CES 2011: Let Them Play

Last year while attending CES (The International Consumer Electronics show) in Las Vegas I was a bit taken back by all the devices in glass cases. When a new gadget was actually out on display and available for play, you still often to work pretty hard to find out what it was capable of doing.

Now I am not saying this was true of every booth, but it seemed to be pretty common of the gadgets I wanted to touch and play with. I understand the legal ramifications of having devices that are still in prototype status, but really, for your own benefit leave them at home if they are still too delicate or sensitive for attendees to handle.

Here are two examples. There was a new phone for the Android platform that I had gained a lot of buzz leading up to the conference. The booth was very modern with strange shapes and flashy displays. As I went for the demo model, a rep came up and politely said "it is for looks only, please don't touch". I felt like little Jimmy in the hallmark shop. They did have a gutted out case model of the phone but I left with a feeling of disdain whereas I had been anticipating all the features the phone model promised. Another example was at the Microsoft booth where the latest software was on display. Yes, I could read about it, but when I went to open up the featured software a license verification screen popped up asking me to enter the software key. Maybe that was a rare case but after discussing it with my business partners it seemed to be more common than you would hope.

I hate to say this, but let us take any Mac store in the nation as an example. iPads, iPod Touches, Apple TVs and MacBook Airs are all on display and fully installed with software easily accessible for browsing customers. You walk away having experienced exactly what you came to buy. There is no good reason any vendor at CES cannot emulate or even upstage Apple. With the amount of money that is spent on booth babes, parties, shipping and such there is no excuse to not put your best foot and product forward.

This is the show where we have come to be dazzled, make software deals with your new platform device, share your brilliance with all our industry friends and talk about you far into the first quarter of the year. Simply put, you need to let us play.

I will be at CES all week. If you have a question send me a message on twitter at @somagames. I'd like to know what gadgets you are most interested in this year.