I made the decision not to attend CES this year, simply because it has become a pointless show. While we get a few trickles of information about a new processor that may show up in devices this year or see new handheld device that may or may not become vaporware, for the most part, it’s all about products that won’t make it to the market for years to come or that 99% percent of us can’t afford. How many times do we need to see televisions with screen sizes so massive, that they would never fit on our walls, not to mention that they sell for over $10,000-$20,000, if not higher? This is coming from someone who owns a 61-inch Samsung 1080p HDTV, so don’t get me wrong, I love new TV’s and gadgets as much as the next geek, but the problem is that a show like CES has become the dumping ground for innovations that only the super rich can afford.
Companies love to send out emails about their latest and greatest technology and practically beg us [the press] to come see their efforts, problem is, we don’t see anything they promote for 5 years, so why get excited? Look at flexible displays, how long have we, as consumers, been teased with the notion that our phones would soon have a display that can bend, flex, twist and stretch? Have we seen one in a physical, mass-produced device… no. So you’ll have to pardon me if I sound a bit jaded, but I’ve really lost interest in such shows. Apple, who’s is the arguably the most dominate consumer electronics maker on the planet doesn’t even attend CES. Instead, they issue a press release the day of and basically steal the event’s thunder. All over the news outlets this morning, there were reports on how Apple’s app store has celebrated its 40 billionth download and that they have over 775,000 apps on their store with 500,000 active users. Apple doesn’t need to show off their products at some crazy carnival, fighting for everyone’s attention. Even Samsung has followed suit, using their own venues or events that are more specific to their products, like Mobile World Congress, to make big announcements and have scaled back their presence at CES. HTC has done the same, it looks like more and more companies are using smaller, more personal settings to make a bigger splash, as those events are all about one company, one or two products and it gives them control to make a big deal of the situation.
CES has become a circus, sure it’s exciting, partially because it’s in Vegas and because there is some very cool technology, but as I said, it’s not worth getting too excited about because half of the stuff—if not more—are things we as a majority can’t afford (ex. Sony’s $25,000 4K TV) or won’t see produced for several years if at all (ex. Project Fiona or the Wiki Pad from CES 2012). As a blogger that covers mobile devices, it doesn’t benefit me to spend the money on a flight, a hotel, food and other expenses, when we’re not going to see any major product announcements like a new, unknown phone, tablet or computer. Rather it’s full of cars with technology 8-10 years away, household items that promise to bring me into the future, assuming I have the $25,000 to rewire and retrofit my entire house, not to mention purchase the equipment necessary.
Personally, I prefer to attend product launch events held by certain manufacturers and maybe the occasional Mobile World Congress. I’ll continue to let the big dogs spends thousands upon thousands of dollars sending teams of 20-30 who’ll be covering topics that only a portion of their reader base actually cares about.
Sorry CES, you’ve lost me. Maybe when you invite Cirque du Soleil to attend and it’s a full on circus, I’ll give it another shot. Then again, Cirque is already in Vegas…