Posted by: The moderator | January 8, 2010

Transparently Gimmicks

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) appears to have little to show when it comes to truly innovative technology. There are plenty of incremental improvements to existing technology, but nothing that revolutionizes the digital world. The only eye-catching devices were transparent screens and 3D television, two worthless gimmicks that initially look cool but have few practical (or even enjoyable) uses.

Microsoft’s disappointing keynote address kicked off the mediocre exhibits by reminding the audience about all the products Microsoft has already released, including Windows 7, Xbox 360, Zune, and the Bing search engine. HP’s tablet PC was briefly touched upon with little useful information to report. It seems Microsoft just wanted to mention it before Apple announces what is expected to be a major milestone in tablet computing later this month.

There were plenty of big/thin/high-def televisions on display, just like every other year. Among things to plug into these pricey TVs, the Boxee Box got the most attention with its ability to play streaming media from the internet as well as local digital content in an array of file formats.

Several companies are hoping to cash in on 3D television, which critics have labeled as a “gimmick” and “dead on arrival.” Who’s going to wear glasses in their home to watch something that hasn’t even caught on at movie theaters, despite being in existence for decades?

The one cool thing to come out of CES 2010 is not very practical. It’s Samsung’s transparent screens on their IceTouch MP3 player and OLED display notebook. It’s a nifty display similar to the technology we’ve seen in various sci-fi Hollywood blockbusters, but why would you want the clutter of the real-world making the text on your screen harder to read or showing through your digital pictures and videos?

CNN says it best, arguing that “this volley of lackluster launches pales in comparison to the hype around new gadgets from Google and Apple,” including two new highly anticipated devices that aren’t even at the 2010 CES. Google’s Nexus One smartphone was launched at its own event on Tuesday and Apple is expected to announce its touchscreen tablet on January 27.

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