In baseball the pitcher winds up and hurls the ball. Sometimes the ball is a strike; sometimes a ball; sometimes base hit; and, every so often, a homerun.
This year it seemed that way with CES. The show was all about the windup, but it felt like there was no delivery.
There was no single dominating technology or product such as 4K TVs, 3-D TVs or smart phones. There were lots of promising developments, but nothing that felt like the industry was throwing something significant.
Lots of interesting moving parts: wearables! Drones! 4K TV! Bluetooth! 3-D printing! Fast charging! Home automation! Robot kitchen tools! Electric bikes, scooters and rollerskates! Health!
But no "must-have" products or sectors.
Why is this? Certainly the failure of 3-D television and now 4K television to really catch fire in the last several years is part of it. But the vast range of new technologies and possibilities has overwhelmed the ability of small companies to integrate them into homerun or even basehit products.
For example, despite all the hoopla around wearables - thanks, Apple Watch! - no one has figured out a convincing reason why consumers who can afford a $200-$500 wrist computer would want one. Fitness? That's a tiny American market given our record rates of - burp! - obesity.
I spent most of my CES time in the emerging company section titled "Eureka". Two years ago the section was a hotbed of passionate and inventive companies.
This year not so much. Yes there were some fine companies, but the criteria for entry didn't seem so rigorous. Electric bikes are a wonderful idea, but they've been around for years.
The Storage Bits take
Despite my hopes for some really great stuff, this years CES points to future years of fabulous products. Not much today, but the potential is amazing.
Over the next several days - schedule permitting - I'll go over the CES startups that give me hope that our coolest products are ahead of us. There are some promising ideas and companies that I'll survey.
Comments welcome, as always. The consumer storage world, for instance, seemed focused on tweaks to existing concepts, not radical new products. That's OK, but I'd hoped for more.