While the White House was busy extending the lifespan of the International Space Station, we were pounding the CES 2014 show floor. Sure, the Las Vegas Convention Center is packed with home automation demos, arm-bound muscle sensors and prototype smartwatches, but there's more to a trade show than just the exhibition hall -- there are celebrity cameos, killer interviews and WWE programming announcements, too. Take a step back from the CES crowds and join Engadget for a look at the show from another perspective.

And the nominees are...

Our daily roundups are one way to look at the show, but if you want to know what's really cooking at CES, there's no better place than the official Best of CES awards. We've handpicked more than 40 products across 13 categories, representing the most exciting technology to come out of the show. Of course, it's not just our judges who are picking from the litter: We've also built a special People's Choice category, just to make sure you get a say. So take a breather, check out the finalists and pick a favorite -- you've got until 6PM EST tomorrow, January 9th, to declare a winner.

Legere, Live

There may be a formula to hosting a CES keynote, but sometimes, all you need is a quirky character. T-Mobile's John Legere certainly fits the bill. After sneaking into, and rapidly being kicked out of competitor AT&T's CES party earlier this week, Legere hosted an event of his own. "The biggest evil in this industry is the family plan," he says, and T-Mobile wants to take it down. How? Well, by paying the early termination fees of customers switching from competitor family plans to the Uncarrier network, up to $350 per line. It's a pretty bold promise, but it seems to be working out: The company did just have its most successful quarter in more than eight years.

Beyond Ultra High-Definition

While Samsung and LG are busy fighting over who can make a better curved television, Sharp is focusing on resolution. Apparently, the 4K standard that defines what the industry calls an Ultra HD set isn't good enough for the firm -- it's upped the ante to 8K. Sharp's 85-inch 8K glasses-free 3D TV is truly a sight to behold, even if its stereoscopic trick can come off a bit blurry at times. It's still too early to judge this prototype, but it's a surefire marker of how fast the display industry is moving. The vibrant behemoth might not be an award winner, but we can't wait to see the fruit its technology bears.

Highly automated drifting

There's putting faith in technology, and then there's putting your life in the hands of BMW's highly automated robot driving system. Suffice to say, we survived and we also had a blast. BMW's automated M235i drifted Engadget's editors through the curves of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, automatically and without human assistance. Although the car was following a pre-defined path, its ability to react to slick road conditions was stunning. BMW doesn't expect robots to be driving us to work until about 2020, but that doesn't make this CES presentation any less thrilling.

A day in the life

It's one thing to read a tech blog's explorations of CES 2014, but it's another to see it happen. We strapped a GoPro and a FuelBand to one of Engadget's busiest bodies and let the tech record 24 hours of trade show trailblazing. Follow Michael Gorman as he braves the CES crowds, shoots hands-on photos, conducts interviews, attends press conferences and tells the world about it all on national TV. If you're not exhausted vicariously, drop us a line. We could use someone with your stamina.