Why CES Isn’t the Most Important Tech Show Anymore

by Istvan Fekete on January 8, 2013

CES 2013We are currently witnessing the “death” of the biggest tech show in the world: the Consumer Electronics Show, which kicked off in 1967 and became the most eagerly awaited show for both tech industry players and consumers, as it revealed what we will have in our hands or living rooms by the end of the year.

Yet CES has become something different this year – or, I should say, over the years with two trends contributing to the slow death of CES and events like CES: if you look at the CES reports this year, it is obvious that hardware is no longer at the centre of the tech world. The era of performing product launches at CES ended somewhere around 2009 with the launch of the Palm Pre. Palm is now dead, although it carried lots of potential.

In the end, hardware became the shell of what we know as software – or if I call it by its name: iOS and Android, or services like Facebook and Twitter. The soul of consumer tech is now software and services.

Just a quick look back in time: Apple’s last appearance at CES was in 1992, and Microsoft, which was a key player here, announced last year that it won’t return to CES anymore, so its keynote spot was handed over to Qualcomm.

Now, if we look at the tech market, we can see — and Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt has put it into words — there are four big tech companies that are truly driving the play and which matter to people: Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. Yet there is another player that has gained traction in recent years, and that is Samsung.

Of the four big players, none is present at the show, while Samsung has an important spot there. The company’s position in the market gains relevance from the perspective of HTC’s earnings report — another quarter of losses — and the company’s hints at launching Tizen-based phones this year. Since the company is selling the most popular handsets in multiple countries, this is bad news for Android and its father, Google.

Anyways, back to the CES: we gadget writers are all hoping for some revolutionary gadget to appear at the show, but this won’t happen. All the eagerly awaited gadget announcements – such as the Pebble Smartwatch — came to life with the help of people who paid money for them before these products even existed.

In other words: CES is dying because it isn’t the place for product launches anymore, because the Web, social media and the press has taken its place.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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