It is less than a week until the Consumer Electronics Show
(CES), the annual mega event for all things techie, the news is surprisingly
light. There are a number of factors, including the fact that the “R” word
(recession) is making it hard to think about consumer products, but the bigger
reason is that New Year’s Day is falling on a Thursday.
The big show in Las Vegas won’t actually ramp up until next
Thursday, with press events beginning on Tuesday evening followed by the “press
conference day” next Wednesday. This gives the PR types and marketing managers
extra time to get ready. In fact, this is about the most time between New
Year’s Day and CES. Some years the show kicks off on the fourth of January.
This is worth mentioning because in the world of consumer
electronics and consumer technology, things don’t stop for the holidays. This
reporter could rant for hours on why CES needs to be so early in the year, but
consider that the North American International Toy Fair will be here in about
six weeks! Thinking about next year’s Christmas toys while the weather is still
cold from the current winter season isn’t easy.
And given that devices like phones will go through numerous
cycles by this time next year, you can understand why the electronic device
makers are ready to get the show on the road. A decade ago mobile phones were
just a small part of CES, now it is much bigger.
Consider that a decade ago Lucky Goldstar was barely a blip
on the radar during the crazy week in Vegas. Now, LG as the company is
universally known, is a major player in HDTV and mobile phones. Furthermore,
Sony will spend as much time at its day-ending press conference talking about
mobile devices as it will about TVs.
And this is no surprise, either. Mobile phones remain
commodity devices, even in a recession. While this year is different in that
you might replace your TV in time for the February switch over from analog to
digital (if you haven’t already done so), you’ll likely replace your handset
many times before you buy another TV for the living or family room.
Thus we’ll be watching the news from CES, and
the accompanying events very closely. As 2008 ends, I’m not looking back, but
already looking ahead to Las Vegas next week and beyond. I absolutely believe that
mobile will just get even more exciting in 2009.