I find myself agreeing with telecommunications analyst Jeffrey Kagan, who noted Wednesday that while CES is growing in size, it may be waning as a source of truly cutting-edge gadgets and ideas.
"I'm not sure how to say this kindly, but this year's Consumer Electronics Show was pretty dull," he said in a note to reporters. "It was big, in fact huge, and getting bigger every year...But there were no new ideas that have not been talked about to death already."
At the airport on Wednesday, I heard two other show-goers making the same complaint in language I won't repeat here. Suffice it to say, they didn't feel they got their money's worth.
Last year's CES was overshadowed by Apple's iPhone announcement in San Francisco. CES got this week all to itself, but it wouldn't take much from Apple next week to overshadow this year's show as well.
Bill Gates' CES keynote was entertaining--the video was the best I can recall--but the speech was short on news and offered little in terms of gadgets that people can get their hands on anytime soon.
And that just set the tone for the show, in my mind. Much of the attention seemed to be around whether or how much the economy would hurt consumer tech spending.
In my mind, if there is going to be a major slowdown, it's all the more reason the companies at CES had better come up with some really must-have products. If they were there, I didn't see them.
Did anyone see something they just have to have?