CES warning: think before you drool

CES is going on now, and that means I’m quite a bit more suicidal than usual. Why? I hate rumors. Until something has a price, final spec sheet and release date, I don’t want to even know about it. Apple is great that way, because by the time they present the new iThingy, it’s finalized. Then you have other companies, you know, the ones that are at CES. Unlike Apple, they all operate on promises rather than actual products. Promises of $249 Tegra 3 tablets that will be released sometime, with specs of some sort, maybe, likely. Ignore the fact that it’s essentially the same (but upgraded) tablet that the company showed off all of last year without ever actually releasing, let’s take it as a certainty anyways!

No thank you. If you ask me, these CES devices are as much rumors as random “experts” saying that the iPad 3 is likely to have a built in jetpack. By the time these devices actually release – and judging by the Q2 stamp that seems to be on everything that might not be for 6 months if we’re even that lucky – there’s no telling what specs they have or what the tablet market will look like. Not only because prices will drop and technology will get better in half a year, but also because Apple has an iPad announcement between now and then, and that’s not to be taken lightly.

All this is why it saddens me to talk to people and hear that they’re planning on postponing tablet purchases based on what’s at CES. Somehow, these unfinished tablets without proper release dates are making people think twice about purchases they intended to make now. Here’s a tip for you: technology always changes. It is physically impossible to buy a future proof device, so no matter when you buy a device there will be a better one in 6 months (or 12 if you’re Apple-only). The question is at which point the upgrades you gain from waiting stops being worth having no device for that much longer. If you go down to the local electronics store and buy an iPad 2 now, then you’ll have an old model iPad in about 3-5 months, but you’ll have an iPad for 3-5 months longer.

So, there you have it, the curse of CES. To be perfectly frank I wish that show didn’t exist at all, leaving companies to release press releases when they’re all done and ready instead of rushing to come up with false promises for the January of each year. Of course there are legitimate announcements there too, and it allows connections to be made and existing products to be shown off, but the part of it that makes it out to the rest of the world has a tendency to do more harm than good.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.