Waking Up From Vegas

I just got back last night from my annual trip to Las Vegas for International CES. This was my fourth time at the show, and while I feel like I’ve gotten used to it a lot more, I don’t yet have the dread of going that many CES lifers do. A few thoughts on the week:
– Despite the spate of “CES is Dead” stories that ran in various publications last week, I thought the show was vibrant and lively as ever. It had the most exhibitors ever, and while I haven’t heard attendance figures yet, it was pretty robust from what I saw.
– As for it being Microsoft’s last time there, I went to their keynote and it was nothing special; just about nothing new announced, although Windows 8 does look promising. Ryan Seacrest “interviewed” Steve Ballmer, and I’m guessing his paycheck for that appearance was about what I’ll make this year. Here’s my coverage of the keynote.
– I covered the Intel keynote as well; it was one of the highlights two years ago but this year was rather boring, mostly fixated on ultrabooks, which mostly look to me like Windows knockoffs of the Macbook Air from two years ago. Then, at the end, Will.i.am showed up, looking as though he’d been asleep backstage ten seconds earlier. Here’s my Intel writeup.
Here’s my report about a panel I went to featuring the directors of three James Bond movies- John Glen, Michael Apted and Martin Campbell- marking the 50th anniversary of the 007 films and the upcoming Blu-ray set. Also on hand were the two Bond girls from the two Daniel Craig films; one of them tried on two occasions to pronounce “CES” and failed both times.
– Other celebrity sightings: No Maria Bartiromo this year, as CNBC was replaced as the main broadcast partner by… Spike TV? But Carl Lewis was on my plane, I walked by Robert Horry signing autographs at the Haier booth, and I just missed Terry Francona and Orel Hershiser making an ESPN appearance. Thankfully, I wasn’t there for Colin Cowherd’s live broadcast, either. Also at the show, although not near anywhere I was, were Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Justin Bieber, Snooki and various others.
I wrote about ESPN’s screening, in 3D on a huge screen, of the BCS National Championship game, which looked pretty cool, although I had to leave not long into the game to catch the Ballmer keynote.
– Speaking of 3D, at last year’s show Toshiba showed a prototype of their glasses-free 3D TV, which was pretty clearly not ready for prime time and never came out in the U.S. But they showed a newer version and… wow. This thing could actually work, and I’ve got a feeling every manufacturer will have one next year or the year after. It’s coming out domestically this spring.
– Here’s my report on the unveiling of Nokia’s new Windows-based smartphone. My first-ever cell phone was a Nokia and I’m glad to see them back in the U.S., although if they can dent the iPhone/Android duopoly remains to be seen.
– And here’s a slideshow I put together of various sights from the show.
– Other Vegas notes, Peter King-style:… I stayed at Bally’s, and generally liked it. It’s not the best hotel, but it’s right in the middle of everything, and being able to periodically hear the crash of the Bellagio fountain was kind of nice… Something I’d never noticed before- homeless people on Strip dressed in knockoff costumes of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Spongebob and others, and begging for money. Seeing these people with the heads off smoking- or one guy, drinking a beer through the Mickey head’s mouth- is among the sadder sights imaginable…. One guy did have a much better costume- he was dressed as Galifianakis in “The Hangover,” complete with fake beard and fake baby… I took cabs three times and not a single time did the driver, apropos of nothing, try to steer me to a specific strip club and/or massage parlor. Vegas is changing… I ate lunch one day at Serendipity 3 at Caesars, since I’ve been to the one in New York many times, and they gave me literally the largest sandwich I’ve ever seen. I actually had to cut it into thirds.
– Follow the work of myself and my colleagues at the @dealerscope and @technologytell Twitter feeds; the latter is for the new company’s Tell magazine, which launched at the show. See the digital edition of the first issue- featuring a column and two reviews by yours truly- here.

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