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Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

CES Preview: Gadget Crowd Descends on Vegas

Hordes of gadget lovers, retail buyers, businesspeople and press landed in Las Vegas Wednesday ahead of the biggest electronics trade show of the year.

The International Consumer Electronics Show, a massive event put on by the Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Electronics Association trade group, attracts a few hundred thousand people to Sin City each year.

The show kicks off Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center and nearby hotels.

At the convention center Wednesday, exhibiting companies were putting the final touches on their booths. Most are set up so that attendees can get live demonstrations and meet with company representatives.

Others show off the latest gadgets—none of which are yet in stores.

The last CES, in January 2009, had a subdued feel as layoffs and the financial crisis dominated the news. It made it tough for visitors to get excited about new gadgets as industry watchers worried about plummeting consumer spending and rising unemployment.

The mood is decidedly different at this year’s show. There’s definitely a lot of anticipation about what hot gadgets will generate the most buzz.

It also seems a bit more crowded than last year, when attendance to the show dropped off dramatically.

The 2010 show is set to have more than 100,000 attendees, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That’s still less than half of the number that attended in 2008.

Still, there were lines of taxicabs snaking around the convention center and lots of badge-wearing show attendees walking around The Strip.

The casinos seem livelier, too.

CES itself nabs a lot of attention for its size and scope. That’s not to mention all the parties, celebrity appearances (Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, John Legend) and headline-worthy announcements.

Dozens of Orange County tech companies come out to the show. Many have spots on the show floor, while others take a low-profile approach by having one-on-one meetings in hotel suites with retail buyers and other customers.

Local companies on hand include Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology Co., Santa Ana’s SRS Labs Inc., Lake Forest’s Western Digital Corp., Fountain Valley’s D-Link Systems Inc., Irvine’s Boost Mobile LLC, Aliso Viejo’s Smith Micro Software Inc. and Irvine’s Toshiba America Information Systems, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., among others.

A slew of OC chipmakers are making a showing this year at CES, including Irvine’s Broadcom Corp., Laguna Niguel-based Symwave Corp., Newport Beach’s Conexant Systems Inc. and Irvine’s Quartics LLC.

A handful of local TV companies also are on hand, including Irvine’s Vizio Inc., Irvine-based Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc. and ViewSonic Corp., located just over the county line in Walnut.

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