This week the Consumer Electronics Show is in Las Vegas and the dazzling new gadgets will fill web pages and newspapers for days to come and then, later this week, all eyes will turn to MacWorld and the latest doodads from Apple.
Within the next year or so, many of the items being ballyhooed this week will seep into stores and be available mere mortals like you and me to purchase. The question, though, is do we need it all?
One of the headlines this morning was about Verizon introducing a 2” screen for a phone to allow a better image for their V-cast video, now with expanded programming options. Now, to me, 2” is too damned small to see anything but the phone number I’m dialing or the text message I’m receiving. To date, nothing offered as a cell phone video has once enticed me to consider upgrading my phone and paying an extra monthly fee.
Could it be that I’ve crossed that line that divides generations and I’m now “old”? To me, cell phones are communications tools not portable entertainment centers. No review I’ve read has made any single phone worth purchasing just for its audio or video capabilities. If I want portable music, nothing seems to be the iPod for fidelity, storage and ease of use (and even their screens are too damned small to watch a TV episode).
All along, I’ve been waiting for some form of convergence where a nifty portable eBook reader and PDA would solve some issues. I saw a Sony unit that came really close but was way too expensive. Additionally, while I could download books to the unit, I still can’t download magazines with their color photography. Nor can these run any sort of video even though the screen size is a lot more palatable for use personal use away from home.
My impression is that the electronics manufacturers are trying to make the simple cell phone do too much and are asking for too much money for the services. Instead, they need to be addressing larger issues that require more versatile all-in-one devices at a size that makes sense.