The big tech show in Vegas is next week, when hundreds of thousands descend to the desert to see the latest and greatest in consumer electronics. In recent years the mobile space has dominated the big show, from laptops and netbooks to tablets. This year will likely see more of the same, but with all of the fancy new products that will be unveiled at CES, there will be one thing lacking that lessens the impact of the big show. What you won't hear much is how cool new product X is "available now".
This year the big theme at the CES will be the Ultrabook, with at least 50 new models to be shown off for the first time. Every laptop maker will have the thin notebooks on display, touting all the reasons theirs are better than those across the show aisle. When you sift through all of the market-speak, you get to the reality of these great gadgets. That is the expected shipping date, which will be some time way in the future, if at all.
The problem with announcing product so far in advance is the wow factor is lost. CES attendees duly ooh and ahh over the cool new gadget, but if it won't hit the market for 6, 9, or 12 months (if at all), it loses the excitement. Long after the CES 2012 show concludes, tech sites will be asking "whatever happened to Gadget X that we saw at the CES"? Some of the coolest gadgets never come to market at all, and some that do seem to show up a year later.
It's cool to show off the latest and greatest, but the CES is losing its impact with consumers given the way it works. If you can't run out and buy the cool stuff, or at least plan to do so in the near future, the excitement dies off. How many of you can remember the "Best of Show" awardees for the past few years at the CES? Me neither.