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Neat Stuff at the CES

13th January 2011

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

You might think that after more than twenty-five years of attending the Consumer Electronics Show, I’d grow weary of the annual (CES used to take place twice a year) trek.

Showhow, there’s always lots of excitement in getting your hands on some of the new gadgets that will soon be making their way to the market.

This year some 126,000 members of the trade and press attended the show. Some 2700 exhibitors rented 1.6 million square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center to show off their new products. The industry is hoping that this is a sign that the consumer electronics market is on a rebound.


Still recovering from the economic recession, Las Vegas and the casinos welcomed CES. In fact, I read that the Strip casinos were sold out on Thursday and Friday nights – the first time this has happened in many months.

Las Vegas was relatively cold – low 50’s during the day and 30’s during the evening. But the temperature at the convention center was definitely warmer and the halls overflowing with anxious showgoers.

First off, I headed over to the LVCC and made my way to the press room. I was surprised to see more than 50 internet-enabled computers and wireless routers available for press members.

It’s apparent that the electronics industry wants the CES show to receive maximum news and press coverage. No doubt, you’ve already seen products from CES on national television stations and newspapers.

As I walked through the aisles, one of the biggest attention grabbers was an onslaught of 3D televisions.

Among the television makers LG, Panasonic , Samsung, Sharp and Sony all had huge displays demonstrating their 3D capabilities. You’ll need those cool 3D shades to watch the new content which has been slowly making its way to Blu-ray DVDs and certain satellite and cable providers.

Panasonic is definitely taking steps to add content to 3D televisions. In March they plan to have a 3D lens set that fits on their Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

This has two separate lenses that produces a set of digital image that can be displayed directly on their 3D television.

The other big attention grabber was the tablet computers. As I approached the booths at Samsung and Panasonic I was amazed to see the number of visitors examining the new hardware and asking questions.

This unique Samsung Series 7 doubles as a tablet and a keyboard-equipped laptop. The keyboard slides out from the 10″ screen for easy typing tasks.


This is a prototype from Panasonic


This 7″ Samsung Galaxy drew three-deep crowds. It’s an Android device that competes with Apple’s iPad.

 

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new or upcoming products that I found interesting.



This is Polaroid’s new “Lady Gaga” mobile printer. I’m told she loves the color gray. You can send your image to the printer via Bluetooth or USB cable. From Polaroid.


Here’s an attractive group of notebook and camera bags from Artisfront.


Joby, maker of the ubiquitous Gorillapods, introduced the “Ori for iPad”. It serves as a durable and protective cover and can hold your iPad in multiple positions for convenient use. From Joby.


The Eye-Fi is an “enhanced” SD card for digital cameras. It can send images directly to your computer while it’s still in the camera! I’m planning a review of the Eye-Fi soon. From Eye-Fi.


For commercial photographers, Metalight has several imaging boxes that provide constant, even lighting especially useful for product shots. From Medalight.


To keep your camera equipment dry in inclement weather DiCAPac has a waterproof “case” for your DSLR. Price is about $89. From DiCAPac.


Do you need a break from computer work? Use their missle launcher, webcam man, plasma ball – lots of fun “accessories” for a few minutes. From Satzuma..


It may look like a toy, but this remote controlled helicopter has a small camera mounted in the nose which can send digital images to your wi-fi network. Useful for taking photos from above. From Rotor Concept.


Underwater explorers can use these waterproof digital goggles with built-in 5MP still/video camera. This model costs $150 and is safe to 20 meters. From Liquid Image..


Liquid Image also makes these ski goggles with a ruggedized built-in camera. Again this has a 5MP still/video camera and sells for about $250. From Liquid Image.


Ecotricity introduced this portable solar power generator. This model is easily movable and provides power remote usage as well as home backup power and for emergencies. From Ecotricity.


For those times when you may have had too much fun and liquid refreshments you can use this convenient breathalyzer. It fits in your pocket and may come in handy. From BacTrack.


Dino-Lite showed me their digital microscope for photographing small items. From Dino-Lite.


This is a close-up taken with the Dino-Lite’s 5MP imager. You can see that the coin is free from shadows because of the built-in light and polarizing filter around the device’s imager. I am told that it’s especially popular with stamp and coin collectors. It has variable magnification from 10x – 50x, and optionally up to 220x.

I stopped at the Panasonic booth to have a look at the GF-2 Micro Four-Thirds camera which is scheduled to be available in March.

Since I wasn’t fond of composing and focusing through the LCD finder, I asked the CSR to attach the electronic viewfinder (not shown). With an EVF, a sleek body, light weight and fast response, I’m looking forward to testing out the GF-2 soon.


For the vain among you, you can use the QuikPod to capture your own picture with your digital camera. There are two models: one for smaller point-and-shoot cameras and other for DSLR cameras. Each is a handheld extendable tripod. Attach your camera, set it on self-timer, press the shutter and position the QuikPod for a self-portrait as you smile.

It’s also useful for handheld shots above the crowd. Comes with tripod legs for use as a conventional tripod. Price is $29 for point-and-shoot model and $49 for DSLR model. From QuikPod


In the next few weeks, I plan to review some of the products that you’ve seen here.

While the weather in Las Vegas wasn’t particularly warm, on the flight home I found myself stuck in Chicago for 7 additional hours because of snow. I guess I shouldn’t complain about the weather in Nevada.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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