Daily Archives: 01/09/2012

Why CES is Becoming Irrelevant

In a year where attendance is expected to once again set a record, you really have to wonder why people are turning out to the Consumer Electronics Show.

Oh sure, 45 years of history is a hard thing to just shake off, and CES has been the first to show off some amazing gadgets for decades now. They even spawned other events like E3, and allowed attendees a sneak peek at the world of tomorrow.

But if the world’s largest tech company isn’t there (though apparently they won’t be missed), and it’s the last year for one of the companies most synonymous with consumer electronics, what will draw people in next year? There still will be tons of booths and gadgets to show off, as there are this year. But even still, have you looked at this year’s offerings? Windows versions of a preexisting Apple product? More tablets? Internet-connected appliances? Thinner TVs? It seems less like the world of tomorrow and more like shinier versions of gadgets we already have.

It’s a good thing most of these companies are showing off, as opposed to releasing, these products in January. As this CNET article points out, it’s not exactly a hot time for consumer spending since we just got through the Christmas season. But even still, are people even looking for new things to buy right now especially in a tough economy? Why not dazzle them with your new lineup in the summer, like…well, E3?

Besides, if you announce your shiny new device during CES then you have to share the spotlight. Sure, you’ve got untold thousands of journalists and spectators present to try it out for themselves. But you could simply pull a Nikon and announce your new camera ahead of time and pick up a lot of traction via social media and news websites instead of having your story get lost among the other CES coverage.

I’m not arguing CES is without purpose, but I think in the age we live in it’s a tradition that had its time and as Microsoft goes, perhaps so should the rest of the companies making the trek down to Las Vegas.


EDIT: It should be noted I’m not saying there are no reasons to attend this year’s Consumer Electronics Show but I think it’s a bit light on ‘show stopping’ new gadgets and, with Microsoft gone next year, they’re going to have to try even harder to make the trip down worthwhile in 2013.


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