CES Gadget Show Returns to Las Vegas; Big Tech Companies Withdraw

A crowd waits to enter the main show floor at the CES tech show Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz)

“We know that this CES is going to be different,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, the event’s organizer during a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the show.

The Las Vegas Strip is overflowing with people once again as thousands have gathered for a tech conference that has been scaled back. The trade group hasn’t disclosed attendance numbers but said it expects tens of thousands of people for the multi-day event, though not nearly as many as the 170,000 who showed up for the last physical CES two years ago. This year’s expo features 2,300 exhibitors from 19 countries, CTA said.

A number of big tech companies pulled out ahead of the show amid concerns about the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. Some of those companies are still participating digitally.

CES organizers encouraged but did not require attendees to get tested for COVID-19 before arriving. They are required to wear masks and to show proof of vaccination. Attendees got a complimentary test kit made by Abbott Laboratories, whose CEO Robert Ford is scheduled to give a keynote talk Thursday. The conference is also providing on-site testing for people with symptoms.

– Ella Breedlove

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