Despite the hype, some products are no-shows, slow-shows

An audience of over 1,000 waits for Nvidia's CES 2017 keynote to begin, Jan. 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nev. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

By Diego Marcano
BU News Service

LAS VEGAS – Every January, almost 200,000 people travel from around the globe to Las Vegas to attend CES, one of the biggest technology events in the world. This year, the tech event will host 4,400 exhibiting companies, which will bring big TVs, robots, home technology, AI, air and underwater drones, self-driven vehicles, flexible phones and many more inventions looking to make it big at CES’ ground floor.

Perhaps lost in the hype and excitement of checking out the most cutting-edge innovations at CES is the fact is that some of what’s on display in Las Vegas will never make it to the market or are pretty slow about getting there.

And despite its reputation as an important tech event, some of last year’s most popular items were not announced at CES. Products such as the Nintendo Switch and updated iPhones were presented at their own private media events.

The original idea for CES was that dealers and investors would attend to hunt for promising products to take them to the market in the Spring and Fall. The event also potentially offered validation, to show how new gizmos can get people excited and potentially make it big in the market.

A product that captured attention at last year’s CES was the NUMI toilet from Kohler. Portrayed as the “most advanced toilet,” integrated with Amazon’s Alexa to command it to flush, it promised a soothing ambience with its colored lightning, heated seat, foot-warmer and the option to play music for a pleasant experience. It was priced at $6,000. Amazing, but it hasn’t hit the market. Kohler’s website still shows it as a coming soon product.

At CES 2017, Samsung unveiled The Wall, a 146-inch customizable MicroLED TV. I was widely reviewed last year but it is still to be released. The same for the robot Buddy, “an emotional companion robot” from the French company Blue Frog Robotics, which has not come out either.

Another robot, Kuri, also caught some attention when it was launched at CES 2017. According to a press release published at the time, the cute little robot was developed in 2-years time to provide company and “add a spark of life to any home.”

On July 24 Mayfield Robotics ceased manufacturing Kuri and months later the company announced it was shutting down and cancelling Kuri.

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