Show an ad over header. AMP

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

Details: Plenty of tech companies announced their latest wares last week, including new TVs, laptops and appliances from Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Acer and others. (You can see our wrap-up of highlights here.)

  • There were just a lot fewer people paying attention, especially among the non-tech press, whose focus was decidedly elsewhere.

Between the lines: While keynotes were broadcast online and organizers of both the main show and side events did their best to replicate things virtually, much of the show's draw is in getting to meet people face to face and touch and use the latest products.

  • There were already concerns the show had grown too large. While this can be a sign of success, it's also the case that conventions can grow too unwieldy and eventually fade from prominence. Just ask the organizers of CeBit and Comdex.

Our thought bubble: By going virtual, CES was able to potentially market itself to a bigger audience. But holding attention is tougher for virtual events, especially those that stretch over days.

  • When people force themselves on to a packed airplane and overpay for a couple nights at the Wynn, they are likely to be in full CES mode from morning to night.
  • At home, it's easier to move on to other things, especially given all that is going on right now.

Yes, but: There may be a bump in demand once travel is safe, which will be an important opportunity for CES to reassert itself.

  • Show organizers also deserve credit for increasing the diversity of their keynote lineup, with three female CEOs speaking on Tuesday alone. It was just a couple years ago that organizers scheduled an event where all the corporate keynotes were from men.

What they're saying: CTA said more than 2,000 companies debuted products during last week's digital event, but acknowledged that it isn't a substitute for the in-person gathering and it looks forward to a hybrid digital/in-person event anchored in Las Vegas next year.

  • "The digital CES 2021 was not meant to replace or recreate an in-person tradeshow. In-person events will remain key to furthering business and economic growth around the world," a CTA representative said in a statement to Axios.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to congressional leadership

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

Keep reading... Show less

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

The Food and Drugs Administration on Saturdayissued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Keep reading... Show less

Italy tightens COVID restrictions for 5 regions amid warnings of a growing prevalence of variants

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.

Keep reading... Show less

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Keep reading... Show less

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions tostop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.
Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories