What to expect at CES 2023
Taking a deep As I write this, I breathe deeply. Next week, TechCrunch’s first in-person meeting will be held. CES In three years.
Phew. It felt good to finally get it off my chest.
Our last trip to Las Vegas was for the event. January 2020. An auspicious date. It wasn’t long before the whole world was pear-shaped. According to the CTA (Consumer Technology Association), 117,000 people attended. It was a huge event that its governing body would prefer you not to call. The Consumer Electronics ShowIn recent decades,, has grown to be a sprawling affair.
It is impossible to see the whole show. In my younger days, when I was more optimistic, I tried to see as much as possible. I also made a good effort at walking through every hall. As the show has expanded beyond the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s become more difficult to do so. There is the Venetian Convention and Expo Center (RIP the Sands), countless hotels suites, and numerous official and unofficial events spaces orbiting around the strip.
The CTA has been in a sort of existential crisis the past three years, just like many other producers of live events. After much foot-dragging, the organization finally admitted that they needed an in-person. CES 2021 It was a bad idea for everyone involved, and the transition to a virtual event was difficult. The show did not coincide with the omicron spike last year and TechCrunch, among others, decided to leave that one out. Holiday travel and highly contagious new strains were a bridge too far.
The numbers for last year were significantly lower than the previous year. CTA estimated that the event was attended by “well over 40,000” people (the most common figure), which is a 75% decrease from 2020. This is a remarkable drop but, given the circumstances at the time, it was a victory in a way. CTA claims it is on track to reach 100,000 this year. Given that there isn’t another COVID-19 variant, it seems probable that there will be at least a significant jump in 2022.
My suspicions that the CTA didn’t want people to become too comfortable with the virtual event in 2021 are likely shared by many others. Before COVID, there was a long-standing debate about the effectiveness of in-person tech events. CES and other hardware shows have a significant advantage in this debate, focusing on products that can be seen in person. Despite this, it has been shown that it is possible to cover the show fairly well from your living room.
However, we have moved beyond the conversation about “the new norm” (honestly when was that phrase last used in earnestness?) The new normal was created when we were not looking. The new normal is that virus doesn’t exist simply because we say it does. It has happened three times to me, including once at a Vegas trade show. Well, yeah. Do you realize that the act of attending a show that claims to draw in 100,000 people means that there is a reasonable expectation that I will be looking down at time number four in mid January? Absolutely. The CES COVID These protocols are available. The bottom line is that you don’t need to have vaccinations, testing, or masking, but you can if necessary. This is pretty much the norm at this point.
Is it still worth going? Yes, I believe so. I mean, I’m going. Other TC staff are also going. We have reduced our presence in the past, and I expect this to continue. Given the amount of CES news released via press releases and the fact that almost every press conference is streamed live, it’s important to be smaller and more strategic when covering events like this.
This is not a result of a new, endemic virus. It’s also a result of a changing media landscape. Despite all the issues I have with the event, there is something that makes me nostalgic for the days of pure, uncut blogging back before everything became paywalled. While there is value in shows like these, TechCrunch is primarily focused on finding the right people and meeting them to work on cool things. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I came back to 1,600 unread email after a few weeks. This list was created by us, and I will be reviewing it twice more before I board a plane next week.
CES has experienced a few crises before these specific circumstances. As is the nature of these things, figures have fluctuated over the years. The CTA’s smartest move in recent years has been to lean into the automotive sector. The embrace of high-tech systems in cars has grown significantly from its humble beginnings. It’s almost like a new breed of automobiles. CES has become a car show When none of us were looking.
Timing is one of the show’s most important plays. To the dismay of everyone who has tried to take some time off over the holidays, it is positioned as the first show for the year to set the pace for the remaining 11.5 month. Although CES officially begins on January 5, the press days take place two days earlier. To make sure we have everything covered, this year I will be flying out on January 2. There have been many years when I flew in on the 1st. Let’s just say that I’m glad that I quit drinking a few years ago.
The show is positioned right at the start of the year to give it a few months ahead of major auto shows such as the ones in Chicago, Atlanta, and New York. We will have a chance to see a lot of EVs, autonomous driving systems, and eVTOLs. Expect big news, including keynotes. BMW And Stellantis. The show features a lot of automotive news from chip makers AMD and Qualcomm.
Hyundai will be a prominent presence at the show, bridging the gap between automotive, mobility, and robotics. My overstuffed inbox shows that it will be a big year for robotics. From consumer to the presence key industrial startups in a wide range of categories, it will be a huge one. Robotics is always a difficult topic at CES. Big companies love to display flashy robots that never travel anywhere (believe it, the Sony Aibo is a relative success story there), while there will be tons of robotic toys. The show is still a great place for real breakthroughs. For a complete breakdown, stay tuned to Actuator next week.
My inbox is also flooded. Web3 and crypto Pitches, despite the fact I can count on one-hand the number of times that I have written about the subject in my 6 years at TechCrunch. To say that the industry was in a difficult time is an understatement. 2022 is like saying Elon “still figuring things out” as Twitter CEO. The believer believes that their solution is the only way to solve all human problems. This belief will continue to permeate every aspect of the show, ironically. Climate.
I would love to see sustainability be a major theme at CES. There is apparently a section in the Convention Center’s North Hall. Although there have been a few climate companies at the show I have not been overwhelmed by them. This year, I hope, is the year that things start to change. The same goes for accessibility. This is something that I have heard of from a few companies at the show.
There has been much written about Amazon’s Alexa struggles in recent years. It’s clear that the smart home market has not worked out as everyone expected. However, I do anticipate a lot of press at CES, bolstered with Matter. This standard, which is supported by Amazon, Apple, and Google among others, has really gained momentum over the past few months. If everything goes according to plan, this CES is a significant moment as the various categories connected home will be showcased. gadgets They are fully displayed.
AR/VR — Yes, I repeat this every year. This one is still not as successful as smart homes. The recent launch of Meta’s Quest Pro The big VR news will be anchored by HTC’s Vive tease. AR will likely become even more widespread. Augmented reality is more than virtual reality. It feels like the Wild West. There are many hardware manufacturers competing for your attention. CES isn’t traditionally very gaming-focused, but Sony makes it a focal point of its own press conference, and we’ll likely get some time with PlayStation VR.
Shows should show some love to wearables. The ring form factor has seen tremendous success thanks to Oura. We have already written up Movano’s preshow announcement. Google, Samsung, and Apple do the majority of their gadget announcing at events, but CES offers a chance for smaller firms to get some attention. Withings and other companies like it will likely place a greater emphasis on health metric monitoring. The initial pandemic push has fueled a new trend of connected home fitness.
Mobile phones are still a non-starter. Mobile World Congress is where all the magic happens. You can expect a few announcements from hardware companies like Sony and Lenovo, which aren’t very well-known in North America. This has been a major show for PCs in the past. While Lenovo, Asus, and Dell are all big players, AMD and Nvidia could offer some big news about their chips.
Although we don’t cover them as much, CES is big for TVs in every sense. TCL, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Sony will likely have the most recent, greatest, and largest. QD-OLED, MLA OLED and IMAGINE are the magic words or letters.
The press days are January 3-4, and the official opening of the CES show floor is January 5. Make sure to plan accordingly
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.