Someone forgot to tell several hundred members of the press.
Every year on the eve of the keynote, the event's organisers hold a special preview event for media known as "Unveiled" in which both established and up-and-coming vendors can show off their products and chat with reporters over food and drinks.
Normally, the event is just that, a casual chat session with vendors accompanied by the odd handheld video camera or voice recorder. Though crowded, last year's Unveiled event was fitted into one of the Sands Expo Center's larger meeting halls and went off with little chaos.
This year was a totally different story: the event was held in one of the ballrooms at the adjoining Venitian hotel and was a fully-fledged hall of press hysteria. The normal cabal of tech journos and gadget bloggers was matched with a gaggle of mainstream press, both print and television. Camera crews dominated space in front of some exhibitors, while packs of reporters jockeyed for space in front of others. On one wall, a full radio studio had been constructed for a live broadcast, while another wall sported an impromptu TV studio with lighting, two chairs and a CES logo backdrop.
Perhaps this is just reflective of new coverage styles and a change in media focus. With the huge splash consumer devices such as the iPhone and Wii have made in the general media, electronics shows are increasingly fodder for the evening news broadcast. Or perhaps many organisations, fearing a thin show floor, are trying to wrap up their coverage early.
However, if the Unveiled event is indeed a barometer for how the rest of the event will go, CES 2009 will be as crowded, chaotic and buzz-worthy as ever.
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