Ars may be turning 20, but the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) makes us feel downright youth-y. The annual tech gathering has been around quite a while at this point, some 50-plus years. And over that time, the show has hosted countless industry-wide announcements big (IoT everywhere, the Windows 7 public beta), small (USB C, 802.11ad WiGig routers), and just plain insane in retrospect (has using your eyes as a video game controller caught on yet? What about screens made of air?).
2019 makes it a baker’s dozen for Ars—we’ve covered it on-the-ground annually since 2006. We’ve learned several times over that robots love “Gangnam Style” and that early Chromebooks proved only moderately effective for covering such a news fest. But looking back reveals some admirable prescience from CES. Maybe the TV Hat at CES 2010 genuinely did pave the way for Oculus-fever in 2014 and our present-day “VR is so close to happening, right?” realities. Or perhaps the abundance of personal transportation vehicles—Spinkix remote-controlled skates in 2013 to Inmotion unicycle-y things in 2015 to US Marshals targeting hover boards in 2016—really did set the stage for today’s scooter-laden urban landscapes. CES 2010 stoked the tablet wars between Microsoft and Apple months before the iPad, 2014 pushed curved displays (at least TVs), 2018 highlighted the utility of self-driving cars. Heck, even in 2006 they knew years later we’d all be watching TV on our phones (c’mon, that’s what Palm and Mobi TV had in mind).
So with another CES fresh on our minds and nostalgia levels a bit higher than normal given the site’s anniversary, we decided to take a walk down Ars at CES memory lane (err, memory midway?) as part of our initial 20th anniversary series. Who knows what kinds of showcased technological movements we’ll look back on as groundbreaking after we complete our 20th January in the desert? But we have total confidence at least that future tech executives we’ll continue the proudest CES tradition—inviting friends from Slash to Tom Hanks onstage for some totally casual conversation about upcoming products.