It's that time of year yet again: CES. Android Police has covered the Consumer Electronics Show for the last six years, of which I've attended five. This year, I'm back in Vegas again, this time with our teardown master Cody Toombs. We've watched CES go from a formidable proving ground for dozens of Android devices built by manufacturers both big and small to a show with a dwindling mobile presence, far more focused on connected technology, vehicles, and CES's more traditional niches (appliances, TVs, gadgets).
As such, what you can expect from CES 2016 is a lot like what you got in 2015: a few phones and tablets - not many - and a lot of gadgets that work over Bluetooth or IoT technologies to interface with your smartphone or tablet. That includes everything from wearables (though we have no reason to expect any Android Wear devices in particular) to smart kitchen equipment.
With that in mind, we're going to take a focus on products at CES that seek to stand out, either because of their unabashed weirdness, or the fact that they just seem like good ideas. As always, we'll bring a skeptical, questioning eye to our coverage that emphasizes feasibility and practicality just as much as it does the technology itself. After all: a lot of what you see at CES never comes to market, or if it does, it's substantially changed in form or function.
This open-ended approach could lead us to weird wearables, the connected car, smart audio, health and fitness gadgets, and possibly even stranger areas. While we'll still be on the lookout for smartphones and tablets (undoubtedly there will be some new ones there), our in-depth coverage will seek to emphasize products that let you do something with the smartphone or tablet you already have. After all: you're probably not looking at CES for the latest announcements in soon-to-be carrier budget phones or devices that are likely to appear on the shelf of a Walmart more than they are to be reviewed on Android Police. A dozen hands-on videos of no-name smartphones that don't do anything substantially different from other no-name smartphones really isn't doing anything to serve you, the reader. It's just regurgitating, with small differences in narrative and possibly opinion, what a hundred other sites are going to tell you anyway. And we don't want to be just another website in regard to our coverage of the show.
But if there are big smartphone, tablet, or other Android device announcements, you can count on us to be there and be aware of them. Even the less big ones, we'll at least try to give you the flyover so you're aware of their existence, because we do want to strive for a semblance of completeness in the coverage we do provide. What's the schedule like this year? Well, in tune with the fact that this will probably be the least mobile-focused CES in as many years as we've been covering it, it's fairly low key.
- Monday (1/4): We'll start with CES Unveiled, a sort of ballroom fairground for companies to show off new products (lots of gadgetry here), which is almost always good for a few fun tidbits. That evening, we'll head to NVIDIA's press conference (we're not expecting any mobile news, but NVIDIA is well-known for surprise reveals).
- Tuesday (1/5): Press day! Press day is a polite way of saying "thousands of soon-to-be-exhausted journalists shuffling around the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from press conference to press conferences from 7AM to 5PM." Press conferences we may attend include LG, Huawei, Sony, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE. That night, Pepcom (a lot like CES Unveiled) will be on our stop list, as well as an announcement "party" with Huawei's Honor brand. We may also stop by the Bluetooth SIG event (though I've never actually gone to that dinner in 5 years of RSVPing...)
- Wednesday (1/6): We'll hit up the Dell press conference (we have no idea if anything Android-powered is being announced) and meet with up-and-coming Chinese brand Letv to look at some of their upcoming products. We'll be roaming the show floor throughout the day, as this is the first official day of the CES show. That evening, we'll head to Showstoppers, which is another CES Unveiled / Pepcom sort of ballroom techno-bazaar.
- Thursday (1/7): Thursday is our dedicated trudge through as much of the CES floor as we, or our feet, can withstand. We'll be looking for interesting products, companies, and generally just keeping our eyes open. That evening, we'll meet up with NVIDIA for some product demos (again, no reason to think it's anything mobile, they were just kind enough to offer) and spend a night with Blu learning about their upcoming smartphone portfolio.
- Friday (1/8): We're out! Cody and I will exit Las Vegas before the show attendees start to depart en masse. We've found that staying extra days for the full show run rarely yields any additional content or, really, anything of value (aside from a hotel bill).
We've just got here (our hero image is the glorious badge pickup stand at McCarran International Airport), so our coverage will begin to trickle out tomorrow evening, hopefully. Use the "ces2016" tag if you want to keep track of what we're posting!