I have celebrated last decade as that of consumerization of technology and I dedicated a chapter to the topic in my book. But I must admit this time of the year, when CES convenes, the noise around consumer tech gets to be unbearable.
So, John Dvorak’s post in PC Mag resonated : “I have never gone to CES and found anything that I absolutely had to own. While there are a few—very few—time-saving devices that would indeed improve life, they're buried in the morass”. And to punctuate his point I got a PR email yesterday about a bookmaker’s projections of likely announcements at the event. Yes, in the global scheme of things, that is huge! But hey, it’s in Las Vegas, after all.
You can argue this is the year of the Tablet at CES – the iPad’s success is bringing out a flurry of alternatives- surely that will help productivity. To which John is right to point out such products are typically lost in a sea of other gimmicky stuff. “They're somewhere in-between the reclining lounge chair that can hold two (not one, but two) beer cans in the armrest and the furry iPod carrying cases.”
My bigger concern than the annual party that is CES is what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. I worry Silicon Valley seems to caught the “light” innovation bug that comes from too much of a focus on consumer tech– as I wrote at GigaOm