CES delays tech show as omicron strain continues

CES delays tech show as omicron strain continues

The Consumer Technology Association said on Friday it was shortening the CES massive tech gathering by one day as an additional safety measure as the omicron strain of COVID 19 rages across the country.

Coronaviruses Update: Daily average of COVID hospitalizations rises above 80,000 for the first time in 3 months, while cases keep breaking daily records.

The nation's biggest tech conference was scheduled to run Jan. 5 -- 8 in Las Vegas, but it will close on Friday, January 7, amid an avalanche of criticism of its taking place at all.

Some 153 companies have marked their participation as DO, or digital only, in the official CES exhibitor directory, as first reported by Protocol.

The show is scheduled to kick off Wednesday, despite the absence of nearly every major tech vendor. Among the more than 150 companies that have decided to attend only digitally are Intel Corp. INTC; Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD; Qualcomm Inc. QCOM; Nvidia Corp. NVDA; Microsoft Corp. MSFT; HPQ; BMW BMW, Lenovo Group Ltd. HK: 992; AT&T Inc. T; Procter Gamble Co. PG; and Panasonic Corp. JP: 6752.

The CTA expects to have a crowd of about half the 170,000 people and 4,400 exhibitors who took part in CES's last in-person gathering in early 2020, because they believe that every precautions have been taken to ensure their safety, including proof-of-vaccination requirements and availability of rapid test kits. Next week s show is a hybrid event with a physical show in Las Vegas and a digital component for those unable or unwilling to attend in person.

Read more: Some hardy souls are determined to attend the CES despite the surge in omicrons.

CTA Chief Executive Gary Shapiro wrote in a LinkedIn post that CES will and must go on. It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. It will be different from previous years. It may be messy.