And it begins anew.
2017 is in its third day and I’m sitting at the gate in Long Beach Airport, waiting to head to the first of several conventions this year, as in every year. It’s what I do, I cover conventions, and there are worse fates in life, no doubt. This time, it’s CES — the CTA has decreed that it’s just CES now, not International CES or the Consumer Electronics Show — and I’m going just for the preliminaries (opening trend speeches, Media Day and some panels, one hectic day of the full deal) this year because I have to be back for personal reasons before the convention hits full speed. I’d love to be able to do these things the way others do, foregoing the panels and wandering the show floors checking out the wares, but I have a job to do, so that isn’t going to happen.
I’m more skeptical than ever about what the consumer electronics business is hyping these days, because, let’s face it, what we’ve seen them push in the last several years hasn’t been impressive. 3D TVs flopped and flopped hard. 4K TVs are selling only because the price dropped to commodity levels, but you don’t see much 4K content. The Internet of Things is coming but people seem pretty unenthusiastic about it. Wearables? In people’s junk drawers within a few months, though the technology will find its way into the medical field before long. Drones? Please. The one thing that they show at CES that will be a game changer is the autonomous car, which stretches the definition of “consumer electronics” a bit but will obviously be everywhere at some point. Yet we’ve been seeing that at CES for years. This year’s hot thing? No clue. Guess the CTA will spin that as the maturing of the industry, or they’ll stress growth in developing countries. Yeah, that’ll work OK.
But I’ll be writing plenty about that this week for All Access and maybe here, too. This is how every year really starts for me; it’s not officially a new year unless I’m off to Vegas for CES. Here we go.