At 50, Consumer Electronics Show is a show in transition

At 50, CES is a show in transition

Most of the attendees I spoke with walked away a little underwhelmed, struggling to put together a solid list of the things that truly wowed them at this year’s show. Even a cab driver or two, in all of their infinite Las Vegas wisdom, perceived a palatable decrease in excitement among their passengers and the city at large. Not every year can be one for the record books. That’s the kind of the thing about record books. And certainly the Consumer Electronics Show , which celebrates its 50 th anniversary this year, has had its ups and downs, along with the rest of the consumer electronics industry. But even with all of the triumphant pomp adorning its badges and signage, this year’s event felt like a show in transition. It’s still big and well attended, but many of the larger names have taken a step back in recent years. The promise of showcasing a year’s worth of high-tech innovation has taken a backseat as manufacturers look to other events like the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to offer a launch for a much more targeted audience. Others, meanwhile, have sought their own platform for announcements — throwing massive parties for themselves for single products, so as to avoid getting buried beneath the deluge of announcements that’s enough to send a poor gadget blogger into an existential spiral. Others still sprinkled the often quiet days and weeks leading up to the big show with small scale announcements – knowing full well that to do so during CES would mean being the fifth company to show of an Alexa-controlled robot vacuum that week (I’m looking at you, Samsung and LG), making for decidedly less news-packed events. But as bigger names have seemingly taken a step back, the (non-robtic) vacuum has […]