Internet Takes Some of the Show Out of CES Show-and-Tell

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), set to temporarily swell the Las Vegas downtown populace by 25% January 8 through 11, is no longer your grandfather’s CES. Heck, it’s not even your father’s CES.

Take Microsoft. In 2001, they used CES to unveil Xbox; this week, they have no booth on the convention show floor and are not participating in any keynote addresses.* Although a staggering 20,000 new products are still expected to be unveiled, including an 85-inch ultra-high-definition TV from Samsung, the reason for the new M.O. is pretty much universally acknowledged. Per a preview piece by LA Times writers Andrea Chang and Chris O’Brien:

Groundbreaking products are rarely launched at the show anymore because of the 24-hour news cycle of the Internet, which makes it easy for companies to promote whatever they want, whenever they want.

Tech behemoths now accustomed to holding their own media events throughout the year don’t want to share the limelight with their rivals… Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Inc. don’t officially participate in the show, though they typically send executives and other employees to scope out the competition and meet quietly with developers and the media.

Nevertheless, lots going on today at Press Day and yesterday during Sneak Peak Day. One of the contraptions teased Sunday was a “smart” fork (Hapifork), which buzzes when the user is eating too fast. Aka 90% of this week’s CES attendees.

*Update – 01/07/12: Chang tweeted tonight that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance in the middle of a Qualcomm keynote address.

Recommended articles