Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Worse Products Through Software

Hopefully the last article I’ll post about CES until next January comes from John Siracusa. Remember how Mat Honan described the show as “the world’s greatest hardware show stuck in a software era”?

Sure, hardware is very important. Faster processors. More and better sensors. Radios with better transmission capabilities, running on more frequencies. Pixel density. Delightful chamfers. These things matter. A lot. But the bottom line is software — or it should be. While atoms may indeed be the new bits in terms of production, bits remain king when it comes to consumption.

Turns out that software is also the key to a bunch of real shit, according to Siracusa:

Who really likes the “software” in their car, microwave, or blu-ray player?

All of this software is terrible in the same handful of ways. It’s buggy, unresponsive, and difficult to use. I actually think the second sin is the worst one, especially when it comes to appliances and consumer electronics. Dials and knobs respond to your touch right now. Anything that wants to replace them had better also do so.