I’m spending this weekend attending the Consumer Electronics Showcase convention here in Las Vegas. This year I’m going under the auspices of trying to find new products that dads would be into, but really I go to look at the cool TVs. At 1.5 million square feet of space, the convention showrooms are really unbelievably large - think of the biggest car or boat show you were ever dragged to times twenty. And every square foot is full of the latest (and not-so-latest) gadgets, televisions, cameras, and pretty much anything with a computer chip in it. For some it might be hell, but for this gadget freak it’s a lot of fun.
So far I’ve spent a day looking around, and it seems the big buzzword this year is “convergence.” Getting your TV to talk to your refrigerator to talk to your front door to talk to your MP3 player to talk to your digital camera is what apparently everyone is looking for, but no one has. Bill Gates spent a good amount of time talking about how Microsoft is going to get all of this accomplished in his keynote address on Wednesday, and I saw two separate presentations from Panasonic and LG today about how the home of the future is going to be all interconnected, but quite frankly it’s all kind of underwhelming. So I’m going to be able to program my Tivo remotely on the internet? Cool, but I should have been able to do that two years ago. And I can get a refrigerator from LG that will tell me when I’m out of milk and when someone is at the door? Um, I’m actually getting that done quite well on my own, without a computer embedded in the freezer door believe it or not.
After the first day I haven’t really found any great products for kids or anything that’s made me say, “Ah ha! Now that’s going to make a dad’s life easier!” but I’m still looking. Next week I’ll give my full report. In the mean time if there is anything specific you’d like me to check out, <!-- document.write('email me'); // --> and I’ll see what I can do.