Technologizer posts about CES

Whenever anyone asked me how my CES was going, I said something along the lines of “It seems pretty darn vibrant for a show that’s allegedly in trouble.” Now the official stats are in, and they report record-breaking numbers for both attendees and exhibitors. Chris Ziegler of the Verge:

The fact that neither Microsoft nor Apple are participating in these kinds of events anymore is certainly a sign of something, but 153,000 press, exhibitors, analysts, and staff are suggesting that the death knell could be a bit premature.

Posted by Harry at 2:56 pm


Steve Ballmer CES 2012 Microsoft keynote live coverage

I’m sitting in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. But tonight at 6:30pm PT, I’ll be in Las Vegas at Steve Ballmer’s final Microsoft keynote at CES–and TIME’s Doug Aamoth and I will liveblog it one last time. You can join us at technologizer/ces12, and I hope you will.

Posted by Harry at 8:05 am

Comments Off

The Case for CES

By  |  Posted at 2:25 am on Monday, January 9, 2012

Comments Off

Over at the New York Times, Nick Wingfield has a story on CES 2012 with the gloomy title “A Tech Show Loses Clout as Industry Shifts.” He makes some good points. I’m not a CES apologist–in fact, I recently broached the question of whether Microsoft’s decision to pull out of the show after this year could conceivably be the beginning of the end, and wrote about some of its problems for Slate back in 2008.

Still, I came away from Wingfield’s piece unconvinced that there’s a new sea change going on in the industry that’s rendering CES less relevant than it has been in recent years.

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , ,

The Celebrity Entertainment Show

Your guide to the famous folks attendeding CES 2012--including the ones you don't know.

By  |  Posted at 3:58 pm on Friday, January 6, 2012


CES LogoMost of the 150,000 or so people who will attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week are executives and other staffers from companies in the tech industry: hardware makers, service providers, and retailers. Several thousand other attendees are mediafolk like me: reporters, bloggers, and analysts.

And the third most-represented group? It may well be celebrities. They’re one of the most surefire ways to attract attention to a booth or a party, and so the companies exhibiting at the show bring them to Vegas by the truckload.

Continue reading this story…


Join Us for Live Coverage of Steve Ballmer’s Final Microsoft Keynote at CES

By  |  Posted at 2:50 pm on Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Comments Off

Steve Ballmer CES 2012 Microsoft keynote live coverage

Next Monday at 6:30pm PT, Steve Ballmer will give what Microsoft says is the company’s final keynote at CES. I don’t know whether he’ll acknowledge that fact, in either a serious manner or a lighthearted one. But it’s a safe bet that he’ll talk about Windows 8, ultrabooks, Xbox, and Windows phone. And I’ll be in the audience, along with TIME’s Doug Aamoth. We’ll liveblog the event as it happens at Join us, won’t you? (And if you need a reminder, head there now: You can get an e-mailed notification when the event begins.)


Read more: , , ,

In the last post, I wondered if anyone who attended the first Consumer Electronics Show in 1967 is still attending. As commenter Tom Lauterback noted, one of the guys in the last photo in that post is the show’s creator, Jack Wayman. And as of 2011, he still goes to CES.

Posted by Harry at 10:02 am

Comments Off

The More CES Stays the Same, the More It Changes

By  |  Posted at 8:51 pm on Monday, January 2, 2012


While rummaging through the official CES photo bank for an image of Steve Ballmer giving a CES keynote, I came across this picture of the show floor, jam-packed with booths, attendees, and stuff. (Click on it for a larger version.)

Consumer Electronics Show 1980

At first blush, this could be any year’s show–you can see Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, and other companies that will be at next week’s edition. I might believe you for a moment if you told me this was last year’s show, which I attended.

Continue reading this story…


CES Pay for Play? No Way

Or why you won't see me serving as a brand ambassador for LG anytime soon.

By  |  Posted at 10:49 am on Friday, December 23, 2011


Yesterday, I received an e-mail from an employee of Ogilvy, a gigantic public-relations firm, that I found startling:Now, I get strange, questionable propositions over the transom–this one arrived via Technologizer’s contact form–all the time. I also receive offers which I choose to decline, such as ones involving companies footing the bill for travel to their media events. But a big PR firm offering what amounted to cash payments for coverage on behalf of a major tech company was a new one.

Continue reading this story…


In case you’re keeping track, here’s some stuff I’ve written for other sites this week:
For TIME, I proposed a few new year’s resolutions for tech companies.
Also at TIME, I mused on the fact that at CES, everyone’s keynoter.
And at CNET, Microsoft’s CES departure made me think of IBM”s COMDEX departure.

Posted by Harry at 7:51 am

Comments Off

A Brief History of Microsoft Vegas Keynotes (Now That They’re Going Away)

By  |  Posted at 12:31 pm on Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Rock and Bill Gates introduce the original Xbox.

The Rock and Bill Gates introduce the original Xbox at CES in 2001.

Microsoft has announced that next month’s Steve Ballmer keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will be its last, and that it won’t have its own booth at the show. The move is unquestionably reminiscent of Apple’s 2008 decision to pull out of Macworld Expo, although Microsoft will still be a part of the show in other ways. It’s just ending its traditional, high-profile presence.

And what a long tradition it’s been. It started, of course, not with Ballmer but with Bill Gates. And it didn’t begin with CES. For years, a Gates keynote kicked off the now-defunct COMDEX show: He did them in Vegas in November and sometimes at Spring COMDEX in other cities.

(I’m not sure when Gates did his first COMDEX keynote, but he was doing them as early as 1983, and they became a ritual in the 1990s.)

I’ve always wondered just how much Microsoft benefited from all these keynotes. It’s used them as an opportunity to present its perspective on the future of computing. But as I wrote back in 2008, an awful lot of the things it unveiled at COMDEX and CES never amounted to much, including the Tablet PC, Windows Smart Displays, the Smart Watch, and the amazingly short-lived Urge music service. Unlike Apple, Microsoft rarely if ever saved up a big announcement until a keynote, so the PR bump wasn’t remotely in the same league as Apple’s Macworld events. And the copious use of uncomfortable-looking celebrity guest stars usually didn’t help matters.

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , ,

More Cool Stuff From CES

By  |  Posted at 10:17 am on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comments Off

The Consumer Electronics Show is still on my mind — and the products I found are the topic of this week’s TechBite.

I still have lots of products in the queue, so these are short blurbs; if something gives you a jolt, I’ve included links so you can dig deeper.

LoJack for Notebooks

I get the weekly rap sheet from our local sheriff’s department, and I’d say that in auto and home burglaries, the notebook is the grab-and-run favorite.

Maybe you can’t prevent the theft, but AbsoluteSoftware‘s LoJack for Laptops might be able to recover your notebook. The software installs on a hidden location on the drive (MBR or partition tables; the company’s cagey with details) and is untouchable by the run-of-the-mill knucklehead thieves.

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , , , , ,

CES Wows and Duds

By  |  Posted at 8:38 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1 Comment

The Consumer Electronics Show is a behemoth, with vendors hawking hundreds of iPad holders and trays, and millions of iPhone cases and protective films; there were just as many oh-look-at-me-too tablets (thanks, Apple, for creating this new industry). And, of course, there’s lots of noise, more booth babes than last year, and people tethered to their smart phones, tweeting their every movement.

Perfect if you have big thumbs.

I found a handful, maybe a dozen, innovative and smart products in out-of-the-way booths, and a few “oh, wow, I gotta have that” gems. I’ve got a few to tell you about this week — like the gizmos that help you save energy at home and earbuds that’ll knock your sox off.

In upcoming newsletters I’ve got hardware that brings TV and the Internet closer together, software that blocks cell-phone telemarketers, and a tool to recover my stolen notebook — or pay me a grand if it doesn’t.

At CES, I watched a 20-year-old whip out what looked like an error-free message on his iPhone in nothing flat. Me, I have the toughest time keeping my thumbs on my iPod’s keypad. Solving the problem is 4iThumbs2, a rubbery, plastic overlay. It has little bumps above where the letters are, giving a lovely, tactile feel when typing. It comes in two versions — landscape and portrait.

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , ,

Eight Things I Liked at CES

By  |  Posted at 3:16 pm on Thursday, January 13, 2011


I liked CES 2011. I found it useful and fun. I’m glad I went. None of those reactions were a given–I understand why some folks question the show’s very reasons for existing, and I’ve been known to accentuate the negative myself.  This year, however, there was a critical mass of interesting stuff, in multiple categories.

From Tuesday afternoon of last week through Saturday, I spent so much time learning about new products that I didn’t cover all that many of them here while the show was going on. So here’s a catch-up post with a few of the ones that made this CES one of the best ones in my memory–despite the insane crowds, the aisles and aisles of lookalike phone covers, and the jingling case of  slot-machine tinnitus that I still can’t quite shake.

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , , , , , ,

Last Friday afternoon, I had fun participating in Cnet’s Reporters’ Roundtable show before a live audience on the CES show floor–okay, we were actually right outside the show floor–with host Rafe Needleman and fellow guests Rob Enderle and Jim Louderback. I’m having trouble embedding it, so here’s a link to the video on Cnet.

Posted by Harry at 12:45 pm

Comments Off

Sony’s Playstation Move Rifle Literally Changes the Game

By  |  Posted at 8:41 am on Monday, January 10, 2011


With 3D glasses around my head and a big, plastic, fake assault rifle in my hand, I did something that seasoned gamers might consider sacrilege: I played Killzone 3.

Understand, Killzone is the Playstation 3′s answer to Halo. It’s a loud, violent shoot-em-up against enemies with gas masks and glow-in-the-dark eyes, and a multiplayer mode with all the classics, like capture the flag and team deathmatch. And with the Playstation Move stuffed inside a $40 gun-shaped accessory, Killzone 3 is also Sony’s attempt to prove that motion control is for serious gamers, too.

But really, it’s not. Playing Killzone 3 with the assault rifle peripheral was a blast, but it was also an entirely different game than the one you play with plain old thumbsticks. Continue reading this story…

Read more: , ,

IoSafe’s Drives: The Torture Tests Continue

By  |  Posted at 9:29 pm on Sunday, January 9, 2011

1 Comment

IoSafe, which makes disaster-proofed storage devices, may not have the biggest booth at CES–or, come to think of it, any booth at all–but it consistently comes up with unique, memorable demos of its products. Last year it set fire to a drive, drowned it, then drove over it with a steamshovel. This year, it took one of its new Rugged Portable drives–available with both aluminum and titanium cases–and dunked it in a fish tank, squeezed it a vice, and then turned it into a shooting-range target. And after a few minutes’ work with a screwdriver–the external USB connector had been damaged–all the data on the SSD inside was proven to be safe and sound.

I’m not sure what the company has planned for CES 2012, but I wonder if it would be okay to drop a drive from the top of the Stratosphere?

Photos after the jump (that’s IoSafe founder Robb Moore doing most of the damage, and me turning the screw on the vice).

Continue reading this story…

Read more: , ,