Hype and Reality Blurred

So a New Year and a New Week have begun. Peter over at Gizmodo calls it the busiest week of his blogging life, for he is off to CES in Las Vegas. I am looking forward to seeing master of spin (and I don’t mean that in cricketing terms), Steve Jobs weave his magic at the MacWorld in San Francisco. So we shall see if there are mini IPODs after all? Or something called the IBOX or IWrite?

But both these events are about hype and reality blurred. CES, has suddenly become the main event for everyone from consumer electronics makers to PC makers to even cable service providers.

bq. More than 110,000 industry reps from entertainment, airline and hospitality; electronics retailers; government officials; and propeller heads from around the world will descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center this week to try the newest toys at CES, the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world. The show runs from Jan. 8 to 11. “It’s the anti-Comdex,” said Alex Slawsby, an IDC analyst who covers mobile and wireless device technology. “It really is a show designed around the home and personal technology rather than business or enterprise technology.” (Wired News)

Call it the power of commoditization, or as lovingly refer to it as Moore’s Claw. Everyone wants to have a piece of the digital lifestyle pie, and everyone wants to ride the broadband wagon. And as always there will be a lot of FUD Ware. The hype over MoCA, well we shall see but that one is going to meet Saddam’s sons in hell.

I think CES, like other shows before it, has become a great launching pad for hype and blurred reality. Many companies will float ideas, launch press releases, organize parties for journalists, and most of them will not sell these products in any meaningful manner. Hey, look at Prismiq, last year’s CES innovative product winner. How many people have their digital media adapter? Not many. (Isn’t it fitting that all this hype comes from the fakest city in America, Las Vegas. After all floating a press release is like betting on the jacks – who knows, right!)

Would you believe what Bill Gates has to say about anything? As I have said time and again, Microsoft is yet to provide good computing platform (sure I am biased towards Apple, because the damn thing works.) And they want to handle my PVR and my digital rights. No thank you very much! (I do admit, I am beginning to like PocketPC more than Palm.) Intel will talk about PC as the entertainment hub. No thank you for your power sucking processors, Via has a better technology.

HP televisions? Only if they match the quality of their printers, not their PCs. And music downloads from them? Please I would take WalMart over HP everyday – the retzilla has more credibility than “how pathetic.”

Why this early morning rant? Well it is about hype – which always gives me the heebie jeebies. So folks, sit back, relax and see how companies lie to you about the mystical wonders of a digital lifestyle. Meanwhile, the company which actually delivers on it, is having its own fiesta in the city by the Bay. (It is fitting that the big bash is in a beautiful if marginal city, and the celebrations are for a beautiful and marginal computing platform.)

Welcome to 2004: the year of the FUDware?

Wired News round up.