With every CES we get a good idea about what will be big in the next year in technology. But it’s a long way from what the tech industry goes crazy for when it's announced to when it reaches the hands of consumers.
With so many hawking their products, there are bound to be some lemons. Here are some hyped products that never really — or have yet to — hit.
Launched in 2007 but hyped as the big trend of CES 2009, (touch screens! Twistable monitors!) these low-cost, low-powered computers were supposed to replace laptops for most of us. The Asus Eee PC's initial sales success spawned a bunch of imitators, but then companies worried about cannibalizing laptop sales, so they either were too low-powered to be any good, or too close to Notebook PCs. In the end, this was a product category that just died, despite a few attempts over the years to revive it. Now, we have tablets, ultrabooks and Google's Chrome line of machines that have made them extinct.
3D Screen Tech
Despite cars and startups taking up more and more space at CES, the show will always be about TVs. In 2010, 3D screen tech was unveiled as the next big thing, with cumbersome glasses, annoying sight lines and very little content. Even with all that baggage, it was pushed for the next few years, and has become a standard capability on most TV sets. The trouble? No one uses it. In the years since, manufacturers have moved on to bigger screens, smart TVs, curved designs and 4K UHD, and are waiting to see what grabs consumers. This is another reason to never be the earliest adopter, as you might be paying a premium for a dud.
The list of companies that tried to launch a hyped tablet only for it to turn into vapourware is long and distinguished, so let's not be too hard on the fine folks at RIM (a.k.a. BlackBerry). In 2011 and 2012, the company's tablet was a key piece of tech that was to help right the ship. It sold very well in its first three months, and then flamed out, with the company having to eventually discount them and writing down almost a half billion dollars on its tablet business. The company is still on trend and trying, with its QNX division currently trying to get in on the connected car hype.
This product will have a special place in my heart. Launched in 2013, this was a smart spoon that reminds you to eat slower, so you can truly get all the health benefits from what you eat. At that year's CES, it was everywhere, and a product that my editors went gaga for. In its way, it is still on trend, as every household gadget has at least one player peddling a connected version of the most mundane appliance, even where it doesn't make sense.Google bought Liftware, another therapeutic smart spoon maker in 2014, and you can now buy the Hapifork for around $150. So it's a success in that it actually still exists, but it certainly didn't set the world on fire.
The jury's still out on this motorized smart belt that took the hype crown at CES 2015. It was a self-adjusting belt that gave you a bit more room after, say, a heavy meal. It’s back at CES this year, with a new model name (Good Vibes), a redesign and new features, including adding vibrating notifications. Which means it can do things like remind you to drink more water, if you aren't hydrated enough. The company has made the new version lighter with more hand-stitched leather styles. With a price tag of $395 (U.S.) and an expected launch date of December 2016, we'll have to wait 12 months or so see if this product can set the (pants) world on fire. Not literally, because that would be a real design flaw.