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Has CES Lost Its Star Appeal? 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-bright dept.
An opinion piece by tech writer David Gilbert looks at how CES might be losing some of its luster. "It's hard to know who the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) really benefits. A common perception is that CES is the place where all the major technology companies launch their latest and greatest gadgets. But this is simply not the case. Let's look at 2012 as an example. Last year's most talked about consumer technology products (in no particular order) were: the iPhone 5, iPad 3, iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Wii U. How many were launched at CES 2012? None."
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Has CES Lost Its Star Appeal?

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  • Um, good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:10PM (#42499743)

    The journo in the article is saying that CES is failing because companies no longer use it to launch their latest iteration of gadget. Instead, it's being used to showcase their pie-in-the-sky aspirations. It's becoming less a PR mouthpiece, and more a tech demo for cool, but not production-ready, tech.

    In my opinion, that can only be a good thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Notably absent is M$. But hey, why connect with consumers and compete in an open market when you can just legislate?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dave Emami (237460)

        Yes, Microsoft is absent this year, but Apple hasn't been there for ages, so any complaints about Microsoft apply to Apple many times over.

        • by gtirloni (1531285)
          Sheeeesh. You're sounding too rational for /.

          Don't move, leave slowly. Nobody will get hurt.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure that's so wise for a consumer show? If it was a tech enthusiast show maybe. I wouldn't bring my unfinished goods to market... don't keep consumers waiting or else!

      • by LordLucless (582312) on Monday January 07, 2013 @04:06AM (#42502293)

        Thing is, it wasn't a consumer show. It was a journalist show. There's no such thing as a consumer show anyway - if consumers were excited enough about the goods in question, they'd be tech enthusiasts by definition.

        • by dwightk (415372)

          consumer modifies electronics... they are consumer electronics... it isn't a *consumer* electronics show, it is a *consumer electronics* show

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            consumer modifies electronics... they are consumer electronics... it isn't a *consumer* electronics show, it is a *consumer electronics* show

            Exactly. It's stuff that's going to show up to buy later tihs year, hopefully. Or at least supposed to - CES does have a habit of showing off really cool stuff that ends up not getting released in the end.

            Though, I think "consumer electronics" has gotten very broad, given there's a whole bunch of non-consumer electronics out there as well. Stuff like RED cameras (a yea

    • Re:Um, good? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Monday January 07, 2013 @04:08AM (#42502305)

      CES has been drowning for awhile, now. It's too soon after the new year for people to have any energy and really prepare. It's filled with crap that is too far in the future to be relevant, but too close to today to be interesting (for example, 4k televisions -- which are too expensive and far away from being even remotely affordable but too near in our future to be pie-in-the-sky-fantasy-interesting). It's filled with wireless speakers, soundbars, ipad covers, iphone attachments, shitty phones, next year's shitty ultrabooks and tablets that will be considered a failure the year after *that*, and lots of shitty little gimmicks. It's basically like being subscribed to the Engadget website's RSS feed, but in meats-space. Ick.

      I feel bad for people who have to attend CES to report on it, these days. Especially those doing it for TV and net shows, where they have to produce a lot of content in quick succession. Dealing with the crowds and Vegas itself and the endless halls of schlocky garbage for what amounts to very little that really gets your tech-buzz or day-dreaming purring seems like an absolutely miserable task.

      • Large generic trade shows/conferences are fading away. Comdex is gone then Network World died and now CES is slowly fading away. There is just not enough ROI for many exhibitors and attendees. These days the more focused conferences are surviving. Conferences have gotten to expensive. Your average conference is pushing $2000 and that is a lot when you factor hotel and travel. MS set a new record of $3000 for it's World wide developers conference a few years back.
  • by Cryacin (657549) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:11PM (#42499747)
    From TFA:

    But travelling halfway around the world to see someone from Jersey Shore launch a pair of headphones, just doesn't seem to be cut it anymore.

    Yeah, that's reason enough for me to run for the hills.

  • by Rurik (113882) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:12PM (#42499761)

    An article that automatically plays two videos, one with full audio, upon being loaded? Such actions should preclude such articles from being posted.

    Won't somebody please think of the bandwidth?!

  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:13PM (#42499769) Homepage Journal
    It's no longer something surprising, or requiring "buzz" from a tradeshow. No one attends tradeshows for farm equipment except other farmers and a few mech engs here and there. We just open the fridge and expect a complex world-wide net of dependencies to put an apple in the bin.

    Same with technology. It's a faceless world-wide empire of giant companies, no one cares except the people directly involved in creating the things. We just shop online, say "ohh shiny" and buy whatever.

    Stuff is also a lot cheaper so there's less risk in buying things on sight alone. Back when an empty motherboard cost thousands of dollars, it made sense to spend time and money to check things out in person. Not anymore.

    The only thing that can change that equation is booth babes.

    Where is Ceren Ercen these days anyhow?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...to launch a product is suicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They have there own conferences and that is where they announce there latest and greatest product. Given that these companies are the ones with the advertising dollars it is no wonder CES isn't where the most talked about product launches are announced/demonstrated. That doesn't mean CES doesn't have cool stuff. It just means it is smaller companies and/or not leading products from the largest companies that end up at CES.

    • I would say what's killing CES is what happened last year. A kajillion companies launched/demo'ed/promoted tablets. Some that actually worked, some that were just assembled parts, some what were just plastic models. A tiny fraction of them actually shipped.

      I wonder what this years "product" will be.

  • Changing market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:23PM (#42499843) Homepage Journal
    A lot of the new technology is more mobile related, that is usually presented at Barcelona instead.

    Also, lot if not all of those announcements were done by big companies doing their own, exclusive events, focused mostly single products, very awaited and with long enough preannoucements campaigns, usually not meant for shared space/attention with other companies.

  • Not surprised... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:28PM (#42499867) Homepage

    Fairly well known musicians play at music festivals, where they can be one of many drawing people to go there. Superstars hold a concert and fill a stadium all by themselves. Why launch at CES if you're big enough to get all the attention you want on your own without sharing the spotlight?

    • "Why launch at CES if you're big enough to get all the attention you want on your own without sharing the spotlight?"

      Not saying this is the case at CES, but I see some good reasons for a superstar to share the spotlight with other stars. Winning in the Olympics, where there are more star athletes, gives you more prestige than winning at a sports event where your competitors aren't quite world class. So I say it depends. If you have a mediocre product, launching at the same tech show as Apple would be the ki

      • But if you're huge like Apple and you launched your product at a show where there is potentially another product better yours, its damaging to your brand.

        If you're huge you stand out on your own surrounded by your own marketing. Everyone in attendance can go "wow" instead of "wow, that does almost everything that product over there does"

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:31PM (#42499881)

    Microsoft is famously last to leave the party. Remember Comdex? After years of scatch-your-eyes-out boring keynotes by Bill Gates, it finally bit the biscuit. Microsoft kept going right to the bitter end. Replay at CES: Microsoft to announce the walking wounded XBox 720 without the remotest chance of keeping up with even mid specced PCs, and with idie revival the new game in town. Clue train on the way, last stop is Microsoft.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Am I totally misunderstanding you? Microsoft is not exhibiting at CES this year. FTA: "Microsoft, one of the mainstays of CES for many years is not in Las Vegas this week, deciding last year that it would take a year out from giving the keynote address by its head man - formerly Bill Gates, lately the Marmite-like Steve Ballmer.

      Microsoft also went down the route of holding it's own one-off launch event for the Surface tablet, showing once again that CES is not the place to show off your next big thing."

    • Microsoft is famously last to leave the party. Remember Comdex? After years of scatch-your-eyes-out boring keynotes by Bill Gates, it finally bit the biscuit. Microsoft kept going right to the bitter end. Replay at CES: Microsoft to announce the walking wounded XBox 720 without the remotest chance of keeping up with even mid specced PCs, and with idie revival the new game in town. Clue train on the way, last stop is Microsoft.

      The Xbox 720 isn't supposed to be announced until later this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Rumors are that the Oban chips just went into production. There are rumors that the PS4 will be announced at the end of February, but more like is an E3 announcement as well.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:33PM (#42499891) Homepage Journal

    CES's glory days were the 1980s, during the first personal computer boom. Then, everyone I think introduced stuff at CES... I remember reading old Compute! and Byte for goings on at the CES - there were reviews of the new Ataris, Apples, Commodores... and then I think even console systems were introduced there as well. So, CES meant, PC in its exciting newness, and already the luster faded a bit as computers became more commonplace. I imagine CES is still pretty cool, and if I were a retailer, I would think I'd want to check it out for the not marquee labels that introduce things that might still sell. But its not the center of the computing universe that, for one brief time, it was.

    • by bmo (77928)

      > the luster faded a bit as computers became more commonplace

      Not just commonplace, but the diversity and creativity has disappeared from the market.

      The luster faded as the field narrowed from literally hundreds of different platforms, to just two for the consumer level, and then eventually, one, for the desktop (OSX machines are just IBM PC clones with a different OS). There's only a little bit of excitement for portable platforms, but again, there hasn't been anything Earth-shattering for the journos t

      • There are arguably MORE different computing platforms than ever. They just don't look or act like the 'general purpose' computers that you, and I suspect much of the rest of the Slashdot demographic, is waxing nostalgic about.

        Everything north of pencil has a CPU in it. There are more opportunities to interact with electronics from a consumer standpoint than ever. They just don't have floppies and RS-232 ports.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:39PM (#42499927)

    2013 is the first year Microsoft has missed CES since 1995. In fact, either Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer usually delivers the CES keynote. This year, no booth, no Surface, no Windows 8, no Windows Phone, no Xbox, nada.

    2013 also marks the shift in scheduling: AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo, the industry convention for porn stars) is now being held the week *after* CES, instead of *the same week* on the Vegas strip (which used to give both presenters and attendees extra incentive to book a trip to CES).

    Coincidence? Ah yeah, I guess..

    • by soundguy (415780)

      AEE changed the schedule in 2012. Also, instead of holding it at the gigantic Sands Expo like they did for years, they physically moved the show to several very small and wholly inadequate separate conference rooms at The Hard Rock Hotel. Apparently they didn't learn their lesson, because they are holding it there again this year.

      Since there were buses to the LVCC from the Sands all day long, you could travel between the shows easily. I think AEE moved because their main crowd got tired of paying the "jac

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:47PM (#42499967)

    The idea of a tradeshow somehow being important is just stupid. Its companies showcasing their products, they dont need a show to do that. They could just do it themselves without wasting millions of dollars. Samsung want to show off some kick ass new tv with video, descriptions and pictures? They could do that on their website anytime they want to.

    Tradeshows are basically just scams run by the people who operate them. Companies spend a lot of money and time and energy to be at them for no real reason. If companies actually collectively said "We spent like 8 million bucks going to e3 and ces. How about we dont do that this year, save 8 million bucks and just advertise on our websites" then ces would be no more and millions would be saved.

    I know tradeshows are just ways of getting advertising time and all but I just dont give a shit.

    1- I still cant own or purchase items at a tradeshow so I dont care.

    2- I can read about products in articles on companies websites or read related news on websites I frequent.

    3- You dont actually learn anything from tradeshows and can not get an honest opinion because youre seeing a carefully crafted and setup demo unit. You dont get to see the real world end product or hear opinions on it from people who have used the product for any length of time in the real world. I dont buy tech stuff anymore until its been out atleast a month.

    4- Tradeshows made a lot of sense back in the day. But when I can read previews before a product even comes out at a hundred websites, see a thousand video reviews once it comes out and basically get every single bit of information I could possibly want and a whole lot more on the internet anytime I want it, why do I need a tradeshow? The internet and google are my personal tradeshow thats there for me 24 hours a day. You can get information anywhere and anytime you want now. Back in the day all you had were magazines and occasional newsletters so a tradeshow was important because it allowed people to connect, but now I can connect with anyone in the world while sitting on a toilet in a airplane flying over the ocean.

    I get so much god damn advertising, sales pitches and annoying slogans thrown at me in my life everyday the last thing I want is to subject myself to more of it in a giant room of high concentration sales people. I went to e3 awhile back 3 years in a row and god damn, the was enough to last me my whole life.

    • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:42PM (#42500271)

      But when I can read previews before a product even comes out at a hundred websites, see a thousand video reviews once it comes out and basically get every single bit of information I could possibly want and a whole lot more on the internet anytime I want it, why do I need a tradeshow?

      Do you work in sales, marketing or business development? I go to numerous shows per year, and they're all about the meetings that go on in the background. Discussions around sales channels, marketing, training - Pricing. Trade shows are an opportunity where eveyone is already all together, so they're a highly efficient way to get business done. You can go on one plane flight instead of 20.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Tradeshows are basically just scams run by the people who operate them. Companies spend a lot of money and time and energy to be at them for no real reason... I just dont give a shit.

      ...

      I get so much god damn advertising, sales pitches and annoying slogans thrown at me in my life everyday the last thing I want is to subject myself to more of it in a giant room of high concentration sales people. I went to e3 awhile back 3 years in a row and god damn, the was enough to last me my whole life.

      All good and dandy, dude, but... are you somehow saying the free t-shirts you've got in 3 years at e3 are enough to last you an entire life?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Similar to what happen to COMDEX.. Was a great show then they just got so big and expensive that people just didnt show up any more. Why wait a year to announce something, With the web and socail netwroks anyday and be a big announcement day.

  • > "How many were launched at CES 2012? None."

    Even Belladonna introduced her latest VigorTech(r) WiFi remote-controlled dildory elsewhere. Even the basement at CES is empty now.

  • I was in my local computer store a few weeks ago, the store is now cut in half, a minimum of products and just one employee working. Back from the mid 90's to mid 2000's that store was always hopping, 4 or 5 people working at any time, always full of customers, ads and weekly flyers. Most of the other local computer stores closed up in the 2005-2008 range. Electronics have lost their appeal, they are becoming like appliances. People don't rush out and line up to buy the new 2013 kenmore microwave or get exc
    • Perhaps someone thought the populace was becoming too intelligent via the interweb, and put into play a plan to stop that.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Perhaps someone thought the populace was becoming too intelligent via the interweb, and put into play a plan to stop that.

        I don't think facebook has anything to do with this.

        The problem facing "computer stores" is the upgrade treadmill is dead. Hmm my video card from 2 years ago pretty much does everything I'd want it to do. I'm still not out of memory on my main desktop. The audio market has gone spec crazy with higher and higher sample rates and theoretical bits and extra channels, although no one wants to talk about actual SNR.

    • ...People don't rush out and line up to buy the new 2013 kenmore microwave or get excited the new maytag washer has 1 more washing mode than before.

      Hey! I have a neckbeard and a black pseudo-turtleneck (aka "dickey"), and I just heard that there's a shiny new button on an i-Device.

      I'm on my way to camp out at the Apple Store, you insensitive clod.

      cheers,

  • A show about Consumer Electronics that is not attended by Apple is a fail right from the word go.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      considering apple only make a few items, even if they are incredibly popular, that is hardly a fail without them. Apple make up a tiny percent of the total consumer electronics market.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      Only if you're an Apple worshiper. The rest of the world is interested in what others will be producing.

    • Apple does attend CES -- last year they had 250 or so people attending [huffingtonpost.com]. No, they don't have a booth, but they felt the need to spend a couple of million dollars to have people go to stay in touch with the consumer zeitgeist.

      And that's the whole reason for trade shows. I would never go to a trade show to find information on a particular product -- if I know what I'm interested in, there are a number of better ways to find out about it online. What is unique and vital about trade shows is the serendipity

  • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:20PM (#42500157) Journal

    Ever since they kicked out the consumer.

    • by Jetra (2622687)
      It's not that, it's just that technology isn't what people expected. We were all hyped about 3D. It comes and it's a flop. Blu Ray came and that didn't really get much attention. Hell, we still use DVDs in my house.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:21PM (#42500165)

    We don't really need trade shows to show us new products and technology anymore.

  • by CFrankBernard (605994) <cfrankb@gmai l . c om> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:03PM (#42500355)
    The prototype ASUS Eee Pad MeMO ME370T was revealed at CES 2012 and its release delayed when Google chose it as the Nexus 7.
  • In stark contrast to the original commentator's thoughts on CES' irrelevancy, BBC News this weekend published a fairly insightful article looking forward to how CES has been (and will continue to be) adapting to follow the zeitgeist. It also mentioned how a Chinese company snapped up most of the premium floorspace previously occupied by Microsoft...

    I think we'll see many more mobile device iterations and perhaps some new product (soft?)launches at CES this year. Sure, MWC is the destination event for mob
  • Times have changed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday January 07, 2013 @12:41AM (#42500947)

    Just like ComDex, CES is becoming irrelevant due to the internet. The whole point of trade shows was always to get the reporters and salesman in front of new products and (hopefully) generate some positive press leading to consumer demand. Once the internet started to go big, and magazine reviews weren't quite as necessary for product exposure, the tradeshows tried to almost evolve into entertainment expos.

    The final nail in the coffin has been when individual studios or manufacturers get enough industry cloud to host their own tradeshow, which just fractures the already weakened idea.

    CES reminds me a lot of Kodak and Polaroid and other older businesses that have chosen to brute force their way into the future, rather than change their models to fit it. It never works out.

  • Trade shows have been in decline due to the internet (and, to some extent, cheap overnight delivery) since the late '90s. It's surprising to me that CES has remained so popular 10 years after the demise of Comdex. Who needs a trade show when you can get all complete information online and sample products overnight?
  • Check out nikonrumours.com, nikon is slated to release the D5200 around that time.

  • Let's think:

    1. Down economy -- people are rethinking how much they "need" these new things

    2. Lack of creativity -- companies seek to control whole classes of products through patent legislation which, hopefully enables them to slow the release of new things so that they can sell new versions of the same old sheit with a couple of new things or changes.

  • CES may lose some of it's star appeal, but as long as it's still upstairs from the porn convention it's sure not going to lose any of its popularity.

    We used to sneak downstairs during breaks. It may have changed, but in the early days a vendor badge got you in either place.

  • In my opinion, CES is a show where vendors can showcase their offerings to the media, industry, etc. It's not about showcasing popular gadgets. If so, based on the Apple love lately, it would simply be held in an Apple showroom. My thought is that It benefits smaller companies the most, since moves by larger companies are already followed by the media.

     

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