By Marc Chacksfield
There comes a point at CES when you just stop what you are doing – which is usually walking, fighting through crowds or manhandling a wearable of some description – and you have a little cry. Nothing major, but just enough of a flow to release some of the pressure of schlepping through countless carpeted halls, getting static shocks from anything you touch and trying to forge a narrative around a show packed with… well… everything.
For me, today was that day. Or yesterday. When are you reading this? I don't know where I am any more. But before fellow show-goers had to witness a grown man cry, I was able to get one last missive out of the CES pit.
Warning: the following post contains Will.i.am.
1.) More Awkward Men (And Women) Doing Awkward Things
The North Hall at CES is like one big frat party. It’s where the auto industry comes to show off its latest overpowered goods but it’s also packed with stands offering not much more than beer and giggles. That is if your idea of fun is having a glass of nectar next to some car speakers in true tailgate fashion; for us it’s the equivalent of standing outside an offie next to a Halfords.
To make one even more awkward, a table-tennis table had been installed out front. Cue five hilarious minutes of watching men in suits trying and failing to hit a small ball at each other…
Nope, still not buying your speakers.
2.) Will.i.am Does Not Own A Selfie Stick
CES always has celebrities hanging around endorsing things. It's kind of one of its things. This year was no different, and while Tenacious D (remember them?) were spotted hanging out with Marshall, the place was actually pretty packed with musicians pushing their own tech, though, rather than someone else's.
There was 50 Cent on the SMS Audio stand, Neil Young popping along to push his high-res audio player Pono, and, of course, the Patron Saint of Celebrity Tech-Pushers, Will.i.am.
He's always a favourite spot as he seems to be the go-to tech evangelist for pretty much everything nowadays – except, in a quite unfathomable show of good taste, selfie sticks. No Sir, our man prefers his selfies up close and personal, using his actual hands. Good to see that despite his millions, he has kept himself grounded.
3.) Bass In Your Face!
Audio demos in huge aircraft-hanger conference halls are usually pretty awful. After all, a packed convention centre is not the place to test speaker clarity. Performance car audio brand Orion tried to get round this by showcasing a car with 30 speakers in its boot.
When they turned the bass up, the hair on my head actually blew backwards from the force. Oh, and I think I lost a filling. Where do we sign?
4.) The Lost Souls Of CES
Everyman car firm Ford tried to get hip to the beat, yo, daddio this year with its booth's uber try-hard selfie wall plastered with punters' Instagram snaps.
In fairness, we get what they were thinking, but it ended up looking eerily like a wall of missing people that's become a trope of every zombie apocalypse movie ever. I was half-expecting flowers and candles next to the pictures…
5.) You Can Join Gary’s Book Club
CES wouldn’t be what it is without one man: Gary 'The Tech Man' Shapiro. He's the big boss guy at CEA, the outfit that puts on the show. But it turns out that CES isn’t the only thing he does – he's also a prolific author on business strategies. Alas, one of the saddest and loneliest stands at the show was one that promoted his book club…
I am sure the lack of people interested in his tomes is because everyone is tech savvy and buying the Kindle editions. Definitely that.
Oh, and here’s four more things we stumbled upon on the show floor...
- Intel showed off the future of robotics and it’s horrific – these Cloverfield-esque scuttling robot crabs were creepier than an 70s radio DJ.
- You can now watch Netflix while on the go... in this ridiculous-looking buggy.
- Toyota’s hydrogen car looks awesome – well, its innards do, but we’re sure the other bits are great too.
- Audi’s booth made us physically sick, with a decor seemingly based on Escher’s staircase. We now know what the entrance to Hell looks like…
Previously on Postcards From CES…
Day One: The UHD Alliance, Flex Appeal and TV Overkill - Read More >>
Day Two: Minority Report Mirrors, Drone Dances and A Whole Lot of Weird - Read More >>