Ah, CES, I hardly knew ye . . .

I survived another year of CES. I know everybody who attends writes about what they saw; trends; etc., and here’s another one!

I’m going to let you in on a CES tip: never go first day. I always go the last 2 days of the show, because (a) there are always less people on the floor and, (b) you would be amazed at how many vendors are willing to sell off floor samples. Friday of the show you would have thought I was Rick from Pawn Stars. Having said that, here are my thoughts about CES 2013:

The show floor

I heard the show was well attended and that it broke records for space. I believe the space part. Jeez. I walked the entire convention center, plus LVH, plus Venetian, and I paid the price. I wore my good shoes and everything, but it didn’t matter – my body just isn’t designed for trade shows anymore.

What every other booth had on display

I, literally, can not think of an accessory that you could want for an iPhone or a Galaxy that you could not find on the floor. It seemed as if every other booth had something for these phones. Cases, purses, clip on fish-eye camera lenses, bottle openers (really), battery packs, game controllers, speakers, I mean everything!

Don’t believe the hype

I made sure to make my way to see the 4k TVs on display. Meh. It’s still a TV and nobody has any content at 4K, so it’s really not that impressive. It’s cool, but I saw some seriously bright and nice home theater setups that would provide me an equal amount of happiness at 1/20th the price.

Do believe the hype

3D printers are going to change the world and there is no way around it. I saw several manufacturers, and Cube, especially, was showing off a range of consumer “desktop” printers that provide tremendous functionality for a very cheap price ($1299). If you’re not up to speed on 3D printers, you need to be. These things have all kinds of uses and scientists are theorizing that they can one day build organs to people in trauma and food for people in need. If I get started, I’ll end up writing a 10,000 word blog article that no one will ever read (so I’ll do it later).

Who would want this?

I really try to keep an open mind about products I see at CES. I recognize that the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some (bonus points if you got the Different Strokes reference). However, every now and then you see things that make you go hmmm . . . (C+C Music Factory). This year it was Justin Bieber.

Why don’t I already have this?

Stern Pinball was showing off a new “home” style pinball machine. It’s a full pinball machine, but uses LCD screen for the scoreboard and LED lights in the game itself. It’s not as sturdy as an arcade, but it’s not supposed to be. They had a bunch out on the floor and let people play to their heart’s content. Just awesome. I love pinball machines and these have all the bells and whistles. They are introducing a machine based on The Avengers this summer. Me want. Me want now.

How have I missed this?

I really think it’s because I only listen to music in the car or on an airplane. I already have a connection in my car and I use headphones on an airplane, so I have missed just how good little portable audio speakers sound now. I mean, these things are really, really good. I saw some very small speakers that were pumping out some really good sound.

How is this still alive?

I saw a very lonely sales rep sitting in a booth promoting accessories for the Blackberry. I forgot they still made them.

I found a hidden gem.

I did find a hidden gem tucked in a booth in a boring part of the floor. It’s a company called NivPat and they’ve got a cool logo recognition software that works really well. I think they are going places and I think there are some cool applications that we can do with them in the future.

I can’t find anything.

I was meticulous about filling out the MyCES app, but I couldn’t get it to pull up the exhibitors that I had tagged and many of the booths had covered up their booth ID signage, so I couldn’t figure out where I was on the floor. I’m going to blame this one on me, more than the app itself, but still – quite annoying. I punished myself with alcohol for being dumb later that evening.

So a funny thing happened in Vegas . . . 

I booked the Hard Rock Hotel through Hotels.com. I upgraded to a mid-suite (or something) with a Strip view. Go check out my Twitter to see the view.

Love and hate LAS

My friend Ray got there a day before me and told me that the new terminal at the airport was done. I flew American Airlines and instead of heading to Terminal 1 (the old way), I cut through to Terminal 3. Walked right outside and into a cab – no lines, no waiting, sweet.

When I leave Las Vegas, I head to the airport 2 hours early. Walk up to the (not bragging – just pointing out) First Class security line. 1 hour and 30 minutes to clear security. The wait for other lines was probably over 2 hours. 3 lanes open at 10 in the morning. Every person traveling must have had 1000 pieces of carry on luggage. So many foreigners in town for CES that none of them understood the directions – shoes on, hats on, jewelry on. DAMN IT!

And so . . .

Another CES done. Glad I went. I am confident that the effort will end up positive ROI for us. Not for me personally, I got killed. See you next year, CES. See you next year.

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