Monday, January 12, 2009

CES 2009 Leaves Much To Be Desired

Goodby CES 2009. We barely knew ya!

After spending five long days & somewhat sleepless nights in sin-city, we think we trekked across more carpet than a 10 year old vacuum cleaner. After searching far & wide across three mammoth convention halls for the ultimate gadgets and latest tech gear that would strike our fancy so we could share our thoughts, we concluded it simply didn't exist at CES 2009. Although we came across allot of lame gadgets here and there, we have to admit that we walked away with sore feet and nothing substantial or even worth reporting on to show for it. We Pretty much are feeling shortchanged this year somehow.

Of course we did expect CES 2009 to be more subdued than years past given worldwide economic conditions. What we didn’t expect was for us not to find any real bombshells or game changing tech. Sure the first beta of Windows 7 was released during CES 2009, but is Redmond’s latest Windows Vista Service Pack 3 something we feel deserves coverage? Hardly! Pretty pathetic Microsoft! And to think they will eventuly make you pay for the final version once it releases later this year. Maybe.

The show was notably quieter, obviously smaller in size, and the crowds definitely down from years past. But this wasn’t something we didn’t expect. It seems that this year’s Consumer Electronic Show was all about improving existing tech. Again, nothing real major here either. Flat-Panels, both LCD & Plasma were everywhere--to a point that it bored us to tears. It seemed like the Central Convention Center hall was a flat-panel-fest-o-rama. Panasonic, Sharp, LG & Samsung all had flat panels lining their booths like excess decorations on a Christmas tree. After a while, you wonder, what’s the point? Even the Sony booth underwhelmed us despite introducing its overpriced Vaio P Netbook. Aside from that-ho-hum.

We actually caught some demos of High-Definition Three-Dimension LCD's and Plasmas from Panasonic & Samsung. The picture quality was outstanding as were the 3D effects. However with the slow adaption of HD itself amongst the public, not to mention the studios, 3D HD is more or less a pipe dream as far as we are concerned. Convincing the studios to produce content in 3D HD right now while money & budgets are cut to the bone is going to be all but impossible for now. Yes, 3D HD is the wave of the future, but it's at least 3-5 years away in this guru's opinion.

The highlight of the show for this guy was meeting Mr. Price Is Right himself-Drew Carey of What's My Line & "The Drew Carey Show" fame. We were able to talk to him briefly, take some pictures, and get his autograph. He was a really gracious about posing and answering questions. Turns out he’s a gadget guru himself. It’s pretty sad when the most exciting part of an electronics trade show is about who was there and not what was there. But that was the reality of it folks. Sitting through the press conferences proved to be even more painful with little or no substance offered by the major CE manufacturers. Again, we weren't at all surprised at the lack of any NEW true tech substance.

By now you’re getting the gist of this post-CES was all but a bust. Even the press box lunches were 4-peat. We got the same box lunch choice every day we were there. Ok, so it was complimentary, but given the amount of walking & talking we have to do, you'd think we'd at least get something more than that. You could tell that sponsorship and corporate generosity was extinct this year, something that was obvious at every turn. Even the North-Hall mobile electronics booths which are normally laden with more silicone enhancements than an ACE hardware store was all but a ghost-town compared to years past, another sign that money is tight and the models were few are far between.

All in all, we made the best of it. For a show that we had low expectations for, it didn’t disappoint too much. We were hoping to present a few key gadgets here that were unique, different, or out of the ordinary. But talking about a one-click back-up drive wasn’t our idea of fun. Instead, for all the juicy details and an item by item review and picture, jump on over to either Engadget or Gizmodo. They both pretty much covered almost more lame and crap-gadgets than you can shake a stick at from the show floor. We’re pretty positive that once you do, you’ll be glad we didn’t waste your time going through any of them here. And isn’t that why you come here in the first place?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

CES Updates Coming To My Tech Man

2008 is now a memory and 2009 is now officially in full swing. This can only mean one thing. CES is upon us. For those who aren't so tech savvy, CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show. This is the annual Las Vegas Expo that always comes after everyone has had more Egg Nog than they care to admit, and right after most New Years hangovers have become a distant enough memory to forget your pledge to never allow your lips to grace another alcohol laced drink ever again. Yes folks, It's that time of year again and boy are we ready to bring you the best CES 2009 has to offer.

This won't be a booth by booth rundown. No sir. We will leave that type of coverage to the big fellows at sites like Engadget or Gizmodo. Our reporting will encompass more of the real unique, innovative and cutting edge tech items announced or introduced at the show that have been vastly improved, or are new to the world of tech. This of course will be at my personal discretion based on what I see as tech newsworthy. I will do my best to provide writings on items that are of interest to everyone.

CES officially kicks off on Thursday January 8, 2009, and runs through Sunday January 11. Press-Preview day is Wednesday January 7th where Bloggers and members of the Press are invited by the major (as well as some minor) consumer electronics companies to attend 45 minute news conferences outlining each of their major announcements and product introductions for the show, as well as demonstrating consumer electronics items in public for the first time ever. Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, LG, and Sony usually have the most elaborate press conferences on Wednesday. These conferences usually happen on the expo floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center where CES itself is held, but some are also held off-site at hotels like the Venetian since most conference speakers have to compete with the remnants of buzzing saws and pounding hammers putting the finishing touches on the mammoth displays still being constructed the convention center floor.

The consensus is that CES 2009 will be a bit toned down, muted somewhat if you will, from years past given the current world-wide economic condition, with most corporate discretionary spending all but vanished. Shows past usually featured elaborate stage shows, major celebrity sightings, and plenty of concerts from the hottest artists on the scene today. Most of those types of EXTRAS probably will be far and few between. However make no mistake, CES is an electronics showcase that sets the pace for the year to come in consumer electronics. All eyes around the world will be on Las Vegas this coming weekend, with over 100,000 consumer electronics industry related attendees converging on the City of Sin, all to see, feel, and touch the latest gadgets coming from the giants of tech in the coming year. It is where buyers for major consumer electronics chains like Best-Buy and Circuit City come to map out their purchasing strategy for the year ahead. CES can launch a new product into the stratosphere, and it can be the last place you ever see an ill conceived tech product. One never knows.

So my fellow tech guru's, electronic aficionados and gadget hungry humans, sit back, relax and enjoy our unique coverage of CES 2009. We look forward to providing you with information on the best of the best at CES. Check back here starting late Wednesday evening for a preview of what we were previed to, and every day after that till the end of the show. We will try to post as often as possible, whenever possible. That is as long as our hands aren't so full of swag that we simply can't put it down to type.