Letter from CES: Holy God How Is the Cell Phone Accessories Market So Huge

One thing that immediately stands out to me in Las Vegas: since the big gadget fair isn't just for bloggers--there are hordes of industry buyers and other suspicious characters at CES--a range of companies are showing off stuff that simply isn't sexy enough to make it into the gizmo-blogo-sphere. Surveillance cameras and high-end flashlights, for instance, tend to go largely unnoticed. And then there are the phone accessories. Wow.

My friends, won't you join me for a chill journey through... the iLounge Pavilion.

I've never seen so many different ways to say "luxury phone cases" in my entire life.

Bling My Thing is just such an incredible name for a company able to afford a booth this large. However: notice the distinct lack of bling.

This one was definitely not part of any swag bags.

They weren't the only ones. This understated affair also features Swarovski elements, and is also by the excellently-named company White Diamonds.

Bling World is keeping it real so hard. It doesn't show up in the image, but these cases were straight blinding. I would definitely own one of these. I do like to think of myself as "first in fashion and design."

One of the strange and perhaps lucky things about selling small objects that only need to be looked at is that you gain incredible freedom in booth design.

For example, this company just hung their screen protectors on a string fence wrapping their zone and turned the rest into a chill fantasy photo booth. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

These guys had a fucking spaceship in their booth, so I had to cruise over.

Apparently the company makes insanely high-tech materials, and then turns them into phone cases. Fire is presumably also used to manufacture these things.

What Chinese manufacturers lack in design sense they make up for in straight-forward advertising, and enticing new products, like glowcords.

Choices.

You thought you'd escaped the bling. But you never will.

Luxury mobile?

Luxury mobile.

This wacky flipping ring takes iPad stand systems to heights of glorious excess.

 

And more bling.

 

Some of the case manufacturers seem to trade on fear, and they don't hide it. Some theoretical examples: Lifeproof: Because You Know You'll Fuck Up, or Lifeproof: Prevents Your iPhone from Gaining Sentience and Killing Your Annoying Dog.

Because barely surviving is all you can expect in this life. Damn, electronics are a bummer.

I've scratched maybe three percent of the surface so far.

But if you think the mobile accessory boneyard was only phone cases, you're utterly wrong.

It was also rave-tuned headphones and shutter shades. FYI, those bracelets say "unity" and "blur."

This company sold bling cases and bling headphones.

Better yet they had a DJ bb in a tower playing house. Can you spot the bling?

There was a line a mile long for the messenger bag swag this widget company was handing out. Look at that swag face. Bonus: I later saw someone rocking that swag bag.

Do you have a dirtbike?

We've got cases for that.

This place brought in a goddam Ferrari to sell headphones.

The idea of creating a mini-rainforest to prove that speakers are waterproof--that's bad ass.

I honestly can't tell you what product this booth was showing.

Hell yeah, another speaker rainforest. A dude came up and asked the rep if he knew the speakers were sitting in a waterfall, and dude was like "Yeah, they're waterproof..."

I'm ending with this picture because it's the best thing ever. It's a smiling panda that happened to be playing Puff Daddy.

@derektmead

Topics: CES 2013, swag, phones, mobile

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