The Consumer Electronics Show is an annual pilgrimage to the deserts of Nevada to find an oasis of gadgets. Next week we will make that pilgrimage again, this time hoping to find the future of computing in screens we hang on our walls, wear on our wrists and everything in between.
CES has lost a bit of its luster over recent years. The most important technology companies on the planet—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, etc.—have no tangible presence at the show any more. CES is no longer the panacea of everything and anything tech, but rather a proxy that serves and illustrates the undercurrents of the massive worldwide gadget industry. CES has become the metadata of the technology world: it informs everything else that is going on even if it is not exactly the main story.
This year at CES, the ReadWrite team will be looking for some specific trends. We will be highly interested in fitness and wearable technology (which we expect to find in droves). We are on the lookout for interesting uses of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities to inform the connected home. We want to find the next-generation of content devices, be they innovative streaming services or gadgets as well as the future of smart 4K Ultra HD televisions. There will be robots. We will be monitoring the big news and laying the groundwork for our research on how the mobile industry will evolve in 2014.
CES offers a great opportunity for us to monitor and study all of these trends that will be gaining traction in 2014 and beyond. While we will be sure to be up to date on the major news announcements, we also like to go off script a little bit at these types of mammoth trade shows. CES is so big that there is a certain amount of serendipity baked into the format. What’s the weirdest thing at CES this year? A Bluetooth paper airplane? Maybe that gadget that tries to translate your dog’s barking into English? Death ray goggles? We will keep our ears and eyes open to find out.
At the same time, we like to approach a conference like CES with a certain amount of, shall we say, finesse. Instead of broadcasting every minute of CES with a video camera strapped to our backs and writing about everything and absolutely everything we lay our eyes on, we will be focusing on the spaces in between. Call it our own version of journalistic metadata. These are the conversations that people have in bars and on buses, what people are saying on the show floor and how they react to the latest news. These conversations usually never make news or headlines, but they tend to inform the world of technology better than a press release or a booth demonstration. When you read between the lines, often times you get a better sense of what is actually happening than when you sit through a litany of briefings and press conferences.
This year CES will be defined by a burgeoning amount of wearable technology, really fancy televisions, some new smartphones and tablets that will look a lot like last year’s smartphones and tablets and an endless supply of accessories and cases. We expect to find wireless chargers and nifty stylus pens and lots and lots of robots.
Make sure you join us next week by following ReadWrite on Twitter as well as editor-in-chief Owen Thomas, mobile editor Dan Rowinski and reporter Adriana Lee as we traverse the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the most interesting tidbits at CES 2014.