Matt Honan has a piece over at Wired.com – “Stop Trying to Judge CES” – that, while it may be correct for someone attending CES, is completely tone deaf for those outside of the un-cozy confines of the Las Vegas Convention Center this past week.
While Honan acknowledges how much crap is at CES:
Skepticism is a must, otherwise you just end up with bloodless endorsements of everything. At booth after booth you’ll see an avalanche of me-too junk pitched as the first and best and only–even when there’s something just like it sitting one booth away. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, and just want it all to go away.
But still tries to make the point:
We shouldn’t let that skepticism and weariness make the leap to outright cynicism. There is still much to be excited about here.
He may be right but, from the outside looking in, it’s hard to see what there is to get so excited about.
As I’ve said before, the Tech Media at CES fundamentally fails in separating the wheat from the chaff. When sites like The Verge unquestioningly promote fake products like a “connected toothbrush” that not only isn’t available any time in the near future, it may *never* be available, it’s hard not to get not just world weary over CES but downright cynical about not only the show but of all the breathless announcements the tech media foists on us.
When sites claim some new iPhone case can act like a personal protector and “tase” a bad guy (when it obviously can do no such thing), then the media serves not as a watchdog for their readership but as the lapdog for the interests and companies they are there to cover.
We’ve all seen tech sites claim this CES is all about “wearables” but when Techhive’s Best of Show Award goes to a wearable for dogs, it’s hard to see where the hype falls away and the reality of wearables starts.
Honan is as guilty as anyone when it comes to not being able to see the forest for the trees. After all, this is the guy who couldn’t understand why his wife didn’t want him to broadcast the birth of their second child via Google Glass. He says in his piece:
Take the new Oculus Rift Crystal Cove prototype. It is absolutely mind-blowing; pure amazement in your face. This VR headset is going to change the world.
Let me be the first to tell you – no, it won’t. While it may very well be amazing and cool, it will just be another piece of gaming gear that will fall by the wayside, used only by those who need to immerse themselves in the latest first person shooter or flight sim. The world doesn’t care.
I have no problem with companies bringing prototypes products, pie in the sky ideas and outrageously expensive TV’s, cars and phones to show off at CES, even if those just serve to try and attract attention from investors, buyers and the media. The auto industry has been doing it for years.
My problem is when the media is complicit in the marketing and PR of the above. When the media not only doesn’t have a healthy skepticism over what they see, but worse, puts blinders on and continues to unquestioningly act on behalf of CES, vendors and manufacturers and not in the best interests of their readers.
So until that changes, we should all continue to judge CES and the people who cover it on our behalf.