CES has come and gone, and with that there is a herd of new products intent on capturing the hearts and minds of everyone’s wallets. The problem with tech trends, though, is that they’re currently completely shit.
So in this article, we’re going to go through all the hot products at CES 2020, and completely ruin them, because modern tech ideas are almost universally horrible things and show off better than anything else how appalling this late-stage capitalist landscape has become! This won’t be a fun article.
Since there were several thousand products announced this year, and that would take far too long, we are instead going to go through CNET’s list of the hottest 20 products, and take a closer examination to see if they really are worth buying (hint: no). As a result of this, we will only be looking at products that actually have an intended release date, not just concepts. I feel it’s a bit unfair to be looking at conceptual ideas. Also CNET appears to love these products and think there’s nothing wrong with them whatsoever, so it’s fun to point and laugh.
Apparently Alienware have decided it would be a great idea to put a gaming PC in a handheld device. How heavy do you think that thing would be? You’d never be able to hold it all together, you’d have to remove the controllers on either side (which are thankfully detachable) and play that way.
But now we have a second issue. This is a fully functional Windows 10 PC, yes? So… how are you going to type things? Is there a touchscreen? If so, how will that affect gameplay? What’s the battery life like? Does this thing actually have enough power to run games at a decent speed? The price hasn’t been announced yet, as this is only a prototype, but I’m guessing it will be many thousands of dollars for a sub-par product that has been done better before.
Okay, so creating a pork substitute is probably a good thing for the planet, but what is it actually made of? We know it’s a plant-based product, but… what plants? Also, it has 420 (nice) milligrams of sodium per serving, as opposed to just 80 milligrams for real pork, which probably isn’t good. Granted, the rest of the stats appear to be healthier.
Really, my main confusion about this is… why is this at CES? Wouldn’t this type of product be more suited for a food conference or something? The fact that it’s at CES makes me think there’s some devious tech going on inside, and I don’t want to think about that when I’m eating.
Withings have now jumped into the “spying on your most private data” game with this smartwatch that can allegedly check for sleep apnea. Here’s my issue with this: you find out you have sleep apnea, so you get a CPAP machine, right? Well, now the one standout feature of this watch is useless, as the CPAP regulates your breathing and prevents sleep apnea from happening any more. Now it’s just a watch.
Besides, do we really need yet another device that sends health data to faceless corporations, for them to do god knows what? I really don’t think so.
I’ll be honest: this one is cute. This is a robotic lapdog, intended for use by seniors with cognitive problems, but it has seen interest from people with PTSD and autism. It’s designed by a robot startup in collaboration with the Jim Henson company, and it’s quite cute. What possible problem could I have with this?
Probably the fact that it’s on Kickstarter. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing, but… if it’s designed in collaboration with the Jim Henson Company, which is now owned by Disney… surely they could have spared some change? Kickstarter makes it seem like the entire thing is a startup, and yet part of the revenue will be going to Disney, one of the most powerful corporations on earth. Great.
Jesus christ, I just ruined an adorable lap puppy, I hate myself. Let’s move on.
If there’s one thing I’ve had trouble with, it’s mixing makeup. It’s just the most difficult thing in the world, you know? Fortunately, L’Oreal have come to the rescue with a product that promises to remove all the hassle that there definitely is in this difficult process. Simply load the thing with cartridges that you can’t refill and cost a million dollars each, and you’re away!
This thing just screams “fuck the environment”. I realise makeup is a bit like that, but come on, you could at least try to make it more environmental. But no, money is more important, I get it… twits.
Look, new advances in prosthetic technology are always wonderful. The world is hard enough, and if you’re missing a bit, it’s even worse. Honestly, this is probably the best product on the list? However, my main issue is that it’s apparently “AI-powered”.
What… exactly does that mean? If it means machine learning, you could be very screwed. If it doesn’t, then what are you talking about? Besides, there doesn’t appear to be any way to hack this product open and do your own repairs, which is very important for a device that is literally a helping hand.
The CNET article about this product has the headline “You can move this prosthetic hand with your mind”. I don’t know why I found that funny.
It’s a Chromebook. I know it has all these flashy specs, but it’s still a Chromebook. The problem isn’t the specs, it’s the operating system. If you actually want to create something more than a basic document, you’re out of luck here.
I want choice when it comes to my computers, and Chromebooks basically remove all that choice. Thanks Google, I’m really happy this thing exists. God I’m depressed.
I’ve been staring at this image for ten minutes now and I still don’t really understand what’s going on. Is it actually bumpy? Or is that just a pattern? Judging by what’s behind the phone, it almost looks slightly translucent, which is even more confusing.
Well, it turns out that’s the back of the phone. That makes a bit more sense, but why it needs that pattern to make it even more difficult to hold I do not know. It’s already a seven inch display for god’s sake. Let’s take a tablet-sized display and turn it into an impossible to hold phone! Yeah! I’m sure no one will drop it—oh shit I just did ABORT ABORT
This was my thought process when I saw this: “Oh cool, another manufacturer is jumping into the OLED TV race. There’s only been two companies so far, so I’m glad that a third one will be able to shake up the market a bit—oh wait it’s a smart TV, and basically useless as a result, never mind.”
I seriously don’t understand the craze of having smart TVs everywhere. I like the idea of a 4K TV, but you cannot get a single dumb 4K TV. They literally don’t make them any more, so there’s even more chance for your device to prematurely break. It’s such a racket, I swear. If someone were to make dumb 4K TVs, I would buy them straight away.
This is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. There is absolutely no way this is going near my mouth, are you insane?
In any case, everyone’s mouth is different. How can you guarantee that this brush will actually be able to get to all the teeth in your mouth and clean them equally well? It seems like the answer to “why did no one do this before?” is “because it’s a shit idea”.
Smart locks might actually be the worst product ever invented (save for a product coming up in a moment). Not only are they overly expensive, but what happens when the battery dies? How are you going to get into the house? Is there a key you can use?
That’s not even mentioning security. Do you want to live in a home where a hacker can unlock all the doors in your house from three continents away? Do you really want to live in a home where an unscrupulous party can find out whenever you’ve left the house? Nothing about this sits well with me. Give me a padlock any day.
I don’t know about you, but I have never in my life wanted a laptop with mobile connectivity. On the offchance that I do, I’d just plug in a dongle and I’d be good to go. I’d know exactly when I was using mobile data, it wouldn’t even be possible to accidentally leave it on.
Also what’s with the trend of laptops that can bend backwards? It just looks unpleasant to me. Besides, when I try those out, I always feel like I’m going to press a key accidentally, because of course, you have to hold the keyboard on the back! I know that stuff automatically disables itself, but it’s so concerning to me that I cannot get on with them.
You know how I said that smart locks were the worst product ever made? Well, this is even worse. This is a baby monitoring system that can tell when a baby has had a little accident, and… notify you via an app. It also detects how well the baby is sleeping and allows you to compare to what they should be getting, because new parents totally need more stress in their life.
This stuff makes me weep for the children of tomorrow. Indoctrinate your child into obeying your corporate tech overlords right from birth! Little Tikes, My First Wiretap. Christ.
CNET is claiming that a stylus is now a “power feature”. I’m not sure there’s enough scorn in the world to put to that.
You know what else is apparently a power feature now? A headphone jack. It’s on the Note 10 Lite, but not the S10 Lite. This is just making me want to hold on to my LG G4 until the day I die. It also has a 6.7 inch screen, which is approaching tablet size yet again. I know there’s been a trend with this kind of thing, but come on, guys. There has to be a limit.
This electric car has a solar roof on it. Sounds good, right? Well, wait until a single bird shits on it, and you’d better make sure you clean that off as soon as possible. You can’t just leave it any more.
Incidentally, you can just make out a screen at the front of the car, much like Tesla cars have. Unlike Tesla, however, this one just appears to stick out, and it looks extremely flimsy. Brake too hard, and that’s the end of that.
There’s a great quote from Brian David Gilbert that I feel is appropriate here:
Some asshole thought “Hey, you know that thing that we throw against a wall many miles per hour, every single day, multiple times a day? You know what would make that better? If it could feel pain.” WHAT?!
Considering we’re sticking AI into everything now, including washing machines apparently, I feel like it’s only a matter of time until we do this. Seriously, who was asking for a washing machine to have AI in it? Does anyone know? I can’t think of a single reason for this to exist.
My web host’s terms of service forbid me from going into too much detail here, but if I’m being fucked by a robot? I want to feel like I’m being fucked by a robot, not a human. God.
Once again, yet another product in search of a problem to solve. No one has ever wanted a microwave to include a 27-inch tablet on the front. It seems like the more that companies do this, the more blatant it becomes that they’re just trying to find more and more subtle ways to wiretap us.
This even includes a camera for “video chatting”! Who wants to video chat from their microwave? God. Yet another failure point for an appliance that really didn’t need another one.
“Soudbar” is not a typo, that’s what CNET called it in their article. It’s a fucking h2 tag, CNET, come on.
So this soudbar has motorised drivers that flip to face the ceiling whenever a film with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack is being played, which adds yet another layer of complexity to the system, causing it to break sooner than it really should. Not only that, but it means that the speakers within the soudbar can’t work to their best. Great.
Fun fact: CNET describes the aluminium construction as giving it more class. Because if there’s one thing I think of when it comes to an extremely light and common metal like aluminium, it’s class.
The final device just saddens me. This is essentially a tablet which is meant to consolidate every streaming service you have into one box. That is a genuine problem, but there is no reason why it should be. Corporations got greedy and wanted their own individual streaming services, and now there are so many that we’re back to the bad old days of cable TV.
My web host’s terms of service forbid me from saying what I really wanna say here, but let’s just say that I’ve ordered a Jolly Roger flag, and would advise you to do the same.
Honestly, I haven’t even scratched the surface here. There are so many different products at CES that it’s hard to find the “best” ones. I didn’t even mention the Intel laptop that is also just a massive foldable tablet, combining the worst of both worlds, or the fact that the Playstation 5 presentation was essentially nothing more than a logo. If CES 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that modern day tech trends are really very good at showing off the hideous capitalistic hellscape that we live in, and that we need to make a drastic change to how our economic system works before we end up selling our hearts and livers to Amazon or something.