The Gadget Show Live, a mini-CES organised by the creators of the eponymous Channel 5 technology show, has opened its doors to the public today - and thinq_ was on hand to see what the event has to offer.
Hosted in the NEC in Birmingham, The Gadget Show Live isn't the world's biggest event, but it is one of the most varied, packing consumer electronics next to high-performance cars, hot-tubs next to cat toilets, and home theatre equipment next to cut-price 'hologram' projectors.
The 'professional' day, held yesterday, was surprisingly busy considering that only press and trade were able to attend - with the public being invited from today onward. We can't say whether this will translate into record visitor numbers - but the fact that tickets for the public days sold out in a record twelve weeks suggests it will, with the organiser Upper Street Events expecting 100,000 visitors over the course of the week.
"It's our biggest and best show yet," head of event Matt Hodgins crowed, "with an extra consumer day and an additional hall dedicated to the Game Zone where visitors can try out the latest consoles, peripherals, and new game launches."
Sadly, 'new' might be a trifle inaccurate. While there was plenty of distracting shiny technology on display at the show, there was very little in the way of 'new' technology - with the possible exception being the surprise unveiling of HTC's latest Android smartphone, the dual-core HTC Sensation.
Indeed, much of the technology headlining this year's show has already been showcased at bigger events like the Consumer Electronics Show and CeBIT earlier in the year.
Worse still, some attention-grabbers such as an event that was described as "the first public show of the new Nintendo 3DS" were misleading in the extreme - given that the Nintendo 3DS has been available to buy since the end of March from your favourite high-street or Internet retailers.
Other stands were even more inexplicable - such as Cisco having shelled out for a large area in the middle of the event to showcase its consumer-oriented Flip digital video cameras, the death of which the company has just announced.
Despite our scepticism over some of the 'new' technology, there was plenty for visitors to see - including a live demo of long-delayed shooter Duke Nukem Forever, plenty of 3D TVs alongside a 3D theatre installed by Nvidia, and the now Guinness Record Winning SWaP wristphone, which still looks ridiculously oversized on anyone's wrist.
There can only be one true highlight for your humble hacks here at thinq_, however: a fully-working replica of the Adam West-era Batmobile. Sadly, we were told that it would be 'unwise' to activate the flame-spitting jet exhaust in the crowded venue.