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Wow starts now?

  • Darren Waters
  • 6 Jan 07, 04:11 PM

A fleet of taxi cabs is buzzing around Vegas with adverts on their rooftop placards from Microsoft for its new Vista operating system - the "wow starts now" is the claim.

CES has always been about the wow and perhaps the ads signify a wider sense of anticipation for the next and the new that will be unveiled in the coming days.

But there's a creeping tone of caution emerging from some well-respected bloggers about what exactly we will see next week.

Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg - one of the best connected tech writers in the business - has said CES will be evolutionary not revolutionary.

"Don't look for lots of new stuff to be introduced, look instead for products that are reaching maturation to show how they can differ from other products by allowing for better interaction, managment, integration, form factor or price," he writes.

He makes the valid point that too much of technology is alienating to the average person and touts the emergence of the "digital consumer".

He is absolutely right. Anyone who has grappled with the dark arts of a wi-fi network, for example, knows that "plug in and play" is still a hope more than than a reality. And in this digital age we are supposed to be hooking up our lives into home networks.

Some hope with the problems that face the average consumer. I read earlier on our BBC CES blog that Click editor Richard Taylor has not only got his e-mail up and running but is also planning to stream TV content from his home Sky box via a Slingbox over the net to his laptop - or perhaps even to his mobile phone.

I'm glad he found the wi-fi network here at the motel, where the BBC is ensconced, easy to use. I had some real teething problems being able to connect to the BBC network. The solution was simple in the end but still took an hour of messing around with proxy servers.

And no digital consumer in this day and age should even have to know what a proxy server is!

Another tech pundit sounding a note of caution is Robert Scoble who asks if CES is "going to be a snore?".

He points out that the announcement of a hard disk holding a terabyte of information is the hottest story on TechMeme , a website which acts as a barometer for tech interests.

His point is that if a hard drive is the talk of CES just a few days before the show, then perhaps we should not expect too much.

Perhaps we should all be a little more realistic.

One of the commenters on this blog certainly agrees.

John wrote:

"Another huge tech-fest of useless, glitzy gadgets coming up, brought to you by our dynamic corporations, to dazzle the starry-eyed sheep into letting go of their hard-earned bucks in the dumb hope that it will somehow make their lives better."

I don't share his pessimism but appreciate his comment. We've had a good start to the comments so far and hope people will continue to leave their thoughts as CES unfolds.


Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:46 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • jan wrote:

"...of technology is alientating to the average person..."
Inc. spelling checkers? And not just for Mr. average but the technology editor of the BBC News website, too.

  • 2.
  • At 05:09 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Sal wrote:

What does CES stand for? What does the acronym mean?

  • 3.
  • At 05:21 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Burt wrote:

I totally disagree with your post that says that people should not have understanding of the equipment or software they use.
When consumers use instruments they do not know or understand, they face problems that the makers have not understood.
Think about the time when housewifes only had to use one spoon of powerfull product, but kept using half a kilo because they were used to "old" product.

It has a big importance, that products can be plugged and used, but at this time it is of big importance that people understand what they have and what they use.
Windows is quite unsafe, but most virusses propagate because of the user and not only because of the software.

  • 4.
  • At 01:41 AM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Tom Fisher wrote:

Sounds like you need a mac. Seriously I thought wifi was complicated and plug an dplay didn't work until I got my mac. When I am work, it is a different matter. I use windows at work and ge utterly frustrated with plugging in and unplugging USB devices and clcking pop up boxes. The wireless connection is always flaky though my colleague (who uses mac) says it's fine...
Skip CES and head to Macworld instead.

  • 5.
  • At 01:55 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Mark Cresswell wrote:

Sal (2), CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, now in its 40th year. As one of the largest technology shows in the world its full name has largely been dropped for its acronym. I would argue that it has suffered from the 'bigger must be better' mentality of late.

Is it really the showcase of electronics for the year ahead that it once was?

  • 6.
  • At 08:56 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Isha Reddy wrote:

There is just a limit of things that the CES will make idiot proof. People have to take the hassle to figure out what proxy servers are .. because the handymen (or handywomen mind you) of the future will be doing the network fixing around the household :P

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