I have a few minutes (and Wi-Fi access), so I figure it's a good time to chime in.
This morning, I went to a press conference from Miele (a German home appliance company like Siemens and Bosch) because it seemed like it might be interesting. And it might have been, except it was all in German. From wandering around, though, I can tell you that they are coming out with a solar powered washing machine and a lot of cappuccino makers.
Bosch held their press conference in German, too, though handed out headsets where an enthusiastic translator gave a play-by-play. They didn't say anything of interest and just talked about surveys and how last year visitors to their booth voted for lime-green to be their color of choice for a refrigerator, which sort of surprised everyone. That aside, Bosch, too, has a lot of cappuccino makers (as you might have guessed, these are big at IF), but also had some incredibly quiet dryers, lots of smart irons (hey, if it was really smart, it wouldn't be an iron...) and an impressive line of cordless, powerful, quiet vacuum cleaners. (As part of this exhibit, the were running the company's very funny TV ad for them, which centered out a test scientist who had to try out the vacuum next to a sleeping tiger.)
Finally, I just got back from the keynote address, and...well, it was incredibly boring. One of the speakers was very enthused about how tonight Samsung is going to be introducing the world's first SmartWatch -- the problem is that they've been around for two years. I finally left when during the Q&A the moderator was politely chiding the press in the audience for not asking more questions. I wanted to say, "We'd ask questions if you'd all said something worth asking a question about." Or perhaps, "I have a question. I'm going to a press conference later in Hall 5.2 -- how do I get to it?"
By the way, back to SmartWatches -- these have been a big buzz here, a big new product field with Samsung, Apple and Google getting into the fray. I don't dismiss the technology, but I do scratch my head about what they see as the big market for this. I've seen them demonstrated in the past, and they've struck me as a big yawn. First of all, everything they do, cell phones pretty much do already, and most people have a cell phone. And cell phones have far bigger screens than SmartWatches do. And finally, as others in the press have noted -- how many people do you know who use watches much anymore?? Clearly, yes, many do -- but most seem to just check their cell phone for the time. So...while perhaps there's a big market for this -- at the moment until convinced otherwise, I wait to be convinced.
And that's it for the moment. Back to wandering. I believe Panasonic and Sony have press conference later today...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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