CES: What Innovates in Vegas Doesn’t Stay in Vegas Part 1/2

This year’s () at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and surrounding hotels didn’t seem quite as bodaciously glitzy or ear-splittingly bombastic to me as past events. It wasn’t that there weren’t the requisite number of ludicrous ‘mine is bigger (brighter, glossier, louder, faster, pricier, etc.) than yours’ claims than we’d seen many times before. They were, in fact, abundant.

There was also no shortage of goofy predictions about the next latest/greatest product/trend to hit consumer living rooms during the next 6-12 months—a circumstance that might be summed up by declaiming, ‘3D TV is dead! Long live 4k TV!’ Nor were there any shortage of lines to stand in—particularly at McCarran Airport, taxi stands, monorail stations, restaurants, rest rooms and the mainstream press events orchestrated by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), owner/organizer of CES.

That’s all part and parcel of joining the herd of 150,000-plus other conference cattle. But in leaving Las Vegas on Thursday morning, I had a strong sense of having participated in a multiplicity of often contradictory, even oppositional events. The resulting feeling was not of having attended a conference that exemplified, summarized or unified consumer electronics, but that the global market for consumer electronics has simply gotten too big, too complex and too diverse for any single event, including CES, to adequately encompass or represent.

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Review.

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