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Virtual CES Was As Surreal As We All Suspected It Would Be

AS SOON AS I logged into CES’s online portal, I knew this year’s techfest was going to be ... different.

The first few hours of virtual press conferences this past Monday reached literary levels of meta: sheets of TV screens, viewed through our screens, while we typed out dispatches for people to read on their screens. Later that same morning I tried to toggle between two virtual events instead of being physically present in just one. TV-maker TCL showed off a rollable phone concept, and I wondered if I had clicked on the wrong tab and entered the Samsung universe by mistake.

At first it was just this; the mild inconveniences of attending a multi-day virtual event, the musings on what we’ve learned about online conferences during the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, more than 150,000 people would gather in Las Vegas every January to gawk at the gadgets and mingle with marketers. In July 2020, the Consumer Technology Association (which runs CES) pulled the plug on any kind of in-person event for January 2021 and started planning an online event instead. This year’s CES would be a bridge year, a best effort to make things seem “normal” while we all wonder if we’ll return to a real normal by January 2022. (I’d really, really like to be together again next year.)

Continue reading: https://www.wired.com/story/virtual-ces-2021-was-strange/

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