LAS VEGAS - Samsung's booth in Central Hall at CES is huge. It's pretty cool, too. Lots of stuff, some massive screens, lots of TVs, a bunch of clean white tables holding Samsung gadgets that people can check out. Oh, and lots and lots and lots of people. It was jam packed full of folks on Tuesday, but after checking it out I found myself asking, what are these people actually doing?
Let's start with a look from the outside. Here's what I saw from the aisle:
Outside the Samsung Booth
Several notes about the image above. It in no way conveys the massive scale of Samsung's booth, which was maybe 100 yards long and 30 yards deep. Maybe deeper. And the shell of the booth was appropriately massive, at least 30 feet high. You can't see any of that.
It was also very hard to capture an image that shows just how crowded it was. The image above came closest, but it doesn't really do it justice. It's also doesn't show the grandeur of the place. Samsung had a large booth last year, but this one was epic, and it was very well done.
As I approached the booth, the overriding thought echoing through my head was, "Whoa, so this is what happens when Samsung becomes the largest smartphone maker on the planet." This place was as chock full o' people as an Apple Store, and I found it seriously impressive.
That is, until I started walking through. At this point I was just curious to see how people were reacting to the devices on hand. I expected it to be like the Apple booth when that company still attended Macworld Expo.
People would line up 2-4 deep for their opportunity to get their hands on whatever Apple was pushing, while the company's employees on hand for the event answered eager questions non-stop. You know, kind of like every Apple Store on the planet today.
Judging from the outside, this was clearly what was going on in the Samsung booth. Samsung's hit, the Galaxy S III is knockin' 'em dead, and the Galaxy Note II is all big and stuff, the phablet everyone's been waiting for. With all these people, they're checking these things out and being all excited about Android.
Let's see what I found.
So Many Devices, So Few People
At Least No One Is Spoiling the Pristine White Table...
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Samsung Smartphones, Four Little...
Are you catching a theme? Here's a few more:
Smile, Folks! It Can't Be That Bad!
A Couple of Folks Looking at Things
A Temple for Tablets Bereft of Worshippers
I wouldn't blame you if you thought that I was cherry picking opportunities to sell my preferred narrative that Samsung sucks or something. That isn't the case, though. Firstly, I think Samsung is a formidable company. Yes, I also think Samsung has Apple-envy, and I also think the company worked overtime to copy everything it could from Apple, as witnessed by the company's own internal documents.
Samsung is doing a lot of things right, and the company is making devices that people want. Judging from my experience in this booth, however, people just aren't that interested in playing with those devices.
In any event, the photos above were not cherry picked. They were taken one after another over roughly a seven minute period. This followed my initial tour of the booth, when I first observed this stuff. There were also a few people watching a Galaxy Note II presentation showing us all the wonderful things we could do with a stylus on the device. That accounted for at least 15 people of the 1,000 or so people there.
It's possible that I picked a freakish 20 minute window that wasn't representative of the whole, but I doubt it. I intend to make another circuit through the booth later today or tomorrow just to see if that was the case. My point, however, is that no one was playing with all the cool devices out on display, and that's just weird.
The end result is that I can't answer my own titular question. I don't know what all these people were doing. Some were milling around, and many people were clumped together talking, but very few of them were interacting with the Samsung smartphones and tablets on hand on those clean white tables.
Oh, hey, look! I finally found some people doing something.