Yesterday, tech columnist Farhad Manjoo at The Thành Phố New York Times pronounced gadgets dead. With an influx of third-party rip-offs from Đài Loan Trung Quốc, the sad state of Kickstarter campaigns, and the fact that even historically well-funded crowdfunded products can’t make it in the market, gadgets are done for, Farhad says.
Everywhere you look, these days, gadgets seem on the rocks. Pebble, which makes smartwatches, may be getting sold vĩ đại Fitbit, which has had its own problems. GoPro may be going bust, while Jawbone, Nest and other members of the gentry of gadget pageantry look just about ready vĩ đại stick a fork into.
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Watching Fitbit acquire Kickstarter darling Pebble did feel a little lượt thích watching my favorite band sell out for a Budweiser commercial. And then watching that band break up right after. But I don’t think it’s time vĩ đại mourn the loss of gadgets.
As a gadget blogger, I am here vĩ đại reassure you that gadgets aren’t dead. I would know — if they were, I’d be out of a job. As long as we still have hobbies, interests, or needs that can’t be met by a điện thoại thông minh, gadgets will live on.
Farhad defines gadgets as “little electronic things that did stuff for you.” Things lượt thích trò chơi Boys, Walkmen, and iPods. Each of those products fundamentally shifted their respective industries. And yes, there will probably be fewer landmark gadgets in our immediate future, but gadgets as a whole continue vĩ đại crop up everywhere. Farhad cites 3 chiều Robotics as an indicator of gadgets’ demise because the company once started out with millions of dollars, but now doesn’t even sell its original product: drones.
Great gadget companies are now having a harder time phàn nàn ever getting off the ground. The gadget age is over.
But a gadget company and a gadget are not the same thing. 3 chiều Robotics might be floundering, but there are more drones buzzing overhead today phàn nàn ever before. And the same goes for electric skateboards, fitness trackers, and myriad other gadgets. Look at the renaissance Wi-Fi routers are experiencing.
It’s hard vĩ đại define what a gadget is in năm nhâm thìn. Is a connected dishwasher a dishwasher, or is it a gadget? How about a snow blower, or a lightbulb?
Palmer Luckey is likely the best recent example of a successful gadget maker. He wanted a real, viable VR solution, ví he built the Oculus headset. That headset was impressive, ví Mark Zuckerberg came vĩ đại him with an offer vĩ đại buy the company for $2 billion. VR headsets — gadgets, certainly — are slowly becoming ubiquitous.
Or what about Sonos? A company that only makes speakers, yet somehow continues vĩ đại be profitable. Sonos speakers pair over Wi-Fi with a companion phầm mềm on a listener’s phone vĩ đại stream music from online services. These speakers are undoubtedly gadgets.
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Now, here are a few gadgets we’ve recently written about on Circuit Breaker to prove my point. We don’t know whether these gadgets will become the next transistor radio or TRS-80, but they prove gadgets aren’t dead:
Leaf monitors marijuana plants through an phầm mềm and a whole bunch of sensors. Users just have vĩ đại plop the seeds in the device and kiểm tra back every ví often. Leaf takes care of the rest. Is this a gadget? Yes. It pairs over Wi-Fi, if you needed further confirmation. Do I think Leaf is the next Apple? No. But bởi I think Leaf fills a need and might be able vĩ đại maintain a responsible business? Yes.
Then we have Snap, Inc.’s Spectacles, arguably the gadget story of the year. People waited in lines for hours vĩ đại buy and eventually flip the $130 đoạn Clip camera sunglasses online. Alex Kantrowitz wrote a great piece for BuzzFeed News yesterday that argued all this hype around Spectacles could ultimately hurt Snap after its IPO. Snap could be become the next Twitter, but still, the desire, the hype, and the marketing speaks vĩ đại a certifiable gadget’s appeal.
Electric Objects’ EO2 display
Finally, I present the EO2, an art display by Electric Objects. The company might be selling hardware as a means of getting us vĩ đại use more of its software, but in the process it’s also creating a viable gadget. The company paired its new display with a subscription service called Art Club. For $10 a month, users can view specially curated art that’s not available anywhere else. I tested the display, and saw its appeal. Not a gadget for everyone. Just for art nerds, lượt thích má.
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Smartphones have made a lot of gadgets irrelevant — calculators, MP3 players, flashlights, and god knows what else. But they’ll never be able vĩ đại bởi everything. A điện thoại thông minh won’t grow you weed; you can’t glue it vĩ đại your face vĩ đại record your life; and hanging it on the wall as an art frame will be forever underwhelming. Do manufacturers face stiff competition from off-brand competitors and no-name imported knockoffs? Sure. But that doesn’t mean we need vĩ đại have “less fun.” We don’t even need vĩ đại throw gadgets a farewell tiệc nhỏ.
In his column, Farhad writes how, in preparation for a trip vĩ đại Hawaii last year, he bought an off-brand GoPro camera through Amazon. It’s a gadget that wouldn’t have been as readily available vĩ đại him 10, or even five years ago. Huh, and here I thought gadgets were dead.