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Award Season

The thing about covering the technology industry: There is never a shortage of new products.

I have to admit, I don’t understand how business journalists in other sectors do it. I can’t even imagine being a reporter for a car magazine, for example, when every company in your industry turns over their product line once a year?

We technology reporters have the opposite experience. Every day there are new products to explore. Whether they be from the familiar top brands, to the niche companies, all the way down to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites, there is bound to be something that breaks new ground and advances innovation.

This annual issue of TWICE, in which we reveal our Very Important Product (VIP) Awards, is one of my favorites every year.

It’s a tough task to burrow through all those product announcements and figure out which of those always-touted game-changing technology products really are game-changing. So we polled retailers and distributors and asked them to weigh in on which products actually made a difference in their bottom lines this year.

The results reveal a selling floor that is strong and diverse.

We had robust participation in categories like home automation, smart appliances and wearables. The market is clearly pivoting toward these growth categories and retailers are increasingly embracing any new wrinkle that may draw consumers into their stores.

Robotics, drones, virtual reality, action cams — even smart electrical plugs and home automation hubs — these are markets that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Suddenly they do and they have lots of players. It spells opportunity.

The Politics of CE

I don’t blame you if the word “politics” makes you nauseous these days. This has been an unprecedented year for campaign ugliness, and I promise you that I am not comfortable telling anyone how to vote. But I have something to say …

I’ve heard the practical advice that you should vote with your wallet. I’ve heard the idealistic advice that you should vote with your conscience. I’ve heard the pragmatic advice that you should vote for the person with the best character, and I’ve heard the silly advice that you should vote for your party regardless of how you feel about its candidate.

What I haven’t heard is that you should vote for the candidate who will make the world better. In fact, every political speech I watch focuses on how the other candidate will make the world worse.

I wasn’t born when JFK challenged us to get to the moon. I was too young to know that LBJ was changing America by forcing the civil rights movement down the throats of a bigoted, bitter electorate.

The first moment of my political awareness was seeing Nixon get sworn in for the second time in 1973. I was six and watched him resign in disgrace one year later.

Forgive me for my cynicism regarding politics, but I am ready for a candidate who has some sort of positive outlook of the future. The CE industry, while challenging, is still one of the most dynamic and robust industries we have. Can I get the same kind of optimism from either of our presidential hopefuls?