CES 2018: Day 1 at the Sands

It was a rainy — and surprisingly quiet — day 1 at the CES show in Las Vegas. It’s possible that the unseasonably wet weather kept the crowds away, or it could just be that the blog team decided to start with the Sands Expo Center today instead of diving into the big ticket Convention Center Halls. The Convention Center houses cars, huge TVs, appliances, and pretty much every exhibitor with money. The Sands, on the other hand, is home to those segments that CES would maybe rather you forgot, as well as displays from governments that sponsor companies. (Except China, they pretty much have the entire Westgate Hotel all to themselves.)

This is a typical view of the Sands Expo Center. You’ll find wearables (which, I think everyone finally agrees is a largely dead segment), STEM stuff for education, medical exhibits, and a motley crew of exhibitors who either couldn’t or wouldn’t get into the much more popular North Hall. There were a few standouts — our friends from Televes were there — but for the most part there was very little to see.

Except, Google.

Google is literally EVERYWHERE at this show. The monorails say “Hey Google” and every other lit sign in this town has some sort of Google saying. They must be paying millions of dollars for this kind of exposure. What you see above is some sort of giant gumball machine that was set up in the Sands lobby. I guess you got some sort of prize if you waited — no kidding — a whole hour in line and asked Google Assistant a question. We all had better things to do.

If there was one place emptier than the Sands today it was the “C” space at Aria, which is supposed to be showcasing trends in tech and entertainment. It was seriously empty, and I gotta tell ya, the exhibitor selection was pretty weak.

That’s right, one of the “big draws” was Bing. You know, the search engine you accidentally use when you open up Microsoft Edge instead of Chrome or Firefox. You might be forgiven if you didn’t even remember they existed.

Tomorrow, the team is off to some of the more popular spots and we’ll have a full report!