Our inboxes have been inundated with the good, bad and downright ugly of what will be appearing at the International CES in Las Vegas next week. If what we’re receiving is any indication of what we’ve collectively achieved as humanity to date, well, we’re a nation of fat helicopter parents with insomnia who can’t wait to strap on some tech and have it tell us what to do. Hurrah.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most ridiculous product pitches — and some of the best — we’ve received so far.
The product: A sleep monitor that tracks your entire family’s sleeping patterns.
The pitch: “While most existing sleep tracking solutions and apps focus on a single user, Sevenhugs’ products, hugOne and minihug, are designed for multiple users…It helps families sleep better by monitoring temperature, humidity and air quality, for a healthier home. The sleep behaviors and results, as well as home environment data can be accessed 24/7 on the Sevenhugs mobile application.”
Our take: This is one of several different sleep monitors we were pitched at CES. Apparently, this sleep thing is becoming quite the problem in our digital age, and we need more tech to take on the problem. And now, it’s not just enough to monitor your sleep, but the sleep of your entire family. Good grief.
It’s all well and good to “monitor” your sleep, but here’s a few facts that will help you nail more zzzz’s for free: People who exercise and eat healthy sleep better. People who shut down their tech and don’t have any of it in their bedrooms sleep better. People who spend more time in nature, outside and away from stress sleep better. People who read books before bed sleep better. Also, see meditation and yoga.
2. Blue Jewelz
The product: Jewelry that pings you when you get an important message.
The pitch: “Stunning jewelry—in precious metals and beautiful designs—that expresses your own personal style, plus discrete technology that keeps you connected and in control.”
Our take: It seems the industry is bound and determined to get us to strap on our tech. The problem? Most of it is way ugly. The other problem? Women, who are a powerful consumer bunch, are the last ones being courted in this arena.
Blue Jewelz has created a line of pendants that have sensors in them that sync to your smartphone. When someone “important” messages you, it “vibrates discretely” to alert you to this new message.
There are quite a few issues I have with this, the first being that this is completely unnecessary technology that doesn’t add any value to your life. When was the last time you were in a bar and saw someone who did not have their phone either in their hand or on the table? Never. That’s when. If you need another device to “ping” you when you get a message, you really need to question how “connected” you need to be.
Two, the jewelry. Can you say not attractive? And I’m being nice here. If someone gave me this pendant, which looks like it weighs 5 pounds and came from Kmart, I’d probably hit them in the head with it.
The product: A mobile device manufacturer? Purveyor of tanning salons? I’m not quite sure what they do.
The pitch: “Bold and fresh-faced YEZZ will unveil their exhilarating line up at CES, delivering life-sized interactive experiences (on) Windows Phone, Android, and Firefox operating systems. YEZZ aims to better empower the consumer with the freedom to choose an OS best fitting their preferences.”
Our take: If the name of your company sounds like a cross between a lesbian bar and a new form of birth control, you probably need to reassess. The pictures with the girls in Daisy Dukes shorts making duck-faced selfies (see above) isn’t helping either.
YEZZ, apparently already popular in Europe, is going “full throttle” at CES by introducing their lineup of devices, which use Windows, Android, or Firefox operating systems. “YEZZ aims to better empower the consumer with the freedom to choose an OS best fitting their preferences,” says the press release. Microsoft stores already carry YEZZ’s “Billy” devices (named for Bill Gates).
If American Apparel’s ousted founder Dov Charney were marketing mobile phones, it would look exactly like this.
4. The Tonino Lamborghini Group
The product: A luxury smartphone
The pitch: “The 88 Tauri is the ultimate luxury smartphone. Designed by Tonino Lamborghini Group, it combines the latest technology with a striking and unique design. Each 88 Tauri is assembled by hand, coded with a unique device number, and finished in top-quality leather available in five colours (black, blue, red, orange and brown).”
Our take: From the company that asks, “Is your smartphone up to your lifestyle?” comes this luxury-to-the-extreme new smartphone. As common folk, we haven’t held one in our hands, but if this teaser is any indication, it’s pretty swank. According to Business Insider the new luxury phones will cost around $6,000 and only 2,000 will be made. Sure, it looks nice and all, but carrying a $6,000 smartphone probably carries the same message as what driving an overrated sports car does. It won’t make up for your, um, shortcomings.
The product: A pad with sensors that measures how low you are on groceries.
The pitch: “A pad that sends to your smartphone the amount of what you place on it. While you are shopping you can monitor the quantity of whatever you have in your kitchen.”
Our take: We waver on this one. While it seems like it might be a cool idea (outside that whole “are you a moron who can’t keep a grocery list?” thing), we wonder about the practical applications of this sensor pad hooked to your smartphone. The pad itself seems small. So are you supposed to buy a bunch and put everything in your fridge on top of them? One pad can only monitor one item at at time? Doesn’t seem very efficient.
On the flip side, if you’re a parent who is constantly running out of milk, or work in a restaurant and need to monitor larger quantities of certain items you burn through quickly (hint: make an industrial-sized one), this could be a winner.
The product: Recycled and repurposed materials become stylish tech accessories.
The pitch: “Looptworks are breaking the mold in modern manufacturing – as a company they will never create materials, they will only use ones that already exist, for example, iPad cases made from excess belt leather (also available through Apple.com), backpacks from upcycled polyester, laptop cases from excess neoprene from the wetsuit industry and most recently a line of bags from former Southwest Airline seat covers!”
Our take: Show us a clever use of throwaway materials that are transformed into useful, practical items, and we’re excited. This Portland, Ore.-based designer and manufacturer has been making incredibly stylish gear for the tech crowd that caught our eye a few months back. We’re super-stoked to see their new line at CES. Who said your bag or iPad case had to be ugly?
7. 3D Printlife
The product: A 3D printed apartment, yo!
The pitch: “The team has ambitiously re-created a 3D printed environment complete with kitchen, living room and bath. Attendees are invited to try out the collection of 3D printed wares.”
Our takeaway: If there’s anything in the near future out there that can save us a Sunday at Ikea, we’re all for it. 3D Printlife will bring an apartment, albeit a pretty basic-looking one, to life at CES. We hope it’s half as cool as it looks.