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CES 2010: So What's Really "New"?

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So after surfing through page after page of CES coverage, I am beginning to get technology overload-on-the-brain, without much real long-lasting value. Like downing a double latte in 10 seconds, I ride the caffeine high that is New Technology, until I come crashing down into a tech-device depression.

If so many people are hip into the new wares for 2010, why does the focus of "Greatest gadgets for 2010" keep wandering? Everyone has their take on what's cool, what's tech-fashionable, and what's gotta have. But what is "new"? New as in Revolutionary New.

Look back over the last five years or so, and follow the progression of tech gadgetry; sure there have been big, revolutionary technology devices like the Wii controller and the Apple iPhone interface, but has the overall face of technology really changed that much? As I think back, the CES buzz every year is almost a carbon copy of the year before. Leave for a moment the specific devices, and consider the "talk"; newer, faster, smaller, lighter, longer lasting, and inevitably better.

But in the big picture, it appears that the technology market itself is designed around getting end-users to "upgrade!". That cursed word, that scars each and every one of us as technology aficionados. Who amongst us hasn't felt the underlying need to upgrade something in our technology stockpile? Who can say with certainty that they haven't fallen prey to the technology marketing campaigns that blanket us with newer better faster every day; on TV, on radio, on our computers -- where does it end?

As CES chugs along, a behemoth of collective technologies that tempts us into getting the next greatest thing, I'm left feeling like I've been had -- like a shell game gone bad where I'm left standing with soon-to-be last year's gadget, I can't help but wonder if we're all part of a marketing conspiracy. Does "THE GREATEST GADGET OF ALL TIME" already exist? Is the all-encompassing device already developed, sitting in a hangar in Nevada somewhere next to the wreckage of a space ship? Are we being driven to upgrade technology in our lives, for the sake of filling someone's pocketbook? Or is there a real "technology continuum" that must exist in order for technology to evolve?

CES will always be the "what's what" of high tech, this is for certain. As my mind numbs for being inundated with new-gadget-goodness, the endpoint to all of this new technology seems to get lost in the marketing fog.

So aside from what's evolved, what actually "is" new..?

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