CES 2007: Growing pains at the Consumer Electronics Show

Las Vegas (NV) - CES 2007 has taken off with the first major tradeshow event for the media- CES Unveiled. Most sane journalists are sitting in the press room already bemoaning the size of the line and just how big and unwieldy the show is. It would seem that, in this the year which has seen the demise of another trade show in E3, that the consensus is that the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may have passed its usefulness.

It is the nature of all trade shows to grow and grow and grow until they eventually collapse under their own weight. Comdex and E3 are just two examples, and CES is a far bigger show than either of those fallen giants.

What do we get out of CES, exactly? Well, a whole lot of new products for the year ahead. Press releases, photos and booth tours galore, as well as keynotes, off-site hotel meetings and late night functions. Sounds great, except if you're faced with the taxi lines to get between one of the six locations - the big, big halls and the Hilton at the Las Vegas Convention Center, then the trip to the Venetian hotel and Sands Expo center. There's a whole lot of ground to cover, and one can spend half a day out of three just getting around.

Sheer footage area is dwarfed by the amount of information coming out of the show. With a show of this size it's almost not worth your while showing up unless you have enough money to spend on being louder than the guy next door. This, of course, is an unwinnable arms race; and one of the big reasons we saw a rare taste of sanity from the video games industry in shutting down the gravy train of E3 into a far more sedate media meet and greet session.

There are 2700 exhibitors at CES 2007. We will do our best to discover the best, most unique and trendsetters for the next twelve months. But, realistically, we see little that more than 500 of all exhibitors will get a halfway noticeable mention in the press; and of those, how many are companies we all know and love anyways? I'll leave that one up to you.

Will CES die off? Well, we're all biased cynics in this room. And we better join the still rather long line to catch the CES preview.