Exploring Asia's technology showcase is the best part of CES

Please tell us what board game we ended up playing.

Given all the attention paid to the big names at CES—Samsung, Intel, and Oculus, to name just a few—smaller vendors inevitably get passed over. But you never know what sort of hidden gems you’ll find in the small region of the show devoted to China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

And let’s face it: No matter the name on the outside of the box, most likely the product within it has been manufactured by an Asian manufacturing firm. What I find more interesting is when those firms actually participate in the design phase. Years before the iPhone and Android, remember, the coolest phones appeared on Asian store shelves.

Put it another way: Western cultural staples like, well, zombies, became hits when George Romero made them mainstream. But foreign twists on the genre—think Resident Evil and the French movie The Horde—arguably made them far more interesting. The same goes for technology.

Yes, some of the vendors succeed simply by manufacturing products more cheaply—we saw quite a number of small, cookie-cutter drones, for example. But what we really sought out was some of the more interesting, more fun products we saw at CES. And yes, it was our last day at the show—so we got a little goofy.

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