Can we stop pretending we still need tech events?
90 minutes you'll never get back.
I just finished listening to 28 minutes of talk about the camera on a phone from a company that was unable to make cameras people wanted to actually buy (opens in new tab) and my head hurts. Yes, I sound entitled and whiney complaining about being bored out of my skull and having a headache when some people are on their feet all day or breaking their backs on a job site. Trust me though when I tell you that covering tech is stressful as hell as often as it's not.
Anyhoo, my final thoughts on the Samsung Unpacked event were: I don't get paid enough to sit through these things. Nobody does. I'll go a step further and say that even folks who don't have to type words about tech for a living don't really care for these boring long-winded tech presentations. They only exist so some executive can tell you how great a company is. I mean Apocalypse Now was three hours long, but it had a happy ending at least.
This is not just a Samsung thing. It might sound like I'm having a personal issue with the Korean giant, but presentations from Apple, Google, Intel, and every other company could all disappear, be replaced by a blog post somewhere, and everyone would walk away knowing as much or more about the shiny thing a company wants you to spend too much money and buy. I can easily find other things to complain about.
It didn't use to be this way. A company would release a product that was different from last year's model and then spend 30 minutes telling us all the improvements. Somewhere along the line, this morphed into companies making cookie-cutter products with incremental upgrades, then taking two hours or so to try and make them sound exciting. Either there are no more good ideas or tech manufacturers aren't done milking our wallets with the current batch of them. Probably a little of both.
It used to be that only tech writers were complaining about events, but now almost everyone can agree they kind of suck. That's because in the past companies would send out all the information under an NDA and the tech press had to pretend to be amazed even though they already knew about it. Fast forward to today and everyone knows because those NDAs are routinely broken and leaks are everywhere.
Leaks are awesome — tech sites get to write about them and make money and everyone else gets to know if it might be something they want to spend money on and buy. But they also make holding an actual big fancy event with a soundstage and lasers and production companies a lot of overkill. These events only add to the cost of the products we may want to buy.
Either way, it's become damn near impossible for me to care. Often times the products themselves are kind of cool but having to sit through all that crap to learn more about them is consumer torture. Stop telling me about how the phone makes the video smooth and not the steady-cam rig it's mounted on. Or that Joe the phone repair guy can't get access to your stuff if you tap this button before he fixes your phone.
The Galaxy S23 — as well as the Pixel 7, iPhone 14 Pro Max, or any other phone that doesn't come from Motorola — could be great and if I had an old phone that wasn't still being supported I might buy one. But not because I was impressed with the stage show.
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Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.