I no longer fear hell, for I have been to CES 2011.
Okay, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic. But, as I haven't slept in something like 30 hours and I have around five hours until my next meeting, I'm going to call it 'fair'. If you've never been to a gigantic, 120,000 person tech conference, I'll try to sum it up for you.
Imagine a giant hand, throwing tablet PCs and new laptops and software at your face. Forever. And also, Steve Ballmer is there in an ugly red sweater and he smells like onions. And there are no plugs anywhere unless you are willing to kiss some serious ass to the (saintly) guys at the Lenovo booth. And the WiFi sucks. Seriously, I've gotten zippier connections in the middle of rural Oklahoma.
And yet, despite the fact that you are exhausted beyond all reason. Despite the fact that you end up cash-less and lost in the middle of a Vegas back-alley at 11:45 PM with nothing but a laptop case to defend your life with. Despite the fact that everyone around you (even the pretty girls) smells like they haven't bathed in two days (because most of them haven't), despite all that...
You feel fantastic. Because right now, you are riding a mighty wave headed straight for the Future. CES represents a glimpse at days that are yet-to-come. For the most part, those days aren't far off- a few months in most cases. A year or two in the rest. But occasionally, you see something like Asus' ridiculous trailer for the future that gives you a peek at Progress.
This is CES 2011. It's full of hot PCs, new connectivity options, glasses-free 3D and even the odd dishwasher. Things that Aren't Yet but Soon Will Be come here to get fondled, videotaped and shown off to an adoring world.
Tomorrow marks the first full day that the convention floor will be open. We'll see more tablets (including the Adam!) and enough Sandy Bridge PCs to build an atoll. I'll be there to cover it all. Unless creepy Kinect-Ballmer (pictured above) breaks into my hotel room in the night with a knife and the lust for vengeance at my accusation that he smells like onions.
Which he does. A little. Unless it was someone else. Such is the magic of CES.
In the gallery below are the first three booth babes of the year. Enjoy! There'll be plenty more where that came from tomorrow.