Whilst the US has CES, us Brits have The Gadget Show to get our fill of the latest techy goodness. This April, Helen French and Greg Lockley trekked over to Birmingham to take in the sights at the Gadget Show Live 2013.
After a long cold winter and spring, the crowds turned up in droves at the Gadget Show Live to feel the light of the latest technology.
Taking place from April 2nd to 7th at the Birmingham NEC, the first day was labeled ‘Gadget Show Live Professional’ for the trade, with the remaining days open to consumers.
In total, 80,000 visitors turned up. Sally Bent, event manager, commented: “Our fifth Gadget Show Live has been a fantastic success. We’re thrilled with visitor figures, which were exactly on target following our decision to limit daily numbers to improve visitors’ experience and overall enjoyment of the show. The best news is that this had no impact on retailing, which remained high for our exhibitors.”
It was, as ever, a spectacle, covering a huge breadth of gadget sectors, from computing, to audio, in-car tech and beyond. Yet, generally speaking, stand spaces seemed smaller and retailers weren’t quite as prominent (though Overclockers and Game still had stand presence) – with some choosing to visit the show as guests on the professional day instead of taking their own stands.
Does the addition of Gadget Show Christmas lessen the impact of the regular Gadget Show Live? Perhaps.
“Our fifth Gadget Show Live has been a fantastic success. We’re thrilled with the visitor figures.”
Sally Bent, Gadget Show Live
After the Gadget Show Christmas, and the announcement frenzies that come with trade shows CES and CeBIT, there isn’t anything brand spanking new if you are looking at the Gadget Show with a cynical in-the- trade eye.
But you have to remember that it’s essentially a consumer show, and many of the visitors who attend will be compiling their wishlists for Christmas from what is on show.
A few steps into the show’s main hall was enough to make one thing immediately clear: touch is taking over. Whether it was Microsoft letting consumers get hands-on with its flagship Surface tablet, or the likes of Acer and Lenovo showing off their vast portfolios of tablets and hybrid laptops, just a five-minute peek into the event reinforced the notion that touch is taking over the tech world.
But while tablets certainly had a heavy presence – in common with most other trade shows over the last twelve months – so too did ultrabooks, remote controlled helicopters and futuristic robots. The show really does have something for everyone.
THE COMPUTING CORE
Key computing brands were there in force. Acer had an impressive Crystal Maze-esque booth for visitors to collect tokens for prizes in – needless to say, it was harder than it looked. Dazzling booth offering aside, Acer also showcased the latest ultrabooks, tablets and phones.
Lenovo had queues for its IdeaCentre Horizon – the world’s first ‘table’ PC, which has a ten-touch, 27-inch touchscreen display. It’s easy enough to visualise it being shared between toddlers, teens and parents alike or used for educational and work purposes.
Microsoft, of course, invested in serious floor space to showcase what Windows 8 and its Surface could do.