CES Me Not

CES Me Not
15 Jan 13

If you have an interest in technology, particularly in the consumer space, I'm sure you haven't missed the coverage from the annual CES in Las Vegas this past week. It's where the big hitters in the business gather to strut their latest stuff in front of the gathered body of tech press. Anyone who is anyone in both fields will be there. Or at least that's what many of us would like to imagine CES as. Over the years, I have started to see the big, glitzy spectacle in a rather different light.

If we first take a look at the very name of the event, the Consumer Electronics Show, it implies that there will be a focus on things that regular people, consumers, can use and benefit from owning. Looking at what most companies drag to the event on the other hand, you start wondering if they have arrived at the wrong event all together. I hate to make the nigh obligatory car likening, but CES is really turning into the tech-sphere equivalent of the Tokyo Car Show.

Taking a broad sweep of what most tech news outlets talk about from the show floor, there appears to be an awful lot of concepts shown off, rather than things that might make it into mass production. While I'm sure everybody loves to dream about the devices of tomorrow, and the features they might have, I do take some serious issue with how many, if not most, of them are presented. It's not exactly stated clearly at the beginning that whatever it might be is either a concept or a prototype, although most articles tend to have some vague statement about it at, usually at the bottom. A fault I blame both the tech press and the companies for, as they are "cooperating" on perpetrating the incorrect image.

Yes, yes, there are indeed some quite interesting and even promising things showed off, even at CES. The main problem is that they are few and far between, and most definitely buried in all the utter rubbish that so many focus on. Perhaps the logic and usefulness of a bluetooth enabled fork is merely lost on me and there is a huge market for it out there, but it's hardly the most impressive thing I've seen reported about. A screen that actually forms a physical keyboard when there is a virtual keyboard displayed on it? Now we're getting into warmer waters, as far as my interest goes.

But by far the most common thing at CES nowadays is the barrage of different accessories for smartphones and tablet computers. Huge areas of space are dedicated to cases, bits of plastic and rubber, meant to add to the whole experience of your smartphone, or cheap looking speakers that according to reports don't sound particularly impressive.

For a show that is supposed to be all about consumer electronics, it sure looks to me like it is more about catering to the whims of tech-horny new media journalists hunting the latest shiny and people who think iPhone cases are exciting. Let's just say I'm not impressed.



Robert Falck

Robert is a freelance tech writer from Sweden. You can follow his posts here on the British Tech Network, listen to him yap away on the British Tech iOS Show and read even more of his stuff on his site streakmachine.com or you can even follow him on twitter @streakmachine or app.net @streakmachine. (But you won't find him on Facebook!)


Robert Falck


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