Photos: Behind The Scenes At CES 2011

While most of the reporters here spent this day before the official launch of CES 2011 going from press conference to press conference, I managed to convince a security guard that it was perfectly okay for me to walk around taking photos of the big booths being constructed.

Alas, no huge revelations hidden among the almost-built displays. A lot of 3D TVs, more tablets than you can swallow, more WiFi-connected fridges and dishwashers… mostly just improvements on stuff that’s been kicking around for some time.

The floor opens for everyone tomorrow morning and I’ll be out there with my Consumer Reports colleagues, sending updates from the show straight to our Twitter account.







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  1. TheGreySpectre says:

    New tablets would be nice, I would love a solid windows 7 tablet.

    • Alvis says:

      Windows XP is a nicer OS, and there are plenty of solid tablets running it already.

      • The Brad says:

        Sorry but Windows 7 is a superior OS to Windows XP. Vista is a different story.

        • Alvis says:

          But it’s so goddamn ugly!

          • The Brad says:

            Care to explain? I find 7 to be functional and and elegant at the same time. It’s better looking and easier to navigate than Unbuntu and I can control more features of the OS than OSX

            • Alvis says:

              I like my UIs clean and efficient. I take one look at translucent windows and taskbar thumbnail previews, and all I can think about is all those wasted CPU cycles.

              • webweazel says:

                I’m a fan of XP, also. It’s a solid OS that works great and I can tweak and tweak to my heart’s delight until it’s a sleek, efficient, and super-fast system that does exactly what I (emphasis on I) want it to. One of my relatives is a grumpy old fart who does not react well to change, and his XP computer fried recently. He picked up a new computer with Win 7 on it and says he is very happy with it. (!?!) I’d definitely, and probably repeatedly, hear ALL about it if he didn’t like it.
                As for all the eye candy junk, yeah, all I see is wasted cycles too. All that shit can be turned off as fast as my fingers can type in my browser or Google it.

      • UltimateOutsider says:

        Up until now, Win XP was a better OS for tablets/netbooks simply because the majority of them had only single-core processors and 1GB or less of RAM- and Win7 offers a poor experience under those limitations. But this year will see tablets with fast multicore procs and 2+ GB of RAM and Win7 is definitely a better experience with that kind of hardware.

        Unfortunately, all the freaking restart-required security updates Microsoft deploys (for both XP and Win 7) make Windows-based tablets a no-go for me. I have an XP based netbook I use every 3 weeks or so and EVERY TIME I USE IT I have to restart the dang thing due to critical updates. Defeats the purpose of having a grab-it-and-go netbook, IMHO.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      The ASUS Eee Slate EP121 was just announced. It’s the most promising Win7-based tablet I’ve seen yet.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Some of the photos are not loading for me. Not sure if this is a problem for others.

  3. topcad says:

    Where’s my flying car? 2015 is right around the corner!

  4. He says:

    Is anybody making new stupidphones for 2011? The current selection in the US kind of bites.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m sure companies are still making dumbphones, but I don’t know if it’s very impressive to present them at CES. People aren’t wowed by dumbphones. And if you’re looking for a phone that doesn’t do anything other than make phone calls, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding one that isn’t a poorly made plastic flip phone. Companies are devoting less time to dumbphones.

  5. Bruce W says:

    Not to be flip but three pictures. Some convincing. A ceiling shot of Intel’s booth, a picture of Mustang by SiriusXM and shot of MicroSoft’s booth showing screens…BIG DEAL……NOT!!!

    How about something of interest????

  6. jason in boston says:

    Chris: Any way to sneak into Mitsu’s booth to check out laser based front projection goodies?

  7. FuzzyWillow says:

    I wonder if someone is going to be running around this year with one of those “TV-B-Gone” remote controls. The youtubes from previous years were hilarious.

    I assume the presenters this year will be smart enough to cover their IR receivers with some tape of something.

  8. UltimateOutsider says:

    Nice, I worked on one of the products showcased in the lead photo.

    (The other pics aren’t loading for me either, BTW.)

  9. Consumeristing says:

    A Canon 5d Mark III PLEASE!

    • mistersmith says:

      Forget that, I just “upgraded” myself to the MK 1!

      Oh wait, no, come on MKIII, cuz then I can afford a used MKII!!

  10. mistersmith says:

    I was a tradeshow carpenter for a few years, the contractors that do the on-site construction of those booths. You won’t see much product in those photos, because it’s never in the booth until the show opens. This is for secrecy and for the security of the product: because union labor (guys like me were Carpenter’s and Cabinetmakers, guys moving heavy things were Teamsters) really does steal as much as everyone says. If you want breaking info, your best bet is to enter the booth space and look at the graphics hung near where products will go — basically giant descriptive ads for whatever tablet or phone is going to be sitting there when the show opens.

  11. gman863 says:

    Although I’m a closet geek, my thought is that CES has become an event for manufacturers to throw shit against the wall and see what sticks.

    Over the past several years I’ve seen countless gadgets debut at CES that were high-tech equals of Slap-Chop or Sham Wow: Overpriced and basically useless.

    The $3,000 refrigerator with a built-in TV? FAIL. The ‘frig with a built in barcode scanner that automatically updates your shopping list? FAIL. A dishwasher you can control via the Internet? Only if it loads the dishes, adds the detergent and latches the door. No? FAIL.

    I have nothing against new technology – just idiotic uses for existing technology.

    • webweazel says:

      Why exactly would someone want or need to run their dishwaser via the internet? I can’t seem to be able to wrap my brain around any reason whatsoever. You go and fill it, add detergent, and lock it. Do you then think, ‘gee, I’ll have to remember to turn this on tomorrow when I’m on my break at work’ or just hit the damn button while you’re standing there? A lot of newer dishwashers have time delays for the cycle so you can run it hours later if desired. That’s a nice feature. Stop there.

      A fridge with a TV? How about a fridge with a drop-down smaller inset door, so I can grab my milk or OJ without opening the big door and letting all the cold out? They USED to sell them. Energy efficiency and all that jazz. Ahhh, not “flashy” or “blinky” enough for the ADD-addled masses constantly distracted by shiny objects?

      Fridge with a barcode scanner? I bet the software that comes with it will be as wonderful as the software that comes with computer peripherals like scanners and cameras. Basically, ultra-frustrating hand-holding trash that pisses me off constantly and is not worth the bits burned into the CD.

      I want my appliances to be simple, and just plain work without major issues for their entire expected lifespan. Adding all this electronic bullshit just for the sake of adding it with no real reason, is not innovation. It’s better to think “just because you CAN doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD.” Its just, as I like to say, “more shit to break”. As we obviously can see about the issues they have had with electronic circuit boards in fridges and other appliances frying quite frequently for quite a long time now, necessitating the hassle and cost of repeated repair calls and being anally raped on the price of repair parts. Pass.

      • erinpac says:

        They hardly ever use tech that’s available in any innovative ways. You want to connect the kitchen to the net? Well, half the food has no scan bars, and people won’t remember. That’s not gonna work well. For grocery lists, if they really must up the tech on those, if it would just send a few low res photo shots over wifi to my phone when I leave for the grocery store, I could get to the juice aisle and look to remember what I had – no effort required before hand. If they just want to help home cooking, perhaps I could set an oven to start 30 minutes before the GPS in another cell phone estimates it will arrive home, after it looks at the route and traffic reports. Or could the phone just pop up an IM on a home computer *home in 5 minutes* automatically? I’d love my phone to send a text to family when I’m starting my drive home each day, as a heads up, but sadly that was a swing and a miss for the Sync in the car. Also… the car connects to my network and download updates and addresses from there. It will sync with an iPod. It will store mp3s. Is it a leap to sync with a folder of mp3s on the network? :-/

        They try the same old ideas regardless.

        • webweazel says:

          I’ve seen quite a few revolutionary innovative change ideas over the years. Internet-0 and the touchscreen countertop displays are two that come to mind that I would love to have right now. Problem is, the engineers are too busy developing internet-enabled dishwashers to be concentrating on projects that could truly be considered revolutionary. When any of these revolutionary ideas DO finally come out, they cost more than a small house or the price of a brand new car and then wonder why they’re not selling any. Duh.

  12. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    All these technological juggernaughts, and not ONE Mr. Fusion Home Energy Converter!?

    Tech Industry, I am Disappoint. :I

  13. GuidedByLemons says:

    “Alas, no huge revelations hidden among the almost-built displays.”

    Um, Windows on ARM is absolutely massive.