At the CES Showstoppers event in Las Vegas last night, consumer electronics purveyors supped, schmoozed and shared their technology wares with the tech press. Working my way around the room, I was impressed with a lot of what I saw.
There were several products that help users better organize their social network data. One of the more intriguing members of this group was Juice Wireless, which lets you upload photos from your mobile phone directly to your Facebook and Flickr accounts.
It seemed like the vendors were especially conscious of price. A lot of the products I looked at sold for less than $300.
One item I can’t believe I missed is the new free online version of Intuit’s Quicken. Hello? Was there so much bad financial news hogging the airwaves in October that I missed this? The Quicken representatives said that 27 states have mandated legislation that requires financial education for high school and college students, so the company decided to make their flagship personal finance software free to everybody. Check www.quickenonline.intuit.com for download how-tos.
I also noticed what I began to call “the iPodization of everything.” A lot of devices adopted that sleek, silvery Apple look and listed data in what looked suspiciously like iTunes Playlists.
Other notable products included:
- Hewlett Packard’s laptop PC that looked like the marble in the lobby of the Palazzo Hotel, the HP dv2, which will be available in April. Less than one inch thick, it’s designed for people who need a laptop with solid functionality that’s also easy to carry anywhere, HP representatives said. HP is also offering the first touch-enabled tablet notebook PC, the TouchSmart Tx2, which is available now.
- TrendNet’s wireless security video camera that doesn’t need to be monitored by a PC or laptop.
- Kingston’s Data Traveler Black Box storage device now comes in a 32-gigabyte version for $1,000. The one I reviewed in July was 8 gigs.
Posted on Jan 09, 2009 at 7:05 PM1 comments
As a newbie to CES this year, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m not a veteran yet like some of the other labbies, but I’m getting some battle scars and learning a lot. I really thought I knew what I would find here because of going to FOSE every year, but this isn’t a tightly focused show aimed at the federal government. This is everything under the sun aimed at everyone under the sun. And although I’m looking for government and business angles, there’s a lot of stuff to see, and some stuff that you can’t help but see.
So as the weary first day draws to a close, these were the things that really stuck in my mind. This has to be quick because the rent-a-cops are shutting down the press room on me. I guess its time for Margaritas in Vegas, and they don’t want to be delayed by an annoying press person trying to work just a bit longer.
Highlights of the day included
- A very cool demo of BenQ’s pocket projector, a full projector that could easily fit in a purse or backpack. Load up an included storage drive with your PowerPoint files, and you could be a peripatetic professor, giving presentations on the go.
- Samsung partnered with Coca Cola to develop a touch screen Coke machine that lets you download ring tones and (of course) view video ads. The company also rolled out a 3D monitor that provides the 3D experience without the glasses.
- And of course, the oddities: a lady covered with copper wire at the Flatwire booth, demonstrating its “disappearing wire” solution.
- Huge crowds formed around a wireless gaming headset from Creative.
- A company called Newber offers a beta version of software that lets you add a second number to your Blackberry or iPhone.
Everybody also was talking about the economy. Some people said, “Stop talking about it so much, the doom is making it worse.” But several CES veterans also said, in quiet tones, that this year was the quietest they had ever seen. It looks like a madhouse to me. What was it like before?!
Posted on Jan 09, 2009 at 7:05 PM0 comments
My first day at the Consumer Electronics Show made me think CES stood for the Comedy (of) Errors Show.
First, my flight from D.C. was delayed and I had to get my ticket transferred to a different airline at a later time.
So I got to Vegas late. I took a cab to get to Steve Ballmer's 6:30 keynote in plenty of time, or so I thought. I got to the ballroom about 6:25, and there was some confusion over whether I needed to register on the first floor and get a badge holder or whether the card CES had mailed me last week was sufficient to get me in. Turns out it wasn't. By the time I had straightened all this out, five robust gentlemen in suits were blocking the escalator that went to Ballmer's keynote. "Nobody else is allowed in," they said. "It's full. No more room."
I said to one of them, "Look, I came all the way from D.C. to cover Steve Ballmer's speech and you're not going to let me in? Don't you at least have it simulcast over the Web someplace so I can watch it from my laptop?"
No, not this year. This year it will be available on the Web within 24 hours, they said.
My real skill as a journalist, whining, obviously wasn't going to work on this crew, so I decided to head back to my hotel and salvage the remains of the day. I followed some signs that said CES shuttle. A group of people in CES logo hats and jackets were standing around. "Is this the CES shuttle?" I asked.
"It is, but we’re not officially starting it until tomorrow.”
"You mean I have to pay to take a taxi back from a speech I never got to see?" I was a little jet-lagged, and I do have a history of whining when I'm tired.
"Why don't you just go back to the casino and have a margarita?" the shuttle man said.
I wound my way to the taxi stand and on the way lost an earring.
"You look like you could use a margarita," the taxi driver said.
Back at my hotel, I couldn't get a strong enough Wi-Fi signal to check my e-mail, let alone watch Ballmer's speech over the Internet. I turned on CNBC, thinking maybe they would have excerpts from it, but it was just Jim Kramer screaming "sell, sell, sell!"
So Day One of my CES adventure was anything but a rousing success. Tomorrow, at least, I will get to look at some nifty technology. I saw on CNBC that they were demoing personal tasers for citizen use.
Now there's a thought.
Posted on Jan 08, 2009 at 7:05 PM0 comments