Tech show could have used a bit more wow
LAS VEGAS – The $19,000 high-end floating bathtub from Japanese manufacturer Toto was cool, but a cuttingedge tech gadget? Not really.
The mammoth technology convention formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show was stacked with home and bath products this year. Though a new Kohler toilet is bluetooth-enabled and lets you flush by asking Alexa to do just that, it was hard to lump these appliance upgrades in with some of the technological leaps that really make a mark in our lives.
After all, this show gave us VCRs, Blu-Ray and DVD players, the Ring video doorbell and those giant TVs.
The story that overshadowed everything else was the rivalry between Amazon and Google to get their connected speaker technology into as many products as possible, from speakers, stoves, refrigerators and even a shower to respond to your wishes.Yes, the category has been around for a few years, but like it or not, based on what we saw on the show floor, virtually every new tech product you’ll be buying in the coming months and years is going to respond to your voice.
We like the rush to bring voice to products, although the idea of springing $1,200 to ask Alexa to turn on the shower just isn’t in our vocabulary. (Asking the stove to heat up, if it doesn’t add hundreds of dollars to the cost, seems plausible.)
Beyond the emphasis on appliances, we could have used fewer old products at a show that should be celebrating the new.
When the Consumer Technology Association, the organizer of the show, hands the Nissan car company an Innovation Award on the eve of the show for the electric Leaf car, you know CES is in real trouble. The Leaf was introduced in 2011.
What we wanted to see at CES 2018? Brand-new gadgets that made us say wow. There were robots, but they were little more than the brains of Alexa and the equivalent of an iPad for smiles. We saw old products with function (new Sony bluetooth earbuds that actually do what they’re supposed to, stay in your ear). But few CES 2018 entrants pushed the envelope.
We love DJI’s new Osmo Mobile 2, a gimbal steadicam for your smartphone, to bring cinematic quality to your hand-held videos, but it’s a 2year old product. That said, DJI lowering the price from $300 to $125 caught our attention.
CES displays Luka, a line of children’s robots.