Blog Post

@ CES: Living The Good Life At The Zune Lounge

CES: Zune LoungeDon’t know if it was intentional but Microsoft, which has its usual massive presence in the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, created a Zune lounge in the perfect location (for me, at least): the north hall next to Nathan’s (hot dogs), Carvel (ice cream) and the CES store where you can buy Zunes and portable XM Radio models at show-discounted prices. A Zune goes for $230 here and the accessory kits are discounted, too. Microsoft has comfortable Zune brown — couches with plump pillows, lava lamps, rough-hewn wood flooring, a bar with high stools where people can don headsets and listen — and white leather tables like the one I’m sitting at to type this. Think boutique hotel. People who might never stop to look at Zune in the densely crowded main booth are sitting here with their lunch, resting, plugging into the free CES wifi, watching Zune videos/Ads and listening to a music loop that sounds pretty good the first couple of times but quickly wears thin. (Later, when I walked by the Microsoft demo area at the main booth, the bleachers were full for a Zune demo. People are curious.)
Especially for the majors, much of CES is about finding ways to stand out and to show off products outside the usual trade booth format.
— Yahoo’s tent on the main drag is meant to offer a ski resort feel, drawing people in to eat free ice cream and then hoping they’ll take in the services while they’re in the neighborhood. The on-site Yahoo Tech team is working in a glass booth at the back and hands-on opps with Yahoo Go and other services abound. Visitors are encouraged to upload photos to Flickr at one kiosk and are being interviewed about CES at another.
— Sony, which is insanely crowded, has live concerts running much of the day at an open-air theater called CES Back Stage @ Sony.
— ESPN has a mock-up studio set, a popular theme, but fitting. Also, a kiosk promoting podcasts and one showing off ESPN 360.