The Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing in Vegas right now. Confession: I'm not there and I have no shame about it.
Granted, it would be fun escaping January on the East Coast for Sin City right about now; especially if it included abusing Inc.'s expense account. The truth is that I've been there and done that. Before CES was the hot annual ticket in tech, there was Comdex in November. I used to go to that one every year faithfully as well.
Without a doubt, CES is dominating tech headlines right now. Some 250,000 people are estimated to visit. I'm not there. But, I have it on good authority that it's raining tablets there as we speak.
Blah, blah, blah... I say go to Vegas when you have more time to visit the Liberace museum.
Here are six reasons why CES is overrated:
1. It's the king of tech shows and yet the king of tech toys is, once again, a no-show: Apple!
2. The major product announcements that come out of CES are actually pre-announced before the show, so there are never any big surprises.
3. Products get announced and then we never actually see them again. Anyone remember that HP Slate that Ballmer showed off last year?
4. Products get announced long before they are ready to be launched, just to make sure they are shown at CES. By the time they come out in the second half of the year (or even later), we've forgotten all about them.
5. Speaking of Steve Ballmer; why does he still give the opening keynote? When you think visionary, when you ask yourself who are the real game changers in tech these days; does Microsoft really come to mind anymore?
6. CES has a credibility gap with me. It over-hypes trends for a week of interesting headlines and then, lo and behold, the trend tends to not pan out the rest of the year. Last year, 3-D television for the home was the big trend to watch in 2010. I'm still watching and I'm still seeing everything in 2-D. My flat screen is still truly flat.
By the way, two big clues the iPhone is coming soon to Verizon:
1. Apple employees have been told "no vacations" for three weeks starting around the end of January, going into February (right around the rumored time of an Verizon iPhone launch, as well as a possible iPad 2 launch).
2. AT&T just slashed the price of the iPhone 3GS to $49. Could this be one last push to rope in as many new customers as possible into that two-year contract, before they have the alternative to go somewhere else for an iPhone?