CES was supposed to be in person this year. The Verge and countless other outlets had hotel rooms confirmed and airlines booked. Companies teased cool gadgets that would have made CES feel exciting again after the muted all-digital affair of 2021. But COVID surged and CES saw massive cancellations. Some companies pivoted to digital booths, others canceled keynotes, and a few just withdrew altogether. CES even announced it would end a day early. The return to normal CES might have heralded never materialized.
But something else happened: the news that came out of CES actually got us excited. For the last two years we’ve ruminated on what the point of CES even is. In 2020 we said CES was “a lot of show with not much very substance,” and in 2021 that statement was still on our minds.
But after a very muted CES 2020, followed by the very weird all-digital CES 2021, we were surprised to find the show was still capable of surprising and sometimes even delighting us. We can’t be sure what CES will look like in 2023.