CES 2012: Understanding what you hear on the show floor

While showing off the new gadgets, certain phrases are commonly heard at the CES. Here's what they really mean.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

It is CES week in Las Vegas and thousands of attendees are jostling for position in the crowded show booths to get a glimpse of the latest and greatest gadgets. The representatives working in the booths are trained how to best show the toys, and answer all questions about them appropriately.

After attending shows like CES for years, you hear a lot of the same buzz words and phrases. Here are the most commonly heard booth snippets, and what the representatives really mean by them. Even if you're not attending the CES, chances are you'll see these phrases quoted in the coverage.

See also: CES 2012: ZDNet’s news and product coverage

We don't have a ship date or pricing for that yet. This means the product is not even on the company's product roadmap. Otherwise it would surely have an estimated ship date and pricing. It may not appear this year, or even at all. Note that both ship dates and pricing are always lumped together; representatives are not allowed to answer one of those questions without offering the other.

That's just a prototype. It's locked away under glass because it doesn't even work, and you'll quickly figure that out if we let you touch it. Our engineers were able to make the pretty outside, but there's nothing inside it at all. Sure, you'll be seeing this on store shelves sometime soon.

This fantastic gadget is our reference design. We call it that because we're a component maker, not a device maker. We can't get device makers to buy enough of our chips, so we built this pretty device to show how smart we are. Since we don't sell devices and nobody is buying our chips, you won't see this after the show, ever.

This is the thinnest/lightest/fastest/cheapest [device type] ever made. We have to say that as this one is just like everyone else's, so we sat around with tape measures and stop watches to figure out how we can claim we're better.

Up to 8 hours battery life. More like five with normal use, but by turning everything off including the screen, we squeezed 8 hours once.

Sorry, the [gadget name] can't be used while held like that. Why the heck didn't it occur to us that someone would want to hold it like that? That makes so much sense. Maybe they can fix that in the second iteration.

It's better than the iPad/iPhone/MacBook Air. I hate my job so much. If only Apple had ever called me back.

Image credit: Flickr user khelvan

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