Some CES vendors merit less notice

February 5, 2012 12:00 am

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Every January, the Consumer Electronics Show comes. From December through the end of January, the emails arrive touting products that are going to set the world on fire starting with their great launches at the show. Now that the onslaught has settled down, I looked at my bulging inbox.

Most of the emails come from public relations people being paid to get the word out. I'm not sure whether they actually believe what they're saying or whether they're just making money off some sap who had a product idea. In many cases, they haven't even seen the products before sending their press release or broadcast message (although I don't usually find out that they have never used the product until I respond).

This year, more than 600 requests for meetings at CES and even more pure product pitches came in. As usual, there were dozens of pitches for device accessories -- as well as noise about docking ports with speakers, most of which look very similar to those from past years.

Imagine trying to pitch these products:

• A pager that runs on an iPhone or Blackberry. Why would anybody want to put a pager on his smartphone? Would they want to pay an extra $14 to $16 for monthly service just to say "You can page me"? Hasn't the developer heard of texting? It works just like paging.

• A portable monitor for the iPhone. The company that makes this product did a good job of development. It's a high-resolution (1600x900) screen that attaches to your iPhone by HDMI and has audio output. But why would someone pay $300 to carry a large, heavy screen? That's what iPads are for.

CES is like Las Vegas itself, glitzy and showy. Aisles upon aisles of booths in multiple convention halls in which consumer product vendors want to find the next big deal for their latest products.

Many displays are successful, but many vendors are still disappointed by their results. Perhaps they had only a few interested parties come to their booth or a lot of empty booth time spent waiting for the next visitor.

Empty booths rarely happen for the big vendors, but the majority of the displays are 10-foot-long booths manned by just a few people over several days. Even if a vendor got 200 business cards and made a couple of big deals, the vendor will still go home wishing he had more booth traffic, got more business cards or made more deals.

Sometimes, the disappointment will be inappropriate. Successful people are always looking for more, bigger and better. But there are some vendors who just don't get it. They don't understand why nobody stood up and cheered for their products.

The next set of emails is likely to be comments about my apparent negativity toward portable monitors or pagers on cell phones. If you have a contrary view, I'd love to hear why.

Follow David Radin on Twitter @dradin.
First Published 2012-02-11 01:53:11
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