I've been traveling to the Consumer Electronics Show to cover the wireless news from the show for the better part of the past two decades. And during that time, I've witnessed some pretty dramatic trends.
In the early 90s, back when the wireless industry was still in its infancy, you had to look really hard to find any presence of cellular companies at CES. They were usually buried at the back of the show hall in a poorly trafficked area. There you would find a few cellular handset makers trying to get the attention of a wireless operator that might be at the show or attract potential agents and dealers that might be interested in selling phones and rate plans to their clientele.
Then in the 2000s, when we saw the first glimpses of what was then known as the mobile Internet, CES suddenly became a hub for entertainment companies and content firms trying to get the attention of the mobile operators to get their content on the "top deck" of the wireless device. During that time, we saw cellular companies at CES begin to gain a lot more prominence.
We also saw an increase in device announcements at the show--with high-profile consumer electronics companies like Sony devoting a portion of their booth to exhibiting their cell phones.
By 2010, smartphones and tablets had become a huge part of the CES buzz, with nearly all the manufacturers exhibiting their latest devices and demonstrating all types of interesting capabilities and innovations.
Today, wireless is a dominant part of CES. But the buzz is no longer about smartphones and tablets--it's about wearable devices and connected cars. And interestingly, it's also become a place for wireless carriers to make announcements about their networks and even their latest rate plan innovations.
The Fierce editorial team was at CES in full force. And now that we've recovered from the outrageously long cab lines, the packed show floor and the standing-room-only panels, we've had time to contemplate some of the major themes from CES and what they mean to the wireless industry. Some companies emerged stronger than ever. Likewise, others failed to make an impression. Here's a scorecard of the technologies and companies that we think emerged as winners and losers at last week's event. --Sue
P.S. Don't forget to check out our complete coverage of CES at our CESLive 2014 site.