By Marc Chacksfield
There are two million-odd square feet to cover at CES, so tackling the show is always something of a mission, no matter the size of the squadron you have out there. Every inch of that space is covered by either technology, people, or people wearing technology. It’s busy, it’s vast and it’s in Vegas, which only adds to the surreal nature of the whole damn thing.
Yet among all this madness is the perfect scene-setter for the tech year ahead: a pitch-perfect tone for where tech is going, if you really look. But you already know this, having read our exhaustive coverage. So here’s a little peak behind the curtain of CES, where among the shiny gadgets we also found a touch of awkwardness, a sprinkling of "bigger is better" and a whole host of show-floor brouhaha.
1.) Awkward Men Doing Awkward Things
Both Panasonic and Toshiba have some interesting "future concept" stuff on show. Toshiba’s prototype mirror focuses on the clothes you wear, creating an augmented reality reflective screen that adds new clothes to your body digitally so you can see what they look like on without bothering yourself with changing. Very clever, but if this truly is the future, we're all going to look bloody ridiculous.
Meanwhile, Panasonic is again showing off that mirror that improves your appearance with some digital make-up – which is great when demoed by a female, but the people I saw try it were ageing male journalists, who wanted to see if a spot of rouge and lippy suited them. It didn't (though Gerald, worryingly, pulled it off back at IFA).
2.) Bigger Is Better
The not-so-big companies at CES try pretty much anything to get you to check out their booths – well, except for actually making truly ground-breaking tech that you actually want to report on, that is. On our travels we saw far too many booth babes – yes, this is the 21st century and they still exist – some interesting rude punnage (we are looking at you Creative, above) and massive versions of products…
Panasonic nearly won our prestigious "best massive replica of an actual product" award, with its giant headphones, but then we stopped by Turtle Beach (above) and it trumped it with an even bigger replica of one of its headphones. Sorry, Panny.
3.) Will You Please Stop Droning On
By far the biggest bandwagon being leapt on from a great height at CES is the one marked "drone". Parrot was there, of course, in full force with its range, but there was also a whole host of other firms looking to bring us one step closer to Judgement Day.
Parrot held its nerve, though, and, to prove it was still the drone daddy, treated the baying crowds to a synchronised drone dance. I wish I could say it was awful but it was actually pretty impressive and showed off the dexterity of its mini range. Damn you, Parrot, and your clever crowd-gathering tactics!
4.) Two Becomes One
Sometimes a gadget idea comes along and you just think: nailed it. Both LG and Samsung have done exactly that this year with two brainwaves from the home appliance arena. LG has created a washing machine with two drums, so you can do a white and coloureds wash at the same time – amazing. Then Samsung went and re-invented the oven with another double doozy, where you can cook two things at once at different heats.
Whoever came up with these products has obviously watched far too much Inception or has a freaky penchant for Russian dolls.
Oh, and here’s five other things we noticed on our second day, the first on the show floor…
- People sure love to queue at CES. A lot.
- That is unless a stand has anything to do with exercise and there’s surprisingly not many people there… and there was us thinking all journos were fit nowadays.
- They do love to sleep, though.
- Inflatable hands don’t inflate themselves, people. It’s all down to this guy who had a brilliant "kill me now" look on his face when we walked past.
Previously on Postcards From CES…
Day One: The UHD Alliance, Flex Appeal and TV Overkill - Read More >>