Here are eight products that are obviously meant to get you another year or two out of your current home electronics while still participating in the tech trends. Sure, they're nice hold-over solutions for early adopters on a budget. But eventually, these products will just be more disused technology trophies in your basement, testaments to your enthusiasm for a wireless, frictionless future.
homeseer
This is the HomeTroller-Mini, a device meant to help you automate your home. Using your smartphone (iOS or Android), you can tell this little blue nugget to turn your lights on or off or start a certain appliances. Next year, you probably won't need this $300 gizmo; future dishwashers, refrigerators and home utility meters are going will likely have their own wireless modules enabling them to talk directly to your smartphone via the cloud, without any intermediaries.
HyperDrive
This is the HyperDrive, an external hard drive case that connects to your iPad. (You have to supply your own hard drive; this is just an enclosure.) This thing has "stop-gap" written all over it: for one, only video and picture files are visible on the iPad's external drive. Another thing: it's a freaking USB drive for your Web browsing tablet. If cloud-storage services like JungleDisk and Dropbox aren't cheap enough to preempt the need for an external drive, then they certainly will be in a year as cloud storage prices decline.
Visteon
Visteon is an OEM that makes electronics for big car manufacturers. The production unit you see here is the center segment of a car dashboard; it has an iPad dock where a radio console usually goes. Visteon says this console will begin showing up in cars next year, but they seem to have forgotten something important: the 1980s. Remember when car radios were modular and removable? People stole them. A lot of them. And when your iPad disappears from your convertible, you'll have to drive home without the control of your seats, A/C, radio and music library. We like Tesla's solution better.
Motorola Atrix
The Motorola Atrix 4G is an insanely capable Android phone, which is apparently why Motorola thought it would be cool to allow it to piggy-back on a laptop like a super-smart brain-hump. When docked, the devices can share files (duh) but also share screens; the laptop can pull up the phone's display (or the keypad) right there on your desktop, so you're never fiddling with phone and computer at once. Of course, you won't need to access your phone's keypad to make calls in a year or two, when you'll be able to dial from any PC, phone or tablet you own with Skype, Google Voice, Vonage or Ooma. Sharing files via dock won't be crucial either, as more enterprises move resources into the cloud.
Samsung Camera
Samsung's SH100 has noble intentions: it allows you to pair it with your Samsung smartphone to enable GPS-tagging on photos. You can also use the phone as a viewfinder for the camera from a few feet away. But come next January, you'll be kicking yourself as you see scads of new cameras with built-in GPS, cloud access, wireless SD cards and their own apps. The SH100 will be a hunk of SH1T00 by comparison.
LG Smart TV Upgrader
This is LG's Smart TV Upgrader, a set-top box that's meant to turn your dumb old TV into an LG-style "smart" TV complete with apps, streaming video, and apparently an enormous stupid Windows cursor. By next year, smart TVs will be cheap and bountiful, and boxes like this will wither into obscurity. Better yet, LG will undoubtedly refines this OS as they compete with Google TV and others.
Sierra Wireless Embedded Module
This new 4G module from Sierra Wireless can be installed in your company's existing routers to switch them from hard-line Internet to Verizon 4G LTE service. In due time, wireless ISPs will begin providing their own 4G routers to consumers and businesses, in many cases stealing business from local ISPs and cable companies. Why would you want to do that? Well, 4G is fast -- faster than most T1 lines -- and lots of SMBs won't mind having a "narrower pipe" in exchange for some added speed. Better yet, billing gets rolled into the company's existing mobile phone service.
Isabella Products Mini
This is the Isabella Products Mini, which is essentially a little wireless brain that you can plug into your TV. It streams photos over the cellular network from your Facebook, Picassa or Flickr account and present them for viewing, which essentially turns your TV into an always-synced photo album. Pretty neat, but with the explosion of smart TVs on the market, nary a TV out there won't already have 3G, 4G or WiFi on-board.