Consumer Electronics Show 2013: CES is Just Barely Relevant At This Point

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas opened on Tuesday, which featured the keynote address. Steve Ballmer didn’t keynote this years CES, instead the charge was led by Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs. Through a series of songs, video, and an obligatory appearance by Maroon 5, it left many wondering what the hell they were witnessing. This, as CES fights for relevance in a software-driven world.

Muse introduced InteraXon which promises the ability to one day control devices with our mind. In the meantime, it can help reduce stress from having to physically control your devices.

Huawei unveiled the world’s largest smartphone, it looks like this, which is obviously just a larger ploy to bring JNCO’s back in style.

TV makers like LG, Samsung, and SonyCorp. showed us ultra-high-definition TV’s that none of us will be able to afford. Does the world need or want an 84-inch TV? Research says no. This PopSci headline may put it the best “(Samsung’s) 4K is this year’s most amazing tech, and it’s completely impractical.” There’s no way to distribute content, it’s widely expensive, and is doubtful that our internet infrastructure can even handle it.

It wouldn’t be the CES without the annual ‘Booth Babe’ controversy. Apparently, that’s still a thing? It’s probably unwise of a convention that touts forward thinking and being on the cutting edge to continue such practices.

Much of the news around CES isn’t about what the latest gadget is; it’s about whether or not conventions like this even matter.

BuzzFeed makes a compelling argument for the growing irrelevance of not just CES but conventions in general. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have no presence at CES, WSJ calls it a “flashy dinosaur in an app-driven world.”

Who waits for conventions to show us what is hip, now, relevant, important? We heard of Formlab’s desktop 3D printer long before it was "introduced" at CES. People don’t care about gadgets, and many consider technology a fixed expense that they must budget for.

Is CES just a bunch of companies and minor celebrities attempting to introduce technology that while at first glance may be cool, but have no practical usage in our lives in the desperate hope that it will spurn some sort of media coverage? If the most glowing article of your convention is that you aren’t quite irrelevant...yet, you are probably far past it. 

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Andrea Ayres-Deets

PM Politics Intern- M.A. in Writing from the University of Warwick. Lover of sci-fi, awkward situations, and coffee.

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