Smarter and Fitter at CES

What did we all do before the smartphone arrived in our pockets? I’m pondering the question while standing around at Newark Airport, on my way to pay homage to consumer tech if all forms at the annual CES. The flight is, of course, significantly delayed thanks to a combination of weather and “hey, it's CES what do you expect.”

Looking around, nearly everyone has at least one smartphone pulled out to keep themselves occupied. Music, gaming, the occasional YouTube video shared among a huddle of colleagues and sometimes, rarely, someone is making a voice call. Me? I’m writing this blog on a phablet while simultaneous streaming music and keeping one ear open for updates.

And these flight updates come not from the flight gate team (what a slow solution that had always proven to be), but from a cacophony of message alerts around me. We are all such savvy fliers, after all. Of course, none of this gets us on the flight any faster, but we are informed in our delay details. And it can become a social experience in an old-school way: as the first person gets an update, conversations occur as others look for the update before their own phone can react.

Beyond the passe smartphone, I’ve also see more wearable technology in the past three hours than in the past three months. Pebbles and Galaxy watches are prominently displayed on wrists (although these wearers have also resorted to pulling out their phones) while the Fitbit seems to rule the day, reminding us all that we are not producing any steps quite yet.

Talking of which, this CES is going to be a little different for me. In previous years I’ve debated with friends and colleagues just how far we all walk during a show. This year I’ll be measuring my steps. Join in: send me your daily step counts for each day at CES (and associated mileage) and lets see if the show can help us burn off some holiday excesses! Send updates to @NPDCI Best of all, this delay helps provide more fodder for the NPD roundtable discussion at CES. Come along and we can compare first day mileage numbers in person!