CES - Of CES, Billy G., and jumping sharks

"Maybe I'm getting old (ok, that's a given -- I am getting old) but there's something decidedly yawnish about this year's CES. "

So I managed to slip away from the chains that bind me to my InfoWorld hovel and schlep out to Las Vegas for the annual gathering of the geek tribes, otherwise known as the Consumer Electronics Show.

Maybe I'm getting old (ok, that's a given -- I am getting old) but there's something decidedly yawnish about this year's CES. Having assumed the mantle of The Big Show from Comdex at the turn of the millennium, CES is still an anarchic sprawling mess, but attendance seems a little down from last year's 140K. The cab and bus lines aren't as long. Attendees are leaving town faster. Vendors are grumbling about being gouged by the Vegas tourism Mafia. Even the hookers seem more morose.

Worse, there's little new to report. Flatter flat screens, fatter wireless connections, and now you can send YouTube videos directly to your TV, isn't that special? When the most exciting news is the absence of something -- the possible extinction of the HD-DVD format -- something is clearly amiss.

Not that there weren't highlights. Bill Gate's last-ever CES keynote was a snoozer, naturally, but it was preceded by an exceedingly clever video montage of Billy G's last day at work, with cameos by Bono, Jay Z, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and nearly every other Big Hollywood Name who isn't currently doing time. They all pitched in to make fun of the world's second richest man. Thus disproving two cliches: money can buy friends, and Microsoft can do something well, even if it's only poking fun at the boss.

The real action in consumer electronics is in the convergence of mobile devices and groovy new web services. There's a little of that here, but it's lost amidst the booming subwoofers and the barking booth bimbos.

That's why shows like CTIA and smaller confabs like Demo and All Things D are where the really interesting stuff can be found. Steve Jobs had better hope he can pull another rabbit out of his hat at MacWorld -- or at least a 3G iPhone -- or his show may soon suffer the same malaise.

Bottom line: CES has jumped the shark. (Note: The phrase 'jumped the shark' has also jumped the shark.) That doesn't mean it's going away tomorrow. But Comdex went from its highest all-time attendance to being defunct in about four years. An increasingly irrelevant CES could suffer the same fate. And then I'd have to find somewhere else to sneak off to during the second week in January.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert X. Cringely

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?