Air disaster doesn’t dampen CES

January 6, 2014

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) doesn’t begin until tomorrow, but early press events are already hinting at themes that will dominate the annual confab of computer geeks, technology insiders, and gizmo lovers of all shapes and sizes.

We arrived in Las Vegas after a hellish day of travel that transformed a five-hour flight into a 19-hour marathon of ice storms, plane de-icings, delays, and a pilot who blamed much of the chaos on new regulations that he still didn’t understand. (Just for the record, never tell a plane full of anxious passengers taking off in an ice storm that you don’t understand flight rules.)

Nonetheless, after my colleague Mike Lizun was repeatedly corrected by airline attendees that making three reservations on one credit card is not the same as having one reservation, we were determined not to allow snow, sleet, or rain keep us from our appointed path, especially when there are Internet-enabled toothbrushes and drones to see. Already, our curiosity’s been piqued by:

Wearables. No. Not Google Glass — the 2014 equivalent of a pocket protector (nothing screams nerd louder!). Rather, wearable devices that track and monitor the human condition seem to be taking center stage this year at CES. Smart watches, Fitbit, and other wrist-worthy technology have won the early hype with many more rounds to come. Made possible by a new generation of cheap, small chips, this year’s wearables are novelties of sorts, tracking sleep, workouts, and walking distances. But they are the forbearers of a generation of devices that I think will eventually resemble watches that track all variety of physiological activity, actions, behavior, and whereabouts.

Great PR stunts. I thought crop circles were so 1993 X-Files. Guess not. Nvidia won early PR mojo by carving a new chip design into a California wheat field, and then leaving the world to wonder. The stunt set the early show abuzz; winning awareness for what would otherwise have been overlooked. Creative and effective.


THE INTERNET TOOTHBRUSH: This one-of-a-kind electronic was one of the first things to pique our interest.

A rush to the brush. Okay, so I led with it. By now, everyone is talking about the Internet-enabled toothbrush introduced by Kolibree at the pre-CES press event. This year’s answer to the Hapifork, which last year promised to count every calorie you consumed, Kolibree’s toothbrush is likely to suffer a similar forgotten fate. But for now, it’s enough to elicit a toothy chuckle.

We’re here all week at CES and plan to share the new, the novel, the weird, and the inspiring with you. From the show floor, this is Greg, Mike, and Jake from Gregory FCA.

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