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CES Diary: Scenes from the show floor

A look at a few highlights and impressions from CES 2014's first day.

By , Network World
January 08, 2014 09:38 AM ET

Network World - CES, as you may have read in this very publication, is big. Like, really, really big. The Las Vegas Convention Center has 3.2 million square feet of floor space, of which CES this year used about two thirds, and it’s easy to get genuinely lost in the vastness of the main halls.

It’s not my first time at CES – that was last year, as you can read in this somewhat fanciful piece I wrote at the time – so I’m considerably less star struck, and therefore able to give you a better insight into what it’s like on the show floor.

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Of course, given that, as I mentioned, CES is essentially its own suburb of Las Vegas for the week or so it’s in town, I’d probably have to write a book to give a complete overview. There are 3,200 individual exhibitors, whose booths range from cavernous, glitzy stage sets full of Lamborghinis to miniscule little stands with plain-lettered signs proclaiming the attendance of the Shenzhen something-or-other-company. (There are lots of these.) Here instead, are a few highlights from the floor on opening day.

*The Lamborghini

ces 2014
Credit: Jon Gold

One of the gaudier publicity stunts at this year’s CES is audio giant Monster’s inclusion of a $4.5 million Lamborghini Venona, modified with a custom-built Monster sound system, in its exhibit. The sound system apparently cost $50,000, which I guess shouldn’t faze you if you’re in the market for a $4.5 million car that you’re probably not cool enough to drive anyway.

The system, along with ludicrous trimmings like subwoofers in the footwells, includes an Android-powered control touchscreen, according to Pocket-Lint. That’s in keeping with one of the big narratives of this year’s show, which is the twin rise of automotive and “Internet of things”-type technology.

*Lots of weird fake cars

CES 2014
Credit: Jon Gold

Also in the automotive section, there were lots of technology demonstrators that required the general suggestion of a car shape, but didn’t require an actual car. Hence, you got plenty of mock-ups like this one, which lended a further level of futuristic surrealism to the show floor. This, for the record, is a mock-up of Pioneer’s NEX navigation and car control system.

The phenomenon was particularly common among car stereo makers, though there were also plenty who took the opportunity to show off well-appointed real vehicles. Nobody else brought a Lamborghini, though, so Monster can rest easy.

*A little robot that cleans your grill

ces 2014

If I’m honest, this is something I’ve done maybe once in my life, which may explain why I don’t grill that much anymore. Still, let me just say that if I did have a grill-cleaning robot, rest assured my grill would be among the cleanest in all Massachusetts. Heck, I probably wouldn’t cook food any other way. I’d have to figure out some new pasta recipes, that’s for sure, but I would make it work.

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