CES is definitely much more than the official 2012 International CES slate.
Officially, CES started on a Tuesday (January 10) and ended four days later. This year, the show had more than 150,000 people walk through nearly 1.9 million net square feet of exhibiting space. This doesn’t account for staff, convention and hotel employees, or the unofficial attendees outside the conference, walking the streets and venues of Vegas promoting their products.
After a long day of CES press conferences, I was lucky to get into Pepcom’s Digital Experience, one of the most amazing events I’ve gone to. For commercial press only, the show is similar to the official CES press sneak peek, CES Unveiled, but also includes companies not taking part in the huge event. It would feel somewhat derogatory to label it as an ancillary show when it’s a must-attend for CES press aficionados. The giveaways are unbelievable here, and the food is free-flowing. Good food.
Kingston gave out 8GB flash drives as well as its wi-Drive, a portable wireless storage device. It’s specifically for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch — compatibility with iOS being a recurrent trend throughout the week. Lenovo handed out portable speakers while yurBuds gave away a slew of its earbuds for athletes. (They stay in your ears no matter how athletically active you get.) Earbuds are popular products, like those from Clarity One and Velodyne, with sound purportedly comparable to that of external speakers. Enjoy, but don’t forget the 60-60 recommendation: 60 minutes of use at 60% maximum volume. What?
With that in mind, KidzGear makes in-ear listening devices for kids with a volume safety stop. AfterShokz has buds you wear on your cheekbones. Cool, though they don’t do anything to alleviate discomfort should you have TMJ. Buyer beware!
Almost every booth at Digital Experience had something to give out, and if they didn’t have enough on hand, the press contact offered to send a sample for product review. I especially liked Toshiba and Nokia’s survival kits, the former sporting a Powerstick, palm stress massager, cables, notebook, and aspirin, while Nokia’s had a blanket, buds, and eye mask.
There’s no way to leave Digital Experience unhappy.
The following night, after the opening day of CES, was Showstoppers, similar to Pepcom and CES Unveiled but a tad smaller. Seeing as how Showstoppers followed these other events and featured many of the same companies, I expected their giveaways might have been less plentiful, but they were still to be found in decent supply. The food once again was abundant throughout the four-hour show.
Some companies piggyback on the attendance at CES and book hotel rooms to showcase their products. While it’s jarring to have a bed present while you’re discussing product specs, booking a room is an easy way for companies to stay away from the fray while taking care of business needs.
I actually was able to learn a lot about SunBrite TV, the maker of outdoor televisions that’s now entering the residential market. Its products are used across the world in venues such as stadiums, resort patios, and military vehicles and are resistant to rain, humidity, salt corrosion, dust, and insects, with sealed wiring to keep moisture out.
I also met with a company pitching cases that combine the charging case with other capabilities such as music listening and video projection. I absolutely loved their products, though when researching them further, I found out that there’s a suspicion being put forward on Scamvent of their being involved in securities fraud. Doesn’t mean it’s true. If so, it would be a shame, as I gushed over their products.
Officially, looting is not endorsed by CES.
A blogger I met up with, Dave Cowl of blu-raystats.com, told me about the Asian companies in the Hilton showrooms who desert their booths near the end of the show, often leaving products behind. I was afraid to pick up anything like batteries or cables, in fear of damaging my already inferior products (see my work on Target-bought merchandise) but did snag a bunch of packaging tape rolls, display stands, a mannequin head, and tons of shopping bags. I found an abandoned suitcase and lugged it up and down the aisles hunting for anything worthwhile that had been abandoned. Many of the vendors try to sell their goods prior to ditching them. Ten minutes later you might find them being dragged off by a connoiseur of this slightly more upscale form of dumpster diving.
I met with several start-ups just walking the floor of CES, one represented by a publicist. The makers of iheadcase, providing a tidy way to store your headphones, stopped me mid-rush to the next appointment, spent a moment of time telling me about their product, and went on their way. I was told last year that Agloves did the same kind of guerrilla marketing; the maker of winter-friendly touchscreen gloves is doing phenomenally well, having sold 175,000 pairs in 2011.
It’s said Vegas is where dreams are just a bet away, and sure enough creative and outside-of-the-box thinking can reap jackpots at CES, inside and out.
Look for my reviews on CES products on Gizmo Porn
See my review of Pelican i1075 at GizmoPorn Pelican Case i1075 Hard and Backed
See my review of Toddy Cloths at GizmoPorn Gadgets for the Gadgets: CES Accessories
See my review of health devices at CES Monitoring Behavior: Devices for Better health at CES
and more at Gizmo Porn