Tech has gone flat, who will bring back the fizz?

Nexus 5
Smartphones: booooooooooooooooooo-ring!

According to Samsung's David Eun, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch is a tomato.

He's wrong. It's a lemon.

It's a lemon because it's a bad product. Not a badly designed product, necessarily, or a badly made product; Samsung's engineering is pretty great. But it's a badly conceived product, a product that doesn't meet any burning need and that exists for no good reason.

There's a lot of them about. We're in the middle of a technological trough: after several waves of disruptive technologies, we're waiting for the next big thing. Unfortunately nobody appears to know what that next big thing is, and as a result manufacturers are doing one of two things.

They're going into maintenance mode, or they're going completely mad.

Iterating, not innovating

Firms such as Google and Apple, it's clear, are in maintenance mode.

All kinds of good things are coming.

Check out the iPad Air or the Nexus 5. They're both wonderful bits of kit and represent the very state of the current art, but they're not significantly more wonderful or state of the art than the iPad with Retina Display or the Nexus 4 were last year. Apple and Google have simply taken their products and made them a bit better.

With no obvious blockbusters on the horizon, other firms appear to be trying absolutely everything, no matter how gimmicky or useless.

The humorist PJ O'Rourke once described Russian mafia wives as looking like they'd ran through boutiques naked and covered in crazy glue, keeping whatever stuck.

Tech - mobile tech in particular - looks very similar. We have slightly curved screens, slightly bigger displays, a few more megapixels here, a half-arsed attempt at a smartwatch over there and displays that pause video when you're attacked by vampires.

There's no reason to it, no vision beyond "Here's a slightly different thing! Please buy our thing!" It's the old consumer electronics playbook, releasing endless variations of the same product even though the changes are iterative rather than innovative.

It's pretty dull, but it won't last. All kinds of good things are coming.

The internet of things is about to become, well, A Thing. Researchers are transmitting data with LEDs, and harvesting power from thin air. Polymers will replace glass and pave the way for hitherto unimaginable new devices.

What looks like pretty hot stuff right now is going to seem horribly old-fashioned in just a few years' time.

Tech's rollercoaster ride isn't over. We're just waiting to start the next bit of the track.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.