CES from an Indian consumer’s perspective
This year, the focus was on a handful of trends, including automobiles, virtual reality, smart devices, the Internet of Things, and drones. Mobile phones, televisions, audio products and other technologies relevant to India have received their fair share of attention, but the big trends are clearly only relevant to the small number of people in the so-called developed world.
(Also see: CES 2016: four exciting trends to watch)
Automotive concepts have mainly focused on advanced infotainment systems for cars and self-driving technologies, which are either too expensive or impossible to implement in India. VR concepts involve a bunch of products and brands that you probably won’t see inside an Indian electronics store. The Oculus Rift is priced at $599 – by the time something like this hits India, you’ll be paying close to Rs. 60,000 for just the Rift, and that’s not even factoring in the cost of the computer which will feed it. The Internet of Things is still only a distant dream for a country that must first develop the Internet. And drones, as last checked, are illegal to fly in open public spaces and are very likely to crash into an overhanging building, bird, or wire of any kind.
The same is true, although to a lesser extent, for other major trade fairs around the world, such as IFA (Berlin) and Mobile World Congress (Barcelona and Shanghai). Although both are great shows in their own right, many of the announcements that are made mean very little to the vast majority of Indian audiences. While the products themselves are great, the lack of India-specific information such as local pricing and availability means we get an incomplete story and don’t know how much a particular announcement might be to us. useful.
Moreover, most brands like to have standalone launch events in India, to ensure that the focus stays firmly on them.
This brings us back to the point where perhaps India needs its own consumer-centric electronics exhibition, or at least Indian representation at major overseas shows. Trade shows in India are growing in importance and some industries are already organizing massive trade shows to meet the needs of the audience. The automotive industry has Auto Expo, the comic industry has Comic Con India, the photography industry has CEIF Photofair and the professional audio industry has Palm Expo.
Technology is a market ripe for exploitation, and Indian audiences will benefit immensely from having a dedicated tech show modeled after CES. There are several budding tech shows like India Gadget Expo, but there is no real tech equivalent in India on the scale of Auto Expo, forget the competition with CES and MWC.
As an Indian consumer, shows like CES right now are a glimpse of what could be, but only in a very distant sense. There are some really interesting announcements. TVs are about to get slimmer, LG unveiled its 4K OLED lineup and also unveiled a foldable screen concept that could soon make its way to phones and tablets, and Windows 10 Mobile actually runs on a handset that is not manufactured by Microsoft. . Sony has launched a bunch of new audio products that will likely launch in India, and the biggest announcement of all: Netflix is now available for users in India, and the price of membership has been revealed.
We are not minimizing how important this is. In India, we have for years been poorly received when it comes to on-demand TV and movie streaming, and easy and timely access to the latest TV shows and movies at home has only been a big deal. possible part only thanks to hacking. The introduction of Netflix brings content, including the range of fantastic original Netflix shows, and a huge library of movies and other TV shows, provided you have a decent internet connection and a limit. High FUP.
So while I find CES too “American” for my tastes, there’s no denying that there are announcements I like. While the vast majority of its announcements and displays are either out of place or too futuristic for us, the show manages to satisfy the needs of tech enthusiasts. However, there is no harm in hoping for a little more “desi” flavor at upcoming global trade shows and praying that one day India will have its own CES.
Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.