I’ve been watching the yearly Consumer Electronics Show (CES) since I was in middle school. I remember getting incredible pumped and excited about seeing tons of new technology and prototypes that would be on the cutting edge of every field and every type of electronic device I could imagine, and many that I never could, springing to life before everyone else’s eyes and my computer screen. However, it seems as the years have progressed from the Playstation and milk with school lunches, to beer between classes and whatever the hell that thing Nintendo is supposed to be releasing next year, I have become jaded to this whole technological spattering of prototype tech. I think it is also highly possible that CES this year just sort of sucked.
So let’s examine the “me being jaded” angle first. I work at Best Buy and I see new gadgets coming out all the time. The usual plethora of goods shown off at CES don’t make their way to the big box retailers for a year or two, depending on the prototypedness of the device being shown, but what I’ve seen out of this years CES show has been nothing impressive or all too different from the current selection of goods and services out there right now. We saw a slew of new tablet manufacturers, woo-freaking-hoo, cramming the same Mobile OS’s into slightly bigger screens with mostly lackluster results. We saw Android crammed into a rear view mirror with basically no practical uses so far. To me, CES almost seemed like a giant promo shot for every device that was shown, saying “Wait until the smaller and more targeted trade shows before you can see anything cool.”
For me, this is not a problem. I’ve been way more impressed with the technology brought to bear in shows like the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, in the past few years anyway. I believe this is indicative of a major shift from a giant and singular electronics show, where devices can be lost in the sea of booths and swaths of enormous PR events from heavy industry giants like Microsoft and previously, though not this year or probably any time soon, Sony. There are major shifts away from this singular event to more targeted trade shows like MWC, E3, or Photo Marketing Association (PMA). Here these devices can differentiate themselves more from similar products on display at these shows. Along with the draw these more directed shows have for smaller manufacturer’s the larger companies are also starting to bail out too. Apple pulled out of CES several years ago and now CES big kick off company, Microsoft, is also ditching the trade show to focus on these more directed shows.
Now I am very excited about this years MWC. It hasn’t disappointed since I’ve been following. CES has had a slow slippery slide into lameness in the past three or four years. E3 has even failed to ignite my interest despite being an avid video game player, but I’m guessing this is merely do to my desensitization and anticipation from Skyrim, but this year will reveal the truth. So am I the only one that got absolutely no excitement from CES this year? Do you think CES is becoming less relevant in the face of the growing number of specialized trade shows? Let us know in the comments.