CES 2008: This Is Progress?

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2008-01-30

As surely as the calendar opens on another year, tech marketers of every stripe descend on the Nevada desert to wallow in the gadget orgy that is the Consumer Electronics Show. As we clear the last of the breathless pitches from our inbox, here’s Baseline’s list of the 10 CES “innovations” that should have stayed in Vegas.

1. Taser’s hot-pink stun gun in an MP3-playing holster. There are only two buttons on this lethal little beauty. One unleashes the Dave Matthews Band—the other, searing white-hot pain. Try not to confuse them.

2. Location Based Technologies’ PocketFinder Pet Locator sounds an alarm if your dog suffers a crushing blow. In case the yelping isn't enough of a clue.

3. Myvu’s wraparound glasses let you tune out the world while watching videos in your own, personal, antisocial little cinema. The “glance-down design” allows for “situational awareness.” Uh-huh.

4. Cruzin Cooler, “the world’s first motorized, rideable ice chest.” This bastardized scooter holds 27 12-ounce cans and can go 14 mph with a 300-pound rider. If you want one, that last spec probably matters to you.

5. Bill Gates playing Guitar Hero II on stage with Slash. Not a tech item, just something we never want to see again.

6. Eton and the Red Cross’ FR1000, a hand-crankable emergency radio with built-in walkie-talkie and siren packaged like the console of a BMW 7-series. Perfect for communicating with paranoid survivalist yuppies.

7. Lasonic boomboxes. Yup, just what it sounds like. Boomboxes. Straight outta 1982. Grab your Adidas and a sheet of cardboard and bust some throwback flare. Then go get an iPod like the rest of us.

8. Geewhiz Entertainment’s Mr. Clock Radio. A clock radio with a smart-alecky robot head that sneers, smirks and makes with the wisecracks. We give it a week of predawn wakeups before it’s reduced to guttural moans and plastic shards.

9. FrommWorks’ QuikPod. A stick that holds your camera at arm’s length so you can take your own picture. If you can’t use the self-timer or ask a stranger for help, you’re probably about to take a pic that will come back to haunt you. Don’t do it.

10. Dell’s Alienware three-foot-long curved monitor. Nothing says “go play outside” like a 2880x900 DLP display. Lines where the four segments are joined are plainly visible, ruining the suspension of disbelief on your enormous spreadsheets.