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The Great CES Swindle: Five Years of Flaunting and Failing 6

2009: The Year of Getting Small

It is the unwritten destiny of all consumer electronics to be as small and convergent as possible. Despite the economy being soundly in the crapper, engineers decided to pursue that goal with a fervor, costs be damned.
  • Fulfilling the dream that apparently no one ever really cared to dream, a host of companies pumped out unbelievably small Pico and Micro and Mini video projectors. They're totally amazing, yet seem to have fallen prey to one fatal flaw: why use a projector that produces a TV-size image and requires a pitch black room, when a laptop or TV works just fine in any lighting? We love that these exist, but we also continue to strain our brains figuring out what possible circumstance would require their use.
  • Throwing caution and good sense to the wind, Sony unveiled the gorgeously styled $1,200 VAIO P, otherwise known as the netbook that didn't get the memo about being a low-cost alternative to pricey, full-size laptops.
  • While, by all accounts, it was pretty well made, LG's $1,000 watch phone joined the Pico projectors as gadget-porn with no real-world utility. And thus no future.
  • It would be an exaggeration to call the Palm Pre a failure. To the contrary, it's a pretty great product, and a million or so have been sold. Still, the hype that accompanied the phone was. If we may quote Palm's hyperbolic investor/hype man Roger McNamee: "June 29, 2009 is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later." Ahem. You can pick your own reasons that Pre sales haven't been brisker, but we're pretty sure that god-awful ad campaign with the pasty Renaissance Faire chick hasn't helped any.

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