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CES 2011: What’s Happened To Sprint?

by Sean P. Aune | January 10, 2011January 10, 2011 9:00 am PDT

CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) is known for large, bright and bombastic booths.  Companies hold big press events with thumping music, light shows and videos featuring big name Hollywood stars.

And some sit in a hotel room.

Such was the case with Sprint at this year’s CES.  While it is one of the big four American cellular networks, it was the only one without a booth in the main hall, and instead they had one room over at a nearby hotel.  A room that I went by long after show hours had opened, and yet the door was closed with no sign of anyone being about.  This was curious to say the least.

While it’s true that Sprint announced the BlackBerry PlayBook at the show, where were the gajillion handsets being launched for the company like there were being done for their competitors? Where was the press conference?  Where was the fanfare?  Where were the giant signs hanging off nearby buildings?

There are certainly no laws saying that every company in a given industry must show up at a tradeshow.  (-cough-Apple-cough-)  However, when your three biggest competitors are putting on big shows, and you’re in a tiny room that can’t even be open during show hours, it sends a bit of a worse message than not showing up at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m no “brand X fanboy”, I’m actually a Sprint fanboy.  I have been with the company for years, my family has one giant plan with five lines and we even own two of their AIRAVE femtocel devices.  We are very deeply entrenched with Sprint, and something like this makes me worry about my equipment investment with the company.

We know their financials are not in the best of shape, and a showing like this at the largest consumer electronics show doesn’t help dissuade that perception.

Come on Sprint, throw us a bone here.  Show us some signs that you still have some fight in you instead of allowing Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile just walk all over you.  Do something, anything, to make the country take notice of you again.

A good start?  Be in your “booth” during show hours.  And, oh yeah, actually get a booth next year.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...