CES 2020 Wrapup

Photo from the 2016 CES show

We were there, we saw, we enjoyed. After a whole week of walking and talking, here’s the whole story of blog team’s CES experience:

  1. Podcast #353: CES Preview
  2. CES 2020 Preview
  3. We’re off to CES!
  4. Podcast #354: Should CES just be a gadget show?
  5. NEXTGEN TV shows up to party
  6. The stuff no one else will report on
  7. I had the Impossible Pork
  8. They probably wished they’d gotten the smaller booth
  9. Yes I went to the Central Hall
  10. South Hall goes Retro
  11. The show coverage that wasn’t
  12. Sands Expo is WEIRD now

What a show it was. We were told before the show that this was a “deliverables” year. In other words, this was a year that would focus more on getting actual product in the hands of retailers like Solid Signal instead of pie-in-the sky concepts. We were told that was the reason there were so few press releases and product announcement.

A turning point?

I think when we look at this show with a certain amount of distance we’ll realize that this was the first year that it was impossible to avoid the facts. The show is smaller. A lot of the big product announcements by big vendors are held at their own press events. Apple has always had its own tech shows, and now Google, Microsoft, and even Amazon have followed suit. Google at least tried to have some visibility this year, even if it meant just using the same props from previous years. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel… there was no big show presence from any of these titans.

The show was, in many ways, better off without them. Smaller manufacturers, the sort of companies we like at Solid Signal, had a chance to shine. Not only that, it was easier to get around and easier to get a table at most restaurants. That’s not a bad thing.

Will CES ’21 be smaller or larger?

The city of Las Vegas is gambling that CES and other megashows will keep growing. The shadow of their new hall, being built as I type this, loomed large over this year’s show. By this time next year, or at the latest in ’22, the whole CES show will fit in one property. That’s even if it keeps growing. At the rate it’s shrinking they won’t even need the new hall.

Personally I think the days of the megashow are over and I’ve been saying so for about five years. I’m also saying that I’m glad. The era of the glitzy giant TV show may be over, but the real opportunities have just begun.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.