Engadget has been selected as the "Official Blog Partner" of CES. TechCrunch, among others, are viewing it less as a prize awarded to Engadget and more like a penalty against Gizmodo for the stunt it pulled last year.
It's impossible to understand from the press release if extra access is to be granted to Engadget, but I have a hard time there's all that much more access to grant. They're a big outlet for consumer electronics news these days — any access they don't get to see products or talk to executives is due only to foolishness on the part of the companies they cover. It's an odd announcement, but similar to most regarding CES (such as the awards): meaningless and serving only to promote the announcement itself.
There's something slightly uncomfortable about a media organization being an official partner with a trade organization, but we're talking gadget coverage here, which like its cousin "games journalism" is inexorably bound to the companies whose products are covered. It's all a sticky mess — made worse by the fact that the "rewritten press release" form of blogging is actually what most of the audience actually wants to read. I don't think it's that big of a deal, but only because the entire industry just isn't that important.
Which is not to say congratulations are not in order. It's pretty incredible that in just four or five years since inception Engadget has gone from a couple of puckish guys hustling around the tradeshow floor to a sanctioned, official outlet of CES. It's a meaningless honor, perhaps, but one that is the product of a lot of hard work.
Update: Engadget contacted me to make sure I understood that there is no extra access granted to the CES show by CEA nor any money exchanging hands. It's just a co-promotional endeavor. Fair enough! If I were in their shoes, I would probably do the same thing.