Jan 3, 2020

CES isn't what you think it is

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

CES, the annual January trade show in Las Vegas, is many things: a great place to catch up with leaders from throughout the tech industry, a decent chance to spot broad trends and an opportunity to hear stump speeches from big-name CEOs trying to get their companies seen as tech leaders.

What it's not, though, is a place for the most important tech announcements of the year. Companies like Apple, Google and Samsung prefer to launch key products in a less noisy environment, at their own private events.

Yes, but: Of course there will be plenty of product news at the show.

The big picture: One key role for CES these days is as a showcase for companies and leaders who aren't known for being at the forefront of technology — but want to be.

  • This year's speakers include presidential daughter/aide Ivanka Trump, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Daimler Chairman Ola Källenius and Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

Between the lines: CES is traditionally devoted to the worship of novel tech. It will be fascinating to see how the show copes with today's changed environment, in which the public is increasingly interested not just in seeing new gadgets, but in how new products affect security, privacy and human rights.

  • Expect a lot of talk along these lines about the positive impact tech companies can have.

What's new: There will be a few new conference tracks added this year addressing topics such as gaming, voice, drones and tourism. The list speaks to how diverse (and perhaps how bloated) the conference has gotten. 

  • Axios will have you covered, with Joann Muller, Kia Kokalitcheva, Sara Fischer and me on the ground in Vegas and sharing our thoughts in Login and at Axios.com starting on Sunday.
  • And our own Mike Allen will be talking about brands, politics and the media.

Go deeper:

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The product announcements to watch for at CES 2020

Attendees grasp at objects in an AR game at CES 2019. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

While we don't yet know the full details of everything that will be unveiled at CES this year, we have a pretty good idea of who will be making the announcements and the types of products to expect.

Why it matters: Vegas during CES is a noisy place. It pays to know which direction to point your ears.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

Ivanka Trump wants Americans to have their diplomas on their phones

CTA head Gary Shapiro and Ivanka Trump. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Speaking at CES, Ivanka Trump said Tuesday that Americans should be able to carry their diplomas and other important records on their smartphones, much as they are starting to be able to carry health records and other data.

Why it matters: The presidential daughter and adviser says that, too often, data is hard for hiring companies to obtain.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Cannabis firms fuming over exclusion from CES

Photo: Courtesy of Keep Labs

Last year, the big controversy at CES was over an exhibit from a sex toy company. This year, it is cannabis-tech companies that are crying foul.

Why it matters: Although there are a wide range of electronics shown at CES, critics say that whole categories are unfairly excluded.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020