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CES: the Consumer Electronics Show.
After Hanukah, and Christmas, and Kwanza, and New Year's Day, comes an even bigger holiday for geeks: the biggest tech gadget trade show of the year.
Tablets. Smartphones. PCs. TVs. Car stereos. Pardon the drool, but this is announcement day for much of the year's biggest tech toys. Of course, not every announcement will be met with glee. Here are some of the things we couldn't care less about:
5. 4k Ultra HD Televisions
You know why 4k is pointless? We'll leave it to the guys at Cnet to explain in detail, but (a) your eyes can't tell the difference between 1080p and 4k unless you are close enough to lick the screen and (b) there is pretty much no 4k content available to watch.
Right now, you'd be an early adopter on a wholly useless technology.
Hey, Inspector Gadget, that 5lb weight on your wrist looks stupid and it really doesn't do much, does it?
Smartwatches seem destined to be a thing, in large part because tech companies want more product to push, but is it really that difficult to pull your phone out of your pocket? Besides, these are the modern-day equivalent of those calculator watches, second only to Google Glass as a "please beat me up" fashion accessory.
But if you are intrigued by smartwatches, the new Pebble Steel is about as close as you'll come (so far) to a respectable-looking timepiece.
3. Dual Operating System Tablets
Android doesn't have Microsoft Office. And Windows doesn't have nearly as many online dating apps. What's the solution?
How about a computer that you can switch, back and forth, between operating systems? It sounds like a good idea, except when you realize that you can find substitute programs if you stick to a single OS, that extra OS is taking up valuable storage space on your tablet, and you can't remember which OS was running when you took those notes earlier.
These might be cool for developers, who need to access everything, but don't want to carry around multiple devices. But for the rest of us, just pick an ecosystem and stick with it.
2. Smart TVs
It's nice that your TV can play Netflix. But there is a good reason why TV manufacturers are still struggling to serve up smart TVs that sell: they're too complicated. Of course, they'll argue that this is exactly why they are introducing new models. LG is adopting a failed mobile OS for its new TVs, and Mozilla (the Firefox browser people) are exploring putting their own OS on TVs as well.
Experiment away. For now, nothing beats a "dumb" TV and (a) a Playstation 3, (b) a Chromecast, or (c) a laptop hooked up via an HDMI cable.
Whaa? Seriously though, have you noticed that Apple and Google aren't really here? Samsung is, but not for their flagship phones. The big smartphone players now host their own shows, so the smartphone selection at CES is confined to also-ran companies and odd budget or experimental devices. In other words, nothing lust-worthy for true geeks.
Of course, this begs the question: what does tickle our fancies? We'll be back with the answer later this week. Let us know what we should include on Facebook.