A tale from the bowels of CES 2013
I showed up for a presentation on day one of CES. It was the last one for my day, and I’d been thinking about skipping it, as I really just wanted to lie down and sleep for about ten hours at that point. Walking for six hours nonstop on a bruised toe is a lot tougher on the constitution than I’d expected, and I was ready to drop.
Still, I decided to go anyway. When I arrived, the doors were closed, with two women guarding the door. They told me they were having some setup issues and to come back a little later. I was already ten minutes late to the event due to hobbling from extreme ends of CES, so it appeared there were some major problems going on. This intrigued me enough to stick around and wait.
I came back a little later. They informed me that the 4:30 start time had been pushed to 5 p.m., but that they were going to play the video for the three people who were in the audience seats now, and replay it again at the new start time.
A women went to a laptop in front of a projector screen, pressed a button, and the video started. I heard audio from somewhere, but it wasn’t very loud. I realized quickly this was because the audio was being played out of what appeared to be one of the HMDX wide Bluetooth speakers I briefly considered covering but decided to skip, since I already had two others I was writing about.
The audio at the podium microphone was working, however, so the presenter and the woman took the Bluetooth speaker and put it in front of the mic. This didn’t quite work, due to the mic not cooperating. Some rigging was done (I think they used a coffee cup to prop the speaker up high enough) and the audio was solved.
The video itself was not terribly interesting. It’s a product video that, if you closed your eyes, sounded like any other product video you’ve ever run across. If you opened your eyes, you were greeted with a guy standing in front of the most absurd, possibly naked, picture of two women looking at what I can only imagine is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen . . . which in this case sort of looked like it’s the product’s endorser.
A little time goes by, and two of the people in the audience mention they’re the investors, which leaves me and one other person there as the only ones who weren’t actually involved with this particular company. I started plotting my exit, now that I was outnumbered roughly eight to one. I’m pretty sure that there was a misunderstanding on either my part or theirs, too, as this was not the product I was quite expecting, although it does contain some of the words of the product I was expecting.
The video plays again as the meeting officially started. There’s a PowerPoint presentation that the speaker had an assistant flip through, as there is no remote control for the laptop. The app component of the product was revealed at some point after saying that Windows is dead, and the desktop model is finished. It’s the Windows logo. I had to check to make sure. It’s off by one color, but it’s the Windows four panel logo.
I’m ready to go. My phone starts ringing from a number I am not familiar with in Nashville. Usually when I get these, it’s some sort of emergency I have to deal with at work, such as the phone system being down, or someone in the hospital after a wreck, so I pick it up, whisper “one second,” and make my way out of the room.
It wasn’t an emergency, but as I’m getting off the phone, I notice that nobody’s speaking inside. They were waiting for me to return! There went my exit. I couldn’t abandon a presentation that waited on me.
I went back in and watched the rest of the presentation. I believe six of the people thanked me for being there when it was finally over.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was already working on a story about another company that was doing pretty much the same thing that they were about to roll out for free. They’ll probably do great in the business market for their product, but the home market is about to explode elsewhere from a much nicer looking and completely developed app that doesn’t look like the Windows logo.
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