The Irony of CES

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Irony never disappoints. Not even at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Rule Breakers analyst Karl Thiel and I were sitting there, waiting for Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) chief executive Ivan Seidenberg to tell us exactly nothing about a new iPhone, and gush about an LTE network that isn't exactly 4G -- yet we couldn't connect our smartphones or computers to the Internet.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to get started," came the message from the speakers above. "In the next few minutes, we ask that you cease using wireless devices to prevent interference."

Seriously? What is this, the Las Vegas Hilton Center, or a 747? Who knew a conference hall had advanced navigation systems? How ironic is it that we're here to hear about connectivity, yet we're prevented from connecting to the outside world?

Haven't Verizon, AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) told us that it doesn't matter where we are, or what data we have -- we can access all we need just by being plugged into the cloud? Apparently, in the desert, there are no clouds.

But to his credit, Seidenberg would have none of it. He told everyone in the audience who had shut down a wireless device to turn it back on. "When Verizon is up here, turn them on. Ping all you want," Seidenberg said.

At least someone gets what CES is supposed to be about. Well done, Mr. Seidenberg.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How much does connectivity limit the cloud? Do you fear investing in the cloud because of the power of connectivity providers? Use the comments box below to let us know what you think, and be sure to check back here daily as we report on other CES stories as they emerge.

What will be the big trends of the next five years? We asked our top equity analysts that question and they came back with five stocks we've put real money behind. We profile all five picks in a new special report. Get instant access by clicking here -- it's free.

Interested in more info on the stocks mentioned in this story? Add Verizon, AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint Nextel to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy never disappoints, either.

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