Tag Archives | CES

More Cool Stuff From CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is still on my mind — and the products I found are the topic of this week’s TechBite.

I still have lots of products in the queue, so these are short blurbs; if something gives you a jolt, I’ve included links so you can dig deeper.

LoJack for Notebooks

I get the weekly rap sheet from our local sheriff’s department, and I’d say that in auto and home burglaries, the notebook is the grab-and-run favorite.

Maybe you can’t prevent the theft, but AbsoluteSoftware‘s LoJack for Laptops might be able to recover your notebook. The software installs on a hidden location on the drive (MBR or partition tables; the company’s cagey with details) and is untouchable by the run-of-the-mill knucklehead thieves.

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CES Wows and Duds

The Consumer Electronics Show is a behemoth, with vendors hawking hundreds of iPad holders and trays, and millions of iPhone cases and protective films; there were just as many oh-look-at-me-too tablets (thanks, Apple, for creating this new industry). And, of course, there’s lots of noise, more booth babes than last year, and people tethered to their smart phones, tweeting their every movement.

Perfect if you have big thumbs.

I found a handful, maybe a dozen, innovative and smart products in out-of-the-way booths, and a few “oh, wow, I gotta have that” gems. I’ve got a few to tell you about this week — like the gizmos that help you save energy at home and earbuds that’ll knock your sox off.

In upcoming newsletters I’ve got hardware that brings TV and the Internet closer together, software that blocks cell-phone telemarketers, and a tool to recover my stolen notebook — or pay me a grand if it doesn’t.

At CES, I watched a 20-year-old whip out what looked like an error-free message on his iPhone in nothing flat. Me, I have the toughest time keeping my thumbs on my iPod’s keypad. Solving the problem is 4iThumbs2, a rubbery, plastic overlay. It has little bumps above where the letters are, giving a lovely, tactile feel when typing. It comes in two versions — landscape and portrait.

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Eight Things I Liked at CES

I liked CES 2011. I found it useful and fun. I’m glad I went. None of those reactions were a given–I understand why some folks question the show’s very reasons for existing, and I’ve been known to accentuate the negative myself.  This year, however, there was a critical mass of interesting stuff, in multiple categories.

From Tuesday afternoon of last week through Saturday, I spent so much time learning about new products that I didn’t cover all that many of them here while the show was going on. So here’s a catch-up post with a few of the ones that made this CES one of the best ones in my memory–despite the insane crowds, the aisles and aisles of lookalike phone covers, and the jingling case of  slot-machine tinnitus that I still can’t quite shake.

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Reporters' Roundtable: The Lowdown on CES

Last Friday afternoon, I had fun participating in Cnet’s Reporters’ Roundtable show before a live audience on the CES show floor–okay, we were actually right outside the show floor–with host Rafe Needleman and fellow guests Rob Enderle and Jim Louderback. I’m having trouble embedding it, so here’s a link to the video on Cnet.

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Sony's Playstation Move Rifle Literally Changes the Game

With 3D glasses around my head and a big, plastic, fake assault rifle in my hand, I did something that seasoned gamers might consider sacrilege: I played Killzone 3.

Understand, Killzone is the Playstation 3’s answer to Halo. It’s a loud, violent shoot-em-up against enemies with gas masks and glow-in-the-dark eyes, and a multiplayer mode with all the classics, like capture the flag and team deathmatch. And with the Playstation Move stuffed inside a $40 gun-shaped accessory, Killzone 3 is also Sony’s attempt to prove that motion control is for serious gamers, too.

But really, it’s not. Playing Killzone 3 with the assault rifle peripheral was a blast, but it was also an entirely different game than the one you play with plain old thumbsticks. Continue Reading →


IoSafe's Drives: The Torture Tests Continue

IoSafe, which makes disaster-proofed storage devices, may not have the biggest booth at CES–or, come to think of it, any booth at all–but it consistently comes up with unique, memorable demos of its products. Last year it set fire to a drive, drowned it, then drove over it with a steamshovel. This year, it took one of its new Rugged Portable drives–available with both aluminum and titanium cases–and dunked it in a fish tank, squeezed it a vice, and then turned it into a shooting-range target. And after a few minutes’ work with a screwdriver–the external USB connector had been damaged–all the data on the SSD inside was proven to be safe and sound.

I’m not sure what the company has planned for CES 2012, but I wonder if it would be okay to drop a drive from the top of the Stratosphere?

Photos after the jump (that’s IoSafe founder Robb Moore doing most of the damage, and me turning the screw on the vice).

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The Name Game

At every CES, there’s one company–usually in a small booth off the beaten track–with the single best name at the show.

In 2011, that company was Dream Cheeky.

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The Motorola Atrix 4G: This is Huge

Not to get all gushy or anything, but I think one of Harry’s best opinion columns here was the one from March 2009 about how smartphones are destined to replace the PC, and how the comforts of full-sized computing — keyboard, mouse, monitor — will become dumb shells for our powerful handsets.

Motorola’s Atrix 4G is an indication that he’s right. The phone itself marks a technological leap, as one of several new Android handsets with dual-core processors, but the real revolution is an optional dock that acts like a laptop when the phone is plugged in. There’s also a separate HD dock for televisions and external monitors, with USB ports for full-sized keyboards and mouses. Ladies and gentlemen: your dumb shells.

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3D Smartphones Don't Make Much Sense

On a quiet island within Sharp’s CES booth, a handful of glasses-free 3D smartphones were on display. They had eye-catching layered menus, 3D conversion of standard photos and a cute demo of swimming fish. (Rule of thumb: every 3D demo involves sea animals at some point.)

It only took a few minutes of playing around to see how undesirable all this 3D could be.

On tbe most obvious level, staring at a glasses-free 3D screen for a prolonged period can have a dizzying effect, but not all 3D is created equal, and maybe Sharp’s implementation is sub-par. My real concern is that smartphones aren’t conducive to 3D content in the first place.

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Has CES Outlived Its Usefulness?

As we are ready to close the book on yet another CES, and its  exhibitors and attendees pack their bags to make the trip home, it begs the question: Is CES even useful anymore? Is it a product of a bygone era in tech, now rendered nearly useless in this age of the 24-hour news cycle?

It’s a good question, and one that definitely is worthy of debate among the tech community at large.

In the interest of full disclosure, my first (and last) CES was in 2005, as part of the Betanews staff. I have to admit as a tech geek I was certainly excited. But upon getting there, I found myself more disappointed than anything: Looking for good stuff there seemed like something akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

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