Yes, it’s that season again. What I refer to as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. That can only mean one thing – the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Disneyland for adults.
It’s odd, I dislike crowds. But I love CES, even with its nearly 200,000 visitors. Some of the fun is knowing that much of this is going to become a significant part of our lives eventually. Whatever the reason, it’s a pleasure.
How numbing can CES get? Each year among the most popular booths are ones like this from Panasonic oh-so cleverly sucking in visitors by showing its multi-functional relaxing chairs.
That said, CES goes through different stages over time. My experience is that every few years there will be some major development in the tech industry that sets things off on a high level. But it usually then takes several years for the industry to adjust. This was one of those years. I found there to be a “sameness” to much of the show. The technology was seriously impressive, but you just have a large ocean of waves washing over you. Speakers, cameras, headphones, tablets on and on and on, much of it great, but it was a challenge to stand out from the pack.
Also, there are several fields I tend to ignore. Not because they’re not interesting — quite the contrary — but because the level of quality is SO high that differentiating between things is a challenge. A company like LG, for instance, probably has 20 different lines of TV sets — and I don’t have a clue why one is all that different from another. The most mediocre camera is still impressive. And while there are topnotch and lesser Smartphones — they all make calls and run all the apps you want. As for phone cases. it’s like trying to find the best grain of sand.
What I always say in these particular fields is that when it comes time for you to get one — read a few articles, go to a store, stare at them all, and buy the one that looks good to you and costs the least. It’ll be really nice. Or ask friends what they have, and get that…
To be clear, a few products in these fields did manage to leap out of the pack, and I’ll mention them as we go along on our wild ride.
And another thing to keep in mind. Every year, I’m asked the Eternal Question — “What really cool things did you see at CES?!!” To me, the “really good things” are not those that are whiz-bang — rather, it’s something that takes something you need to use every day but improves it in such a clever way that it makes your life easier. Like (if you have animals) the PetNet. This is nothing more than a device for feeding pets -however it lets you set a time with an app on your Smartphone from wherever you are to feed your pet and how much food. At the pre-determined time, a drawer opens with the amount of food you decided on. (It does more, like it can make a determination on the proper…