En route to Vegas, I got myself completely ready for “liveblogging” CES 2010. My plan was to walk the show floor, find interesting stuff, and either make a quick video or take a picture and blog. In order to achieve this goal, I had the following technologies prepped:
- My Droid Eris. I was fairly confident that the Verizon network would hold up well during the show, giving me 3G bandwidth when and where I’d need it. Further, it has a 5MP camera – good enough for CES picture taking. Usefulness: 9/10.
- Ardica jacket w/Moshi Power Pack. Stage Two is doing some consulting work with Ardica, so they gave me a jacket to use during the show in order to keep my Eris charged (since the battery while doing 3G connectivity drains ridiculously fast). Usefulness: 10/10. And as a bonus it kept me warm outside!
- Flip minoHD. As my backup to my Droid, I had a Flip ready to make all sorts of interesting videos, just in case. Usefulness:2/10. I only made one video with the Flip, but it did work when I needed it.
- WpToGo (Android App). Gave me near-perfect mobile access to the WordPress blog. Usefulness: 8/10
- Ustream Broadcaster (Android App). Gave me live videostreaming directly from the phone. Usefuless: 9/10
- TwiDroid (Android App). Gave me access to Tweet and monitor Tweets. Usefulness: 9/10
Right now you’re probably thinking “well golly jee, Jeremy, it sure sounds like you were set up as the ultimate mobile blogger. What ever could have gone wrong?”
First, while the network connectivity far outpaced my iPhone friends, it still just wasn’t good enough for really watchable mobile video. My friend “Tivoboy” sent me a note that said “live stream is cool and novel, but vid quality is poor doesn’t make for real viewing or ANY future use.” After receiving that (4 videos later), I pretty much stopped. Here’s a sample video:
So, now that I was reduced to still imagery and blogging, I ran into the next hurdle: I’m amazingly slow at typing on my Eris, and CES is really busy. Every time I took a pic, I wanted to upload and write right away, but in reality I pretty much had to keep moving. So I decided to keep the major storytelling for after I returned, and used Twitter for any “real-time” updates. I’ll spend the rest of the week getting all the content online (depending on how much MW2 I end up playing).
Overall I thought it was a pretty decent CES. Nothing outstanding, but then there really hasn’t been much amazing to see at CES in years anyway. It’s the fundamental branding problem of the show. Further, the rapidity at which content was shared by Engadget and others radically diminished the in-person wow factor. When you already know about the various 3DTV, ultra-slim TVs, netbooks, tablets, e-readers, and everything else that’s being shown, it takes a bit away from the in-person showiness of it all.
I think this is the fundamental challenge to keep the show interesting and excited for the attendees (beyond their busy schedules full of meetings). By Friday afternoon (day 2) when I was walking the show with Robert Scoble and Rocky, we had already seen everything we wanted to see. This is compounded by the (and forgive the word) “lemming-ness” of the big players. Once 3DTV was pre-established to be a hot thing, it became the only thing, and as a result, boring. You simply can’t get excited by 5 different demos of the same technology (especially not one that many of us just aren’t excited about).