CES, like all things, has ups and downs. Sometimes the show is electrifyingly brilliant. Sometimes it’s crazy. And sometimes… you just have to know that it’s evolving and be patient. This was one of those evolving, patient years.
The last time CES hit a creative low was 2009 in my opinion. The economy was crashing faster than a Formula 1 racer, the HDTV revolution was about finished, and the one gadget everyone really wanted — the iPhone — was not shown at all. I took a short break from CES in the late ’00s. The show gained its footing in ’13 as many things did. Gigantic TVs were actually a thing by then, when they’d been largely prototypes just a few years earlier.
Too big to fail?
For a while, CES was so big that even one of the world’s biggest convention venues struggled to contain it. However, as the “Consumer Electronics Association” morphed into the “Consumer Technology Association” the show was intentionally restricted to professionals.
There was a time when all it took was a business card printed at home on your inkjet printer to get in. Now, you have to prove your industry affiliation and if you’re not a member of the CTA, tickets aren’t cheap. That’s meant a welcome drop in attendance (I suspect the CTA lies about the numbers when they say this was the biggest show ever.)
2019 CES: The Last Word
This was a great show for backroom deals. At Solid Signal, we found the next generation of exciting stuff and you’ll see it all in the coming months. On the front end, a few big shots like LG and Samsung still took the opportunity for full-court press. There were a decent number of small startups too, hoping to grab a tiny bit of attention. However in the soft middle… you have to wonder how successful this show was for companies like Hisense, Voxx, and Nikon. These are pretty popular brands (Voxx owns several brands you’ve heard of) but the lack of news coverage might have had them thinking that they overspent on big booths. Sure, the backroom deals were probably lucrative. But, I suspect they could have done just as well with private meeting spaces that cost a lot less.
About our partners
A lot of our friends were at the show. I would have reported more on weBoost, SureCall, AT&T, Antop and others but most of the real action was in closed-door meetings where I could tell you but… (you know the rest.)
That doesn’t mean it was a quiet year. Far from it. It was a year of doing business and that’s not a bad thing at all. It means you’ll be seeing a lot of innovation in the coming months at Solid Signal.
One last look back
Here’s a digest of every CES article, in case you missed it:
CES Show Preview
We’re off to CES!
Podcast #307: 8K Really?
2019 CES: Day 1 Report
2019 CES: DISH wasn’t even here and they made news
2019 CES: I didn’t get to play with the foldable phone
2019 CES: End of the show?
2019 CES: Televes shows new antennas
2019 CES: Could Hulu be listening?
2019 CES: Yes there were televisions
2019 CES: They probably wished they’d gotten the smaller booth
2019 CES: The people who “Got It”