So as you know, I was lucky enough to be able to get to CES in Las Vegas this year. It was a great experience and I have to thank Katie, Meg, Mala and everyone at Nokia Connects for allowing me to be a part of it all.
The main focus was the Nokia announcement about the Lumia 900 coming to AT&T, as well as getting personal with the Lumia 710 for T-Mobile. However, the experience was a whole lot more than that. However, to cut straight to the more important bits, you can read one of the following posts:
- CES arrival and a first look at the Lumia 710
- Nokia Lumia 900 and CES day 1
- Nokia lumia 710 and 900 from breakfast at CES
- News from around the Nokia booth at CES
- CES day 2 round up
- Nokia Lumia 710 Now availiable from T-Mobile – extra $30 off today
- Checking out the competition: Which phones will the 710, 800 and 900 be up against
- CES Day 3 round up
- Final thoughts on Nokia, Windows Phone and Mobile at CES
However, going to Las Vegas should be fun and not all work and no play (like being in a massive hall full of the latest gadgetry isn’t fun – of course it is).
So what happened in Vegas? Well, on arrival I was given a limousine ride to the Mirage. I checked in and got my room key and unpacked and got my bearings. When I cam down to meet the gang for dinner I had forgotten to pick up an envelope at the front desk, which I did. In it was the “Do disturb” sign with instructions to check in on Foursquare to the hotel. I checked in in person with Katie from Nokia Connects as we were all getting ready for dinner. After a delicious meal I we were given instructions to meet early the next morning for an amazing activity and then I was presented with the amazing gift bag featuring a Nokia Lumia 710, and some Monster Purity headphones.
Monday morning bright and early we gathered on the ground floor of the casino, and then headed to a mini bus. I don’t know that anyone saw the name on the side of the bus, we just got on, so it was a wonderful surprise to end up at Bootleg Canyon Flightlines. I was a bit nervous about this but had no reason to be, it was fantastic. After a bus ride up a narrow mountain road we walked to the first run, close to the summit of the hill we were on, carrying our trolleys (the bit that runs on the zip line that we would ultimately hang from). The zip-lines are long, really long, and you can reach speeds around 50MPH on the way down the 4 runs. I don’t know if they are the longest Zip lines in the world or not, but I doubt there are many with a better view.
Following the zip lines, the bus took us for another surprise. It dropped us off at Maverick helicopter tours. I’d never been on a Helicopter before and got to ride up front so I had a great view.
After the amazing morning, we were a little curious about what the afternoon would hold as we knew Stephen Elop would be speaking. Sadly we didn’t get into that, but we did get a private intro and presentation on the Lumia 900, along with an opportunity to discuss it, which was great. From there I had some more time talking back at the Rhumbar in the Mirage (which would become a regular meting place for us) with Tom (who gave us the Lumia 900 news). It was really good to be able to talk directly with people like Tom about their products. Sadly it was cut short as I went to see the Microsoft keynote, which looked back over the new technology they have bought in over the last few years, more than announcing new stuff..
Day 2 began with an amazing breakfast with Jason Gregory and Vance Kim, as well as Nokia Lumia 900, 800 and 710 devices. You can read more about it here, but it was a great opportunity to talk candidly about these products and both Jason and Vance were very open, friendly and didn’t mind my dumb questions. From there we went to the CES show floor.
I have several posts about my time on the floor and what I saw, so for here I will just say that CES is huge, manic and a mix of established brands and small companies trying to get some press or even trying to get a US distributor. I found some gloves to use with my cell phone and tested them and asked where I could get them and was told that they don’t have any US sales channel yet, but to try and get one was part of the reason for being there. Anyway, less demonstrations and competitions than I had expected, given my prior experience at Tech Ed, but a lot of fun, and I sadly I only got to about 50-60% of it, completely missing the North hall.
That evening, we had an amazing dinner in a place called stratosphere which is basically a revolving restaurant atop a building reminiscent of Seattle’s space needle. While we ate we had fantastic views of the city, plus the memorable sign “People may fall past this window. Please wave to them on their way down” (or something like that). Basically, one of the “rides” is to be on this platform that falls off the side of the building. Have to admit, I couldn’t find doing that to be fun, but each to their own.
Day 3 was more time at the Venetian and the Convention Center followed by another amazing meal, this time with members of the Nokia maps team who’s names I still can’t remember. They also were open, easy to talk to and willing to answer more of my dumb questions. Coming away from that I am really excited about what the maps team will bring us over the next year and can’t wait to see it on my devices.
From there I took in a moment of relative peace as I checked out the dolphins and big cats at the Mirage. While it was odd to be admiring animals like these at a hotel, it was nice that (apart from a photo they make you pose for, it was very peaceful and not overblown – kind of un-Vegas really.
After a mad dash back to CES for one last run around the booths, time to head back and prepare for a party. Yes, somehow the Nokia Connects team had gotten us invited to an exclusive Nokia Party in the Penthouse at Caesars palace. Very nice view, though a bit cold outside, but it was a great time to socialize, meet some more folks from Nokia (actually great to meet some of the Nokia Conversations team in person) and talk again to Vance. We also had some interesting entertainment, and some lovely drinks (called Lumia 800 and Lumia 900) with moisture activate lights among the ice cube. A good night, and a great way to end the evening, plus a nice souvenir or two.
Next morning I was up early and on my way to the airport for my trip home. And that was it. You can see more of my pictures from CES on Flickr or check out some pics and vids on Nokia Connects:
- Lumia 710: Helicopters and Penthouse Parties
- Lumia 710: Speed of Social
- Welcome to CES by Nokia Connects
- First Thoughts: Nokia Lumia 900
Thanks again to Nokia Connects for inviting me to CES and Las vegas, and thanks to them and to my fellow bloggers for making it a most amazing time.