No, I didn’t go to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—sorry! I still have to spend my time earning a living and working with my favorite people—my customers. However, many of my friends did get a chance to attend CES in Las Vegas, and here are some of the more impressive peeks into our future that they sent back to me.
Probably the most talked about advancement at the show was about moving into 5G, bringing us even more speed and better definition on everything from our phones to tablets, and most importantly, televisions. The 5G wars have begun, so be prepared to be inundated with ads from Verizon and AT&T next year as 5G services become available. I miss the days of doing things like going into space and landing on the moon rather than finding better ways to sit on our butts and watch inferior actors in crappy movies…but I digress.
Speaking of even higher definition television sets, the new thing is going to be foldable TV screens. Now, instead of that puny 40-inch TV screen (how yesterday!), you will be able to buy foldable TVs that open up to 65–85 inches—nearly a movie screen for your living room. And these sets will come in 8K instead of 4K so that those same inferior actors in those same crappy movies will look even better, not to mention bigger and I’m sure louder. I can’t wait!
Voice commands are coming into their own next year as well, which means we’ll talk to smart home devices named Alexa and Siri (and whatever other stupid names they come up with) more than we will to our spouses. This will give us more opportunities to sit on our ever-widening butts, doing nothing more productive than yelling commands to an electronic box to make something happen that we could do ourselves if we had the energy to get off the couch and weren’t too busy stuffing our faces with Cheetos to the point of permanent inertia.
And then there are the self-driving cars, and if that is not bad enough, a new self-driving motorcycle was introduced at the show. Really? I’m not a motorcycle driver myself, but I’ve always secretly wanted to be, and I always thought the reason to drive a motorcycle was for the fun of it. There have been times when I have been the passenger on the back of a motorcycle, but that never seemed anywhere near as fun as being the driver, which seems like fun to me. I can’t imagine who would want a self-driving motorcycle, but that’s just me. Now that I’ve said that, I’m sure I’ll hear from some clever self-driving motorcycle company’s marketing person who will give me a call informing me of why I can’t live without one.
All of this leads me to the ever-popular and ever-present phone—the quintessential symbol of our times. With everything discussed earlier, including the onset of 5G, phones are going to get bigger than ever. Yes, that’s right, they’re coming out with foldable phones (didn’t we used to call those flip phones?). Samsung will introduce a 6.2-inch phone that unfolds into a 12.4-inch device when you want to really see what you are wasting your time on while riding on the back of a self-driving motorcycle.
Okay, I’m just having some fun with you (sort of). I love all of this new stuff, and I’m certain that a year from now, I’ll be marveling about how great my theater-sized office TV is, especially when I’m watching some of my favorite movies like Hangover 28 and Oceans 21.
But for now, I’ll just keep wishing that these geniuses would invent things that I could really use like great-looking personal 3D glasses of my own that I could buy and wear when watching 3D movies. Or being able to buy more than one phone on the same number, so that I could have a sporty model for hiking, and a more formal model for when I wear my tux (not!), and a smaller model for when I’m traveling—I could switch them depending on my mood or what I’m doing. I would think that the people who make and sell phones would love this idea—being able to sell multiple phones to the same person.
If only we could invent something that would stop hunger and poverty, give us world peace, or stop us from being so angry with each other all the time—something we desperately need and could use right now. That would be something, wouldn’t it?
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.