The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Will I Ever Get to Be Judy Jetson?

One of the things I love about CES is how each year the optimists want us to believe that because two pieces of technology can be made to work together, consumers should be excited about the mere possibilities, if not the execution.  Instead of driving a car, we’ll be driving mobile hotspots. We’ll control every home system from a portable device that lets you program your thermostat and digital video recorder from some cloud of information that follows us from home to the car to our offices and onto an airplane.  We will never have the excuse that technology won’t connect us to people wishing to reach us, except when we have no battery power or AC outlet.

Not to worry, though, technologists are aggressively trying to solve the power problem, too. Induction charging mats, solar chargers, and charging sticks are all over the show floor. Pretty soon, we’ll all be wearing a battery belt which charges each of our portable devices while they hang from our belt loops.  Unfortunately, the market for electronic wearables has not gained much traction yet with manufacturers and retailers beyond iPod messenger bags and workout gear.

Computers have run a lot of our car’s mechanical systems for a while now, and computer-assisted diagnostics have shown consumer benefits which has enabled manufacturers to consider exposing the “operating system” and selling apps, downloadable directly to your car. Streaming video, voice over IP and shopping has the potential to make the distraction of text messaging look trivial.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press suggest that maybe the electronics industry has it right, and consumers are ready for these lifestyle changes. About two-thirds (65%) say the internet has been a change for the better, while just 16% say it has been a change for the worse; 11% say it hasn’t made much difference while 8% are unsure.

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