I’m very excited to announce the launch of Circuit Breaker, a new gadget blog from The Verge.
I’m even more excited to announce that Paul Miller has returned to The Verge to help us launch Circuit Breaker. Paul is one of our founders, and he’s going to help bring the best of classic gadget blogging into a new era — the first age of gadget blogging was defined by the mobile revolution, and we think a similar revolution is about to happen in new categories like drones, VR, and the Internet of Things. If you loved the heyday of gadget blogs, you’re going to love Circuit Breaker. And if you’re new to tech but love The Verge, you’re in for a hell of a ride.
Paul Miller has returned to The Verge
But wait, you might be asking — doesn’t The Verge already cover tech and gadgets? Let’s answer that question, and several others. And let’s start at the start, shall we?
What is Circuit Breaker?
Circuit Breaker is the new gadget blog from your friends at The Verge. It’s there to obsessively cover new gadgets, ways to use those gadgets, and generally be the best gadget blog in the world.
How do I follow Circuit Breaker across the many platforms of the internet?
Here's how to follow us:
Wait — doesn’t The Verge already cover tech and gadgets?
Yes! And that won’t stop or change — we’ll still have reviews, features, videos, and big stories about technology and the ways it intersects with science, entertainment, and transportation on The Verge. But we wanted to put a little more focus on gadgets themselves, because it turns out gadgets are getting really interesting lately. So we’re launching Circuit Breaker as a dedicated blog for gadget news.
Why do you think gadgets are getting so interesting again? Didn’t smartphones just eat everything?
Gadgets have been pretty boring for a few years now — the most interesting gadget of all time was the smartphone, and the most interesting question about the smartphone was how many other kinds of gadgets it could subsume on its way to dominance. Music players? Gone. Point and shoot cameras? Dead. GPS navigation systems? All but extinct. The entire taxi infrastructure of major cities? Sure, let’s see what happens when we stick that on a phone.
But it turns out that all the energy and investment that went into the smartphone supply chain can be reused in other places as well. High-powered CPUs and GPUs that sip battery life are commodities now. Ultra-high-res OLED and LCD panels are everywhere. Wireless chips are faster and drain less power than ever before. Mobile broadband is pervasive, even if it’s still not cheap enough.
All the investment that went into smartphones can be reused in other places
And tons and tons of people have smartphones in their pockets — which means tons of people are carrying around little supercomputers that can run apps to control an entirely new generation of gadgets in an entirely new set of ways.
Drones use powerful processors, cameras, and sensors to essentially fly themselves — in fact, the latest generation of DJI’s popular Phantom can actually just fly itself. The most popular VR headset in the world is just a piece of cardboard that holds your smartphone in front of your eyes, while both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive use high-end displays that would have been unspeakably expensive just a few years ago. An entire universe of smarthome gadgets uses tiny wireless chips to talk to cloud services — and while virtually none of them come with Windows or Mac apps, almost all of them rely on iOS and Android apps for control.
Hell, even laptops are going through a minor revolution as they hybridize with tablets more every year.
If the defining trend of the smartphone revolution was convergence, then I think the defining trend of the next few years is divergence — gadgets outside the phone getting smarter and smarter as they get remixed with powerful new components that are newly cheap and abundant.
But aren’t most of these things kinda dumb, or years out? No one needs a Wi-Fi wine bottle, do they?
No one needs a Wi-Fi wine bottle, no. Good god, no.
A lot of these new gadgets are going to be bad, but some will be awesome
But that’s the fun, and the reason we’re starting Circuit Breaker. A lot of these new gadgets are going to be bad! A lot of them are going to have a sliver of genius, but be held back by the limits of current technology. And a lot of them are going to be awesome. Circuit Breaker is a place to track all this new stuff, figure out all the trends, and understand where the industry is going before it gets there. It’s not about buying advice or reviews — it’s about watching the future get invented in real time.
So what happens to The Verge?
The Verge continues to kick ass, of course. Our four sections — technology, entertainment, science, and transportation — are bigger and better than ever, and nothing makes me happier than watching them cross over and tell stories about technology and culture constantly changing in front of our eyes. We just premiered the first ever live YouTube 360 music video. We have some of the best Tesla and Uber coverage in the business. We interviewed the astronauts on board the International Space Station. Our TLDR internet culture blog continues to get weirder and weirder every day, and I love it.
It’s all still going to be there — Circuit Breaker just lets us add more gadgets to the mix.
This sounds awesome. How can I follow Circuit Breaker?
Like I said, bookmark theverge.com/circuitbreaker, and make sure to like Circuit Breaker on Facebook. We’re going to be doing a lot of fun videos on Facebook, from live unboxings to Q&As to simple hands-on demos, and you don’t want to miss a thing.
Make sure you like circuit breaker on Facebook
Do you have a boring, insidery riff on how The Verge launching a gadget blog represents the tech media completing a full circle in just over a decade?
I do. I do have that riff.
See, the first-ever gadget blog was Gizmodo, which launched in 2004 because Peter Rojas and Nick Denton thought the most interesting part of Wired was the gadget news at the front of the magazine. Rojas left Gizmodo to start Engadget, hired a bunch of people (including me!) and then many of us left Engadget to start The Verge, which in the past five years has grown to be a diverse, vibrant media brand that now rivals Wired in size and scope. And now we’re starting a gadget blog all over again, except this time we’re smart enough to just do it ourselves.