CES 2013 – Impressions from a weary survivor

ces2013

The Nerd Reactor crew has survived yet another week-long ordeal at CES (Consumer Electronics Show.) Talk about being victim to the things you love, because at this concluding day of CES, I can say that the lasting impression that I have is in the form of fatigue, feet aches, brain aches, and sleep deprivation. Now as I rest my head on this keyboard, I’d like to recount for you all this 5 day journey into the world’s largest electronics convention.

CES this year will attract more than 150,000 visitors from around the world. It spans for 4 days for the general attendees and plus 1 more for press conferences. The visitors range from exhibitors, media, buyers, industry, and enthusiasts. The overlying theme for this show is pretty much always innovation with new products and technologies announced here every year. Held in Las Vegas during early January, it is not an understatement that electronics companies spend a great part of their year preparing for their presence here. With over 3,100 exhibitors this year, this all this spells out one thing….bring comfortable footwear.

 

The Buzz

4K – The largest companies (LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc) typically create the largest buzz around the convention which in turn goes to the world stage through all the press. The hottest trend this year seems to be “bigger the better” in 4K Ultra High Definition TV’s. While the crowd is in ooh’s and aah’s, just know that this technology is currently out of reach for 98% of you. The offerings today for these displays are from Sony and LG and they start at around the price of a Honda Accord. There was mention of more “consumer-friendly” prices, but those products were not introduced at CES this year. Until then, it’s time to think about friendlier take-home technologies like 2.1 Sound. It seems that many TV manufacturers are beginning to splice sub-woofers into the back of their flat panels. While this may seem like a bad idea for wall-mounted flat panels, don’t most of us that care about deep audio have speaker systems anyway?

Cloud – I mentioned this trend last year, and I’ll mention it again. You cannot escape the cloud. It started with a way to store your files online, then it became a way to write essays without Microsoft Word. It quickly spread to Facebook games, and now here we are at the LG CES Booth with a refrigerator texting us that we are running low on eggs. The connected home is still far from public embrace, but the technology is on the horizon and cloud is the backbone. Google had us in a scare when GMail advertising started targeting keywords in private emails, so connecting my refrigerator to the cloud could be another can of advertising worms to open. Cloud technology seems to be only steps away from knowing how many of my socks have holes.

 

Surprises

Monster – Celebs, celebs, celebs… just recalling about Monster’s star-studded press conference makes me feel like I’m writing for an entertainment column. Let’s level-set here: Monster started out as a cable wires company, and from there they have grown to headphones, computer memory, speakers, and more. Celebrity-endorsed products are not unheard of, but in Monsters’ case no rock was left un-turned. Drew Brees, Xzibit, Nick Cannon, Tyson Beckford, Sheila E, and Sugar Ray Leonard made a conglomerate appearance . It actually did not stop there. Alicia Keys would perform at a Monster concert later in the week. This is actually characteristic of Monster from last year’s CES, where they brought out other stars including performances from Earth, Wind, & Fire and Stevie Wonder. No one really saw that one coming.

At the Monster Press Conference, with numerous surprise star guests.

At the Monster Press Conference, with numerous surprise star guests.

Alicia Keys playing at the annual Monster Awards.

Alicia Keys playing at the annual Monster Awards. Photo Credit: Hokan Lo

 

Parrot AR Drones 2.0 – I heard the music, I saw the crowd, but what were they looking at? The forgotten Central Plaza had a surprise in store for everyone: a synchonized dancing/flying performance of 10+ of these flying toys. I would later find out that there was an indoor display as well, but the dubstep blasting outside is what got my attention here. This is no breakthrough in technology since Parrot had their drones dancing last year as well, but see this display triggered a deja vu in my head from Avatar.

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0's reminded me of a certain scene from Avatar.

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0’s reminded me of a certain scene from Avatar.

 

Wasn’t Planning it, but dang bomb-diggity!

Inada Massage Chairs – It’s safe to say that if you went to CES, then your feet were hurting, unless of course you rode a Segway the whole time. Tucked away in South Hall is a set up of 20 something massage chairs from company Inada. Their massage chairs massaged from neck to fingers to calves to toes. It was a heavenly 15 minute program that relaxed the tightest of muscles. Inada was here to promote their massage chairs, and what better way than to massage and roll-out all the tired business people. Through the 15 minute ordeal, I would be checked on constantly to make sure that the massage chair wasn’t pulling my spine apart. It did, but in a good relaxing way. After my therapy here I was ready for 10 more miles of hiking.

A massaging oasis nestled deep within South Hall, thanks to Inada.

A massaging oasis nestled deep within South Hall, thanks to Inada.

 

AMEX Small Business Game – This was something entirely new to me. Set up in the open American Express Small Business booth were several stations to practice a memory game. When a contender deemed themselves ready, they would wait in line for the big screen where energetic host, Troy, would walk you through the official AMEX challenge. The loot would be a new iPad Mini given to the highest score of the day. There was trickery to this memory game and I knew all about it, holding on to the 2nd place title for most of the 2nd day. My memory and luck would not help me in my next day’s of attempts, but it sure was fun trying.

Troy hosts the American Express Small Business game where the winner walks away with an iPad Mini.

You always see it but I bet you never think of it

Ben & Jerrys – Traveling the 2nd floor bridge between Central and South Halls will almost always leave an impression on you. While it is probably not the lined halls of sitting CES attendees, it would almost certainly be the sweet smell of baking ice cream. Whether intended or not, this smell is so distinct every year that all ice cream seem to remind me of that one exact spot. I’ve managed not to partake in this ice cream year after year of CES, but I just know that you can always count on Ben & Jerry’s to be in that same spot spewing its temptress fumes into the air.

Resisting the urge for Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but the product replacement makes it unavoidable.

Resisting the urge for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but the product placement makes it unavoidable.

 

Central Plaza – This may also be known as the forgotten plaza. It gets almost no love compared to the likes of Central Hall (the big boys), South Halls (biggish boys), and North Hall (iStuff and audio). One of the biggest reasons is that Vegas in this time of year is freezing cold. Most folks would want to stick to the indoor comfort, but a sneak peak outside and there are, in fact, stuff out there willing to see.

One reason to venture out to Central Plaza, the food trucks.

One reason to venture out to Central Plaza, the food trucks.

 

Samsung SSD for free is for me! – If you are not following the Nerd Reactor twitter already, then you are probably missing out on brutal laughs, edgy hilarity, and well, free SSD’s from Samsung. Samsung had a presence out in Central Plaza, a small one in the form of a retro-trailer, but a big impact if you had your laptop with you.

CESbest-SamsungTweet

Yes, that is right kiddies, and don’t say we didn’t warn you. After a short few hours wait, all your data would be transferred and you will be sporting a brand new Samsung 250gb SSD Drive. No strings, other than preaching the good name of Samsung SSD’s to the masses.

George and Matty from Team Samsung and the SSD's that they installed into some lucky laptops.

George and Matty from Team Samsung and the SSD’s that they installed into some lucky laptops. Photo Credit: Hokan Lo

 

Intel’s Cool Blue Color Scheme – It grabs you, subtly, without you even knowing you’ve been grabbed. A cruise through Central Hall typically affects bystanders with a strange magnetism and in the blink of an eye, you find yourself standing in the Intel Booth. Intel has been doing this ever since my first CES. When red hot colors get you excitable and emotional, cool blue leaves you mystified and hypnotized. Good job to Intel for your mental tricks. Yes, you had cool new products like new Ultrabooks, Surface chips, and Atom phone CPU’s, but that Cool Blue Color Scheme is what mystified us the most year after year. Keep it up.

The hypnotizing effect to look forward to at the Intel booth.

The hypnotizing effect to look forward to at the Intel booth.

 

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JR Cajigas
JR Cajigas 113 posts

JR Cajigas is a foodie by day and...foodie by night. In between meals he is a tech writer and photographer. Yummers!