Gadget Show Live has, like Channel Expo before it, is one of – if not the – biggest tech shows in the UK. It’s designed to showcase new gaming developments, new hardware from manufacturers and of course, gadgetry – since the inspiration for the show is the TV programme, with its gradually dwindling presenter lineup. Unfortunately, like Channel Expo before it, Gadget Show Live has spent the last few years gradually becoming less impressive. I’ve been each year to the “press day,” and there’s still exhibits that were there during the show’s first outing.
However, while there is a generic Gadget Show feel, with its several enclosed cages for the quad-copters and other remote control vehicles to be demonstrated in – you can’t fly one yourself, that would be far too exciting – and the robot wars area, which sees very little activity, there’s a definite feel that the place is slowly becoming abandoned.
Oh sure there’s still a good few thousand people in attendance on the press morning – and I’m sure in the ensuing days a lot more visitors will do what they do best – but there’s an obvious reduced footprint from certain big names.
OCUK still had big a stand, with lots on show, but SCAN had a tiny booth featuring just four computers. They had a comparison setup to show the difference in load times between an SSD and an HDD, but that was about it. Intel’s booth wasn’t quite as small, but it wasn’t anything quite like it was just a few years ago, with only a few laptops and tablets on display.
Microsoft had a giant presence however (unsurprising since it was the main sponsor), perhaps hoping to convince people that Windows 8 isn’t a flop. It might have succeeded too as the whole thing was buzzing for most of my time there, with people chatting the many staff there and tapping away at the Surface and other tablets on display.
Not a single desktop to be found, partially I’m sure due to transport problems in comparison to much simpler tablet and notebooks, but an interesting note anyhow. While KG readers might be fans of the traditional rig, there’s far less of them around at these shows than you might expect.
GAME was also a somewhat big name in attendance and it’s noticeable for the fact that it wasn’t likely to make it to another Gadget Show, since half the company’s outlets ended up closing down in the wake of the administration. Still it was there and as you might expect from a game seller, it’s big thing this time around was selling games.
This is another unfortunately trend of the show. Instead of being a hotbed of new developments, a look into a window to the future of tech and gadgets, instead, it’s partially now a giant NEC car boot sale. Of course there are a few companies that are worth taking note of and I’ll cover them a little more in the forthcoming parts, but there were a lot of companies there that are attempting to hawk their wares and that’s about it. This is especially shameful on a press day, where if anything, they should be handing out freebies left and right.
Not only does this make you seem like a generous company, but walking around with a bag or mouse mat with a company’s name on, spreads the word about that company. Indeed a few years ago, every firm there tried to give out the biggest bags, because you’d ultimately put all the other bags inside it. The sizes did get ridiculous, but it was an Expo charm that you don’t find everywhere.
While I know I’m not exactly selling you on reading Part 2, Gadget Show just feels like it’s lost that spark.