The Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas had tech geeks excited about the newest and coolest technology advancements. The anticipation of the next greatest, innovative gizmo is a large part of why people attend the show. Where is technology heading? For many, if not most, anything that differs slightly from what is currently selling, is innovative and exciting. Listed are just a few of the new products that are overhyped and underwhelming that many people will purchase simply because they are the latest thing. But what’s really happening is that all of these companies are simply looking for new revenue streams and attempting to convince the very gullible audience that this is something they must have. It’s the reason that we haven’t advanced the computer or the phone for example. At the end of the day, the Smartphone is just a PHONE!! Yes it can text and make it easier to look up a phone number, book a hotel, call for a taxi, or play a video game. Those are very low expectations for a country that 46 years ago, landed a man on the moon. Think about it!
4K Television is still in its infancy. The fact that there is not yet enough content available is the smallest of the issues it faces. Most importantly, it’s just a television. The jump from black and white televisions to color and the leap to HDTV were revolutionary. Both changed the way we view TV. But to simply say at this point that an already almost flawless picture will be even more lifelike is hardly worth the extra money people will have to lay out in order to improve the quality to a point that most people who have HD would hardly even realize. HD is already too high-tech. Years ago, one couldn’t see all of the imperfections on the faces and bodies of the actresses that we thought flawless. Now, every mole and fleshy piece of skin is visible. It’s all too real. The illusion is gone and that’s too bad. 3D television and curved TVs are simply gimmicks.
Interactive TV adds absolutely no value to the viewing experience. it’s annoying enough that a phone number and contact information appears on the screen anytime someone calls. Who wants to be interrupted while watching a movie or the Super Bowl? Aren’t there times where people want to relax with a beer or glass of wine and watch a program without being bombarded by the outside world? Do we really need another method for browsing the internet, paying bills or banking? Tcommerce is a curse word in my vocabulary but necessary for the providers of services if they are to make any real money. They must convince consumers that this is what they need.
The Smartwatch is another gadget that is completely unnecessary. It will never replace a Rolex, Longines, Tag Heuer, Omega, Breitling or Movado. No matter which company’s Smartwatch one purchases, it’s nothing more than a Chinese made, (cheaply produced), piece of technology that will simply exist as an addition to the smart phone if one is too lazy to take it out of one’s pocket. While a fine watch is a piece of artwork and one might argue, an even greater piece of technology. And while there are many, particularly young people who may not be able to afford them, it is something to aspire to. A watch, despite cost, is about individuality. It says something about the person who wears it and not simply because of the cost. The Smartwatch is a cookie cutter gadget with no distinction. And if there are millions of people who can shell out the starting price of $349, (it goes up from there), on a completely unnecessary gadget, that means two things; 1) they can afford a classic timepiece and 2) we need to end the conversation about the poor economy.
Fitbits and other Exercise Regimen Wearables Of all the gadgets out there, this is among the most silly. Americans are the most obese people on the planet and simply placing a gizmo on their wrists that tracks their heart rate, steps walked and calories burned, isn’t going to change that . Someone needs to explain how this fad is going to help Americans lose weight by telling them how many steps they took and calories they burned on the way to their local McDonald’s?! It’s like the person who orders a Diet Coke with their Big Mac. According to the Food Research and Action Center, 68.5% of Americans are either overweight or obese. It’s simply another way to get people to spend money. Americans need to change their eating habits and need to exercise. There is simply no shortcut or way around it. The only true measure of fitness is losing weight, muscular development and cardiovascular improvement, i.e. running a 10K in 50 minutes and 6 months later running a 10K in 43 minutes. These gizmos are also not relevant for people who exercise and are in good shape. Fads and gimmicks won’t change American habits.
It’s time to challenge the technology companies to invent, to create something more than another television or a Smart Anything. Something perhaps that the average person could not have envisioned. Technology companies are resting on their past successes and hoping to cash in on small changes or improvements without having to spend much on R&D. A better Smartphone camera, or more storage in the cloud are hardly advancements. The technology companies have the ability to provide incredible picture quality and unlimited memory today but it would prevent them from cashing in a little bit at a time. But as long as people are willing to accept baby steps, as long as they lack imagination, tech companies will only provide what is necessary to make a greater profit. NASA has invented many of the products that we now take for granted and may be our last, best hope for providing those of us with grander imaginations the ability to reach for the stars. Televisions, watches and phones….How Sad!!!