The first day of the Consumer Electronics Show has arrived and I am already exhausted. I’ve been here in Las Vegas since Tuesday afternoon, covering early show announcments and attending press-mainly events.
So far, it isn’t as crowded as past years. But it’s still early. What I have noticed is that CES isn’t plastered all over Las Vegas. Taxi cabs are mostly advertising Vegas shows, though a few sported ads for Toshiba’s Regza TVs. Over at the Fashion Show shopping mall on the strip? A loop of the same Apple iPod nano commercial playing over, and over, and over.
Press day was pretty full, though.
Some 4,500 reporters and bloggers are expected, which sounds about the same number as prior years. But on press day, the day before the show opens, these folks had fewer press conferences to attend. The major Japanese electronics manufacturers (Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba) hosted events, as did Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. But absent were Pioneer Electronics and Philips.
With fewer scheduled press conferences, the media packed into as many as they could. Some companies, like Cisco, had to turn away hundreds of reporters.
Tech trends so far, at least according to the press conferences: Widgets for your TV, green/alternative energy to power consumer gadgets, corporate electronics recycling programs for consumers and faster TVs.
Last night’s keynote speech with Microsoft’s Steve Balmer was packed, but if you looked, you could still find a seat (more on the keynote later). Hotel rooms are still available, though prices have inched upward for tonight. Prices are still nothing compared to 2006 when Bally’s hotel hit $400-plus for the first night. Bally’s, for example, is now $199/night after offering $139 for Jan. 8 if you booked by Christmas.
Today, attendees will learn whether CES will be smaller, cheaper and better. Check back for my reports from the show floor all day. If you need to reach me, try e-mailing at email@example.com. Here I go …
Earlier reports from CES 2009: