Tyler Harper

The future is obsolete

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Every year, the Consumer Electronic Show provides a glut of geeky, cool products many of us may never own but can no doubt drool over. Pouring over the latest stories yesterday, I found myself mentally measuring the possibility of fitting a 150-inch TV in my living room or obsessing over an impractically awesome transparent laptop.

However, the glut of CES gadgets seems to be e-readers. Tech companies are quickly catching on that the e-reader, which may or may not save media, are on consumer’s radar. That’s great, because if newspapers make the jump to devices such as the Skiff (which was partially developed by publisher Hearst Corp) then the onus won’t be on the next-generation of journalists to figure out how to save the industry.

The only problem is the e-reader is already teetering on the brink of being obsolete. Gizmodo’s Wilson Rothman wonders if the e-reader isn’t just “an interm technology” while the world waits impatiently for the mythological Apple tablet (buzz over the rumoured January launch was enough to boost Apple’s shares in December). Dell and HP released their own tablets at CES, and the technology is quickly making even the newest e-readers look old and tired.

E-reader technology is still too new to make it a must buy. There’s no colour and the wireless stores aren’t complete. They remind me of the first iPods; they were OK, but you also knew they were just the beginning of something much better. That’s more or less where we are at with e-readers and tablets. Kind of cool, but not enough to save your local paper. Not yet, anyway.


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