Coming Up Next Week: The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020!

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If I had to summarize what I expect I’ll see next week at CES into three words it’d be: Huh, that’s different.

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, is of course the annual gathering of the world’s tech companies to show off their consumer wares. Held in Las Vegas, it attracts thousands of exhibiting companies and usually hundreds of thousands of attendees. Actually, 4,400 exhibiting companies and 175,212 people to be exact for last year. Like any industry, the importance of the show ebbs and flows throughout the years.

Products like big screen TV’s and connected appliances have always been a huge driver of CES, with other products like cameras and cell phones taking on varying levels of new product introductions depending on the year. In the last 5 or so years, we’ve seen sports technology products find their way to CES, with the peak of that time period being about 2-3 years ago – when nearly an entire hall was filled with them. Companies like Peloton, iFit, TomTom, Fitbit, Garmin, and many others would spend millions of dollars on the event – often with high profile product introductions.

But in the last 1-2 years, many larger companies have realized that’s mostly a waste of money. They can get roughly the same media exposure (which is what CES is mostly about, save trade meetings) with standalone events. In most cases, they’ll get better media exposure actually. With thousands of companies exhibiting at CES, media publications only have so much time to spend with any one company/product. Even major players that on a random day in February would get headline tech news, might only get a one-paragraph mention and a stock photo.

We saw this last year where the wearables/sports tech hall essentially evaporated. Sure, companies you know like Garmin, GoPro, and Suunto were there. But gone were the Fitbit’s and Peloton’s of the world. Well, sorta. These companies simply moved into private conference rooms off the main show floor. The same goes for many companies from Wahoo to Microsoft to Apple. Everyone is still at CES, they just aren’t on the show floor. And that’s true this year as well.

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CES is however still a fantastic place to catch-up with those in the industry, including some product announcements from medium-sized players. It’s also a great place for smaller companies to try and catch any media they can for their announcements. These smaller companies and startups, if they play their social-media savvy cards right can manage to draw just enough attention to create a snowball effect. Which beats sending blind e-mails to reporters any day.

So – what do I expect to see from CES?

Some head turners. Nothing massively industry changing, but definitely things that’ll shift the trajectory of certain companies within the realms of products I review. These announcements will not only impact the companies themselves making the announcements, but also their competitors. Mostly notably in the wearables, action cams, and drones spaces. We rarely see cycling-related announcements at CES – and honestly haven’t for years.

As for me? I’ve got a reasonably full schedule. Nothing crazy like 2-3 years ago, but enough that I suspect sleep will be scarce the first night or two, and then settle out after that. My trip is shorter than previous years – the known announcement slate simply doesn’t require staying an entire week. I’ve got lots of meetings for things that might not announce for months, so while I might be super busy, it doesn’t mean there will be dozens of posts next week (thankfully!). Of course, there’s always last minute curveballs that usually keep things interesting.

The show floor officially opens Tuesday morning, however you’ll see announcements from multiple companies on Sunday and Monday. With anything and everything being announced happening by Tuesday morning at 9AM US Pacific Time. Though as usual, it might take me a day or so beyond that to get through less high profile product launches. Also, I have some ‘interesting’ things up my sleeve to bring home. Stay tuned!

Oh – and don’t forget to follow on Twitter & Facebook, where I’ll be posting all sorts of random tidbits and the latest breaking announcements. As well as on Instagram for all sorts of behind the scenes tidbits. Enjoy!

(Also, as always – if you’re a company and are planning a CES announcement within the realm of my usual things, and we haven’t chatted already…then definitely hit me up at the contact thingy up above. Cheers!)

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36 Comments

  1. Bruce Burkhalter

    Good luck at the show. Not sure if CES is more exhausting than a marathon but it is close. 🙂

    The company I work for gave up booth space and now shows in a private meeting area. So much quieter and can spend quality time with the people you want to talk. Throw in a DJ and food/drinks and people want to go there. 🙂

    Looking forward to the Karma 2 announcement! 😉

  2. T V D

    Ray,

    Any sign of the stages l50 in depth review anytime soon? Still waiting for it 😉

  3. Dennis

    Any news for ces on suunto

  4. jww

    This captures the evolving feel of CES really nicely.

    The Strip is now overrun with industrials and auto’s while the CE’s backroom or bail altogether.

    Fitbit backroomed 2 years ago … coincidentally as Ionic took a dive in Nov-Dec

    Then theres the Gopro strategy … keeps paying for big booth despite no new cams.

    Suppose DJI could be most active?

    • DJI will definitely be the gorilla in the drone section. Though, I don’t expect much in the way of announcements. They’ve shifted that these days to their own events, which works well for them.

      As for GoPro, that’s tougher. It’s always a packed booth at CES – there’s no doubting that. Of course, they haven’t made product announcements there in years, but they their CEO usually speaks each year there, and this year is no different. Every year he tends to offer some snippets of what’s coming. Sometimes more clear-cut, and sometimes just hints. We’ll see…

  5. RobertB

    Hi Ray, any chance you could pop by Xiaomi and see what the MI Watch looks like please? It’s loaded with firstbeat stuff. Having owned their phones for years I’ve high hopes for their watch, supposedly 36hr standby, which would be amazballs for Android wear.

    • Yeah, will give a swing by!

    • RobertB

      Thank you, in addition to my FR645 I got a wear os fossil sport recently at a silly price.with the sportygo app I can use my stryd, heart rate is mostly right. But the biggest issues are slow GPS acquisition sans phone and abysmal battery life. Here’s hoping Xiaomi nail those problems.

      Here’s hoping for some FR655/745 news too, watch addict or a fool and his money…. 😀

  6. Anne

    Hi Ray, Any chance you will be doing a DCR group run?

  7. Juan Becerra

    Hey Ray, will you organize a run for followers in LV?

  8. Alistair Flack

    Love the idea of interesting things up your sleeve, being watches, quite literally under your sleeves 😉

  9. Hoping for some fitness trackers >- swimming dynamics.

  10. Matthew Nguyen

    Garmin, Please give me a 945/955 or Fenix with LTE so I can ditch my phone. Calls would be nice, but I mainly just want it for live tracking/safety.

    • Yeah, I think for live tracking and such – that type of functionality like we saw in the Vivoactive 3 Music LTE is good. Where it all falls apart unfortunately is for iOS users, as iMessage can’t convert over.

    • Matthew Nguyen

      Yep I’m fine with VA3m-like functionality (although syncing via WiFi for music would be preferred). I’m and iOS user, but I can deal without iMessage while on runs.

  11. Nathan

    Want to see a new VIRB. Just to keep things interesting.

    And for me, a new Blackberry would be cool to see. Sticking with them and, whenever I need to use something else, I’m happy I did.

  12. ALEXANDRE GUILHEN

    Would like to see a new Garmin Foot Pod with ant+ and Bluetooth as precise as an Stryd but cheaper.
    Also a new HRM-Tri with ant+ and Bluetooth, with the Running Dynamics but like the HRM-Dual with the sensor not glued to the strap.
    Would buy both.

  13. Chris

    Hoping for forerunner 655. Hopefully with two size options like in vivoactive 4. Do you know if garmin will have any forerunner announcements? 🙂

  14. Matthew

    Will be interesting to see what Suunto have coming. There has been a lot of discounting before Christmas so am expecting to see something exciting shiny and new

  15. Ebenezer

    Hey do you expect Garmin and Polar to make an announcement during the CES?

  16. MiniEggs

    I really want Garmin to support Ordnance Survey 1:25k maps on the fenix

    Apple, Casio support them through the Viewranger app

  17. Don

    I figure the Nuurv Run, an insole with sensors built in will be something you’ll want to check out. Analyzes gait, speed, footstrike, and stride length.

  18. Alex

    Pretty disappointed with CES, particularly on the Garmin side. Had hoped for a number of new watches being announced such as the Forerunner 655, 745 and also clarification on what the Fenix 6 Sport was meant to be.

    I’m looking to replace my existing Forerunner 645M in the next couple of months and it likely comes down to either a Fenix 6 or a Forerunner 655. The Fenix 6 has features such as multisport and maps that I don’t need and is bulkier. Hence was hoping CES would provide more clarity on the direction to go.

    Alex

    • …and thus the challenge with the rumor mill. A lot of times, it’s just rumors spun up to a frenzy.

    • Ebenezer

      Ray, I for once was waiting for you to deliver some amazing news from Garmin also either on the hardware or software side. Do you know if Garmin is considering voice commands on their devices ( i.e Alex or Google).