Tuesday, February 1, 2011






Each year in early January thousands of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, dealers and press descend on Las Vegas for the show of shows in electronic gadgetry known as CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. With some 140,000 attendees and 2700 plus exhibits, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, does not apply, at least the manufacturers hope not.

(TIP: If you do attend, be sure to bring some good walking shoes. You’ll get a good workout and be thankful you did!)

This show is so big that often times the little guy gets lost in the shuffle, so I will mention a few goodies from these global participants. First, however, I need to mention a couple of show standouts.

Ford Motor Company officially introduced the 2012 Focus Electric. The Focus Electric runs entirely on electricity stored in powerful batteries and can go a distance of about 100 miles before recharging. A unique feature is an app for Smartphones that lets you monitor and schedule the charging status, driving range, charging locations, other than your home, vehicle location and much more. Release date late 2011. http://bit.ly/fCxSMU

Whirlpool demonstrated the MHW9000X Maxima™ washer and the ME/GD9000X EcoConserve™ dryer. They use up to 82% less water and 86% less electricity. Its PowerWash™ system dispenses 6X HE concentrated detergent. The LCD display prompts the user to dispense the proper amount based on contents, load and stains. A combination of suggested pre-treatment and the on-board computer remove such stains as coffee, peanut butter or jam. Release date is April 2011 at select Sears stores with a price range of $1500 - $2000 depending on capacity and base. Note: Whirlpool and Maytag are one of the same. These products currently do not show up on their web site and may be limited to Sears’ site in the future. http://bit.ly/aVJvkl

Probably the biggest presence was in 3D displays by Sony, Panasonic, JVC and LG, some of which were glass-less. The big three also showed 3D camcorders. In my opinion, 3D is still a work in progress. While readily available at a price, pictures are often fuzzy, or blurred and the use of glasses is a nuisance to those already wearing eyewear. The glass-less displays shown at LG were not too bad, but required viewing dead center to see the effect.

Many health related devices and aps were shown which monitor many of your vital signs and make them available to your iPhone. Primpo showed the iSonic cane which detects obstacles, colors and darkness/brightness and informs you thru vibrations at different strengths. Currently not available in the U. S. as they are seeking a U. S. partner/distributor.

Casio showed several new still cameras featuring various imaging correction and enhancement tools such as making a print look like an oil painting. They announced a FREE web site, available in late February, where anyone may go and utilize these tools with their old digital photos not necessarily shot on a Casio camera. http://bit.ly/gS2AEC

UltraTek displayed their new dual sided USB connector. This connector allows the user to plug into any USB port without considering plug orientation and polarity. It’s totally reversible! Available now. http://bit.ly/fqQctf

NiteIze showed some unique reusable rubber twist tie wraps that are very strong, easy to open/close and available in various sizes. They’re also entering the “lace-Lock” business, a simple device that replace the traditional knot used in tying your tennis shoes. http://bit.ly/aLoaJp

3M presented the PocketProjector MP180. This product includes 4GB of built-in memory allowing storage of data files while also allowing access to the internet and other devices by means of wi-fi and Bluetooth technology. Equipped with speakers, 2 hours of battery life, up to an 80” diagonal projected screen size and 32 lumens of brightness, 11.9 oz, SVGA (800x800), 1.3h x 5.9d x 2.5”w, in/out: VGA, composite & component, USB mini, NTSC 480i-480p, PAL 576i-576p, H.264, SD 480i-576i, HD 720p/1080i. Available now. ($499.00) http://bit.ly/c56LGM

Big Stream demonstrated a Bluetooth device that interfaces with iPod, iPhone and iPad, allowing the streaming of video information into your TV’s component input. The streamer plugs in to your i device, streams to a pocket sized receiver which interfaces to your TV. Depending on the video source, picture quality was acceptable. $99.00 http://bit.ly/gD06wK

iDevices introduced the iGrill cooking thermometer. This probe sends cooking data such as temperature, remaining cooking time, etc., to your iPhone via an app. http://bit.ly/gD06wK

iTwin once again showed their Remote File Access USB device that permits accessing your files and folders on another computer. The PC version is now available with a MAC version coming soon. The device can easily be moved from computer-to-computer. $99.00 http://www.itwin.com/

Tiffen demo’ed their Dfx V 2.0 filter software, which permits adding filter effects normally associated with lens filters and special effects to your stills. A must have for the serious photographer/graphic artist. Downloadable as plug-in, or stand-alone PC/MAC $149.95 http://www.tiffen.com/dfx_v2_home.html

(TIP: If you would like to attend CES in 2012 as a guest you may do so by purchasing a guest ticket for the last show day, typically a Sunday. Such passes are in high demand and limited, so best to make arrangements early. http://www.cesweb.org/ Watch for the 2012 update)

In the months that follow I will be reviewing many products shown at this year’s CES from various manufacturers, so stay tuned!

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer.


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