Skipping CES—to bring you better coverage

— 8:40 PM on January 7, 2007

Slogging through the crowds at many a trade show, I have remarked half jokingly that we could have provided better coverage of the show simply by sitting at home, checking our email, and writing up posts. That sentiment has increasingly become less of a joke since Comdex croaked and CES became the show of choice for the PC industry in North America. The Consumer Electronics Show is huge, and PCs are only a small portion of the goods on display there. Not only that, but many PC companies don't want to pay for floor space in one of the exhibit halls, so they spread out in hotel suites all over the Vegas strip. As a result, CES has become for us an endless series of cab lines, taxi rides, and half-mile hikes through casinos. It's an expensive and time-consuming way to get information. Not only that, but the quality of that information has generally been less than stellar, with the big players in the PC market choosing other venues (notably the web) for introducing their most intriguing products.

This combination of factors led has me to put my money where my mouth is this year—and stay home from CES. I may regret this decision, but we're going to try a different approach and see how it works. We've been doing briefings ahead of time for the past couple of weeks, and we'll have write-ups of some of the most notable developments of CES ready to go as soon as the announcements are made. (You may have already seen our news items about plans for terabyte hard drives from Hitachi and Seagate.) On top of that, we'll have the TR editorial staff watching for announcements and developments from the show throughout the week, ready to post information as soon as it becomes available to us. Our aim is to provide timely coverage of things that matter to you guys, and if there's not enough new info coming out of the show to occupy our full attention, then we'll turn it to other things—like producing more hands-on reviews of PC hardware.

We'll have to see how this little experiment pans out. I will miss the schmoozing a little bit, but then I've never been much of a schmoozer. And I've spent enough time in Vegas to see all of the silicone implants one guy ever needs to see.

I can already tell you that for the big players in the PC market, CES 2007 will be about two things: Windows Vista and PC convergence with consumer electronics devices, two themes that go hand-in-hand in many ways. These are both important developments in the PC market, but they're both slow-burn kind of things. We already know a tremendous amount about Vista, and convergence is happening at an incredibly slow, lurching pace, while heavily burdened by battles over digital rights management and the like.

But one never knows. Perhaps this year's CES will hold some pleasant surprises—and perhaps we'll rue the day we declined to book our tickets to Vegas. Right now, though, I'm betting that our virtual show coverage will suffice. Time will tell.

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