The System is the Product, Again

Creating systems of products that work well together is looking to be a key trend at CES. An article in the NY Times observes:

As wonderful as all these toys are, most of the devices on display this year are not electronic islands. Nearly everything is a little computer that wants to seek out and connect to other computerized devices, no matter who makes them. Then they will send your music, photos and video around your home, and get even more from the Internet.

Well, that’s what they are supposed to do, when they work right, which, so far, has not been all too often.

If sorting through connectivity and compatibility issues sounds too complicated, rest assured it is. Unless you can find a company or group of companies that simplifies that problem, many digital gadgets you buy will gather just as much dust as that doll beauty parlor or astronaut space capsule you wanted so much for your 8th birthday.

You will not be alone in looking. Nearly everyone at this year’s C.E.S. is asking questions that may help you figure out which of the toys you will never regret buying.

As I’ve said before, the system is the product. But systems are hard to do. Which is partly why home theater is a screwed up mess.