant camera. Would you kindly brave the queues to capture some stills?

  9. Rob, I’d love to know your opinion on the Bit Cauldron 3D glasses. They are meant to be universal rather than proprietary. Most of the information I can find are press releases which are pure bias. An independant view would be great.

    From a press release :”Monster Vision MAX 3D glasses will be showcased at CES in Monster’s exhibit in Central Hall 13006. Products incorporating Bit Cauldron technology will also be on display at the ZigBee Alliance exhibit in South Hall Lower Level 21418A.”

  10. Rob, FWIW, I am interested in the “Entertainment Matters” section. Specifically, any viable approaches to local/superlocal television broadcasting.

    Covering local matters as citizen journalists (e.g., local government meetings, school sports, etc.) could be fun, inexpensive to set up, and profitable (that’s what I do). But any new developments would be exciting to hear.

  11. Looks like Samsung is going to be introducing some giant condoms, if that box on the lower right is anything to go by.

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