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Jacob’s First CES: 5 Things I Learned at the World’s Biggest Tech Show

by Jacob Kleinman | January 9, 2015January 9, 2015 11:00 am PDT

This year I finally made the trek out to Las Vegas to check out CES, joining the rest of the TechnoBuffalo team for a week of early mornings, late nights and lots of tech. Now that the show is wrapping up it’s time to reflect on what I learned at the world’s biggest tech tradeshow. To be honest, much of the past few days is a blur, but here’s what I can remember.

1. There aren’t that many new mobile devices.

Okay, so scrolling through all of our photos over the past week were a decent number of new phones, tablets and smartwatches unveiled this week at CES 2015. From LG’s impressive new G Flex 2 to cheaper entries from the likes of Alcatel One Touch and Kodak. Still, if you’re expecting a plethora of new mobile devices this isn’t the place for you. Other annual tech shows like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona or IFA in Berlin seem to attract more smartphone announcements these days, leaving CES attendees to check out the latest TVs and “Internet of Things” gadgets instead.

2. Cars everywhere.

There are a ton of cars on display here at CES. Way more than I expected, with models ranging from what’s available today to futuristic concepts to far-out three-wheeled vehicles. Maybe it’s just because our temporary office is tucked away in the car section of the tradeshow. Maybe it’s that I’m not used to seeing so many fancy new cars in one place. Either way, that’s one thing I wasn’t expecting, but it’s been interesting to see.

3. Dreams do come true for some Kickstarter projects.

One of the coolest parts of CES—for me at least—has been running into companies that got their start on Kickstarter, especially if I was able to help give them a boost on our site. Of course, not every project makes it to Vegas, and some don’t even make it to production. Thankfully that wasn’t the case for Brio, a pretty genius shock-proof outlet I covered back in 2014. This week I got a chance to try it out for myself, bringing the entire experience full circle.

4. Chinese companies have a huge presence.

An employee walks past a wall painted with logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co. Ltd at its headquarters office on the outskirts of Hangzhou

This one I didn’t really expect, but the South Hall of the show’s massive convention center is pretty much dominated by Chinese firms. Some, like Huawei, offered an opportunity to finally check out smartphones and other gadgets I’ve written about in the past. Beyond that, there were rows and rows of companies I’ve never heard of pitching interesting new projectors, speakers and more. Even Alibaba had a booth, though I’m not sure exactly what the e-commerce giant was promoting.

5. Celebrities are everywhere and nowhere.

If you wanted to you could spend the entire week chasing celebrities across CES, but don’t expect to run into any by chance. Earlier this week, I debated trying to make time to catch Neil Young, who was here to promote his new Pono music player. I even managed to spot 50 Cent, who was pretty much everywhere pushing his line of SMS Audio headphones. Stevie Wonder showed up to talk about how technology can help people with disabilities and check out the latest speakers, while a single picture of Kanye West on the show floor sent ripples through the entire convention. Meanwhile, I totally missed out on opportunities to catch presentations from Tony Hawk and NBA legend Clyde Drexler. I’m not sure what the lesson is there, but if you’re looking to meet some celebrities CES is a good place to do it.

Wrap Up

That’s just a few takeaways from CES 2015. Honestly a week isn’t enough to take in the entire thing, but I think I got a pretty good sense of what the tradeshow has to offer. Hopefully, I’ll be back again next year to do it all over again.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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