Digital Life: They'll Let Anybody In Here
NEW YORK--At every other trade show I've covered, the general public is not admitted. Here at Digital Life, $15, or $12 if you're a student or a senior, gets you in.
Paying any sum of money to spend a beautiful Friday cooped up inside a convention center hall looking at tech gadgets isn't something that I'd do on my own time, but plenty of people--mostly students, by the looks of them, plus a handful of seniors--seem to have thought it a good idea today. Last year's show drew about 50,000 attendees, but no attendance figures for this year's event have been released yet.
Perhaps because of the age of most people, the biggest crowds have been around some of the computer-game exhibits. At the back corner of the exhibit area, for instance, a Counter-Strike tournament put on by the
Championship Gaming Series GGL league of professional video-game players (no, really, these things exist) drew a sizable audience. They stood and eyeballed the action over the shoulders of players on two teams who shot it out onscreen and yelled encouragement to each other ("Come on, guys! Let's play smart!").
But Toshiba also had its exhibit area packed with people lining up to watch a "Deal Or No Deal"-inspired contest, in which one of the suitcases on the stage hid a new laptop. To judge from the clapping I heard from up in the press room a few minutes ago, somebody just guessed right and won the computer.
Most of the people strolling around are not just 20-somethings or younger, but also male. So I was surprised to see so few people lining up to have their picture taken with two Knicks cheerleaders. Then again, the Knicks' record the past few years might have had something to do with that.
All this fuss is supposed to drive extra sales down the road, but who knows what will actually pan out? "I really wanted to find something new, something extraordinary," said Hugh Isaacs, a Web designer from the Bronx, as he tried out the Opera browser at that company's booth. "Not yet."
Another attendee, Queens student Ashley Termonfils, did find what he was looking for: "Freebies!" He noted his haul of t-shirts, pens, and other goodies handed out by vendors.
Would you put down your own cash to spend a day checking out tech exhibits? Or are you just as happy leaving that work to the likes of me?
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