Want to see CES before CES? The madhouse that is CES Unveiled is your best bet.
MyCharge was showing off a full lineup of battery packs for charging smartphones here at CES. Our favorite of the bunch is the MyCharge Explorer, which combined a 3,000mAh battery with an integrated AC plug so that it can act as a wall-wart for your devices. Actually, it can perform that duty for up to three, by dint of an integrated 10-pin connector for iOS devices, integrated microUSB cable, and a lone USB port as well. It retails for $79.99.Read Article >
Stepping down a notch from that is the MyCharge Quest, which is a 2,000mAh battery that charges off USB and can power either an iPhone, microUSB device, or both and also can serve as a small dock. It sells for $39.99. Finally, the MyCharge Flex delves into the extremely crowded space of iPhone cases with external batteries, but in this case adds in an integrated USB cable for so you don't have to remember where your standard connector is. It comes in a variety of colors to surround the 1,300mAh core and retails for $79.99.
Jan 9, 2012
Fulton Innovations has shown off its eCoupled wireless power technology at CES for several years, and this year's biggest advance is spatial freedom while charging. eCoupled can now charge a cell phone even when it isn't directly placed on a charging surface — As long as its in the general area of a wireless power transmitter, the phone charges, even if it's inside a purse or bag. There's no word on the specific range, but direct surface contact is no longer a requirement. We'll be able to check this technology out at Fulton's CES booth and see how effective it is in practice.Read Article >
This new technology isn't just for charging small gadgets, either — Fulton claims eCoupled can wirelessly charge a Tesla electric car simply by driving the car over a designated charging spot (unfortunately, there won't be a demo available). The company will have some vehicle technology on display in the form of a car interior that's fully wired for eCoupled charging. You can charge your phone or other compatible device by placing it on just about any surface, including the dashboard, glove box, or center console.
Scheduled for release this month, BiKN uses 802.15.4 — the basis for ZigBee, among other low-power wireless network protocols — to pair up your iPhone to a bunch of tiny tags that can be used to locate objects that you attach them to. The system is facilitated with a special RF-enabled case that you slide your iPhone 4 (or iPhone 3GS) into; after installing the BiKN app from the App Store, you can choose tags that you've paired and find out how far they are from you with a range up to several hundred feet. The tags themselves, each the size of a matchbox, are rechargeable (they're supposed to last a few weeks) and can beep so they're easier to find — the iPhone gives you a radar-like indication of how many feet away you are while the tag itself is making sound.Read Article >
What's BiKN useful for? The sky's the limit, it seems — anything that you need to track within a short range, BiKN looks like an interesting option. Attach a tag to your keyring, for instance, and your keys become a lot easier to find if you've got your phone; put one on your pet's leash and you'll know when they've strayed too far. Likewise, the iPhone case itself is a trackable tag — pair two phones together and they can be tracked from one another. The case and the tags all recharge via Micro USB, so there aren't any proprietary docks or connectors to worry about (though you'd need to remember to charge your tags periodically before they go silent).
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The Kivic One is a neat little device, about the size of a MiFi, that can stream audio or video to nearly any display via AirPlay, WiFi direct, or DLNA. Kivic tells us that it's pushing for the eponymous device to appear in vehicles — it demonstrated it alongside a Pioneer car monitor — but conceivably it can stream video to any display that uses HDMI. There's no firm release date yet, but the company says the Kivic One should land sometime in March for around $200.
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We just looked at Goal Zero's version two of the Sherpa 50 here at CES Unveiled 2012. At about the size of about four CD cases stacked together (and way smaller than its predecessor), this 50 watt lithium ion rechargeable battery pack powers devices on the go using its AC, DC, USB 2.0 and traditional laptop-charger ports. The pack itself charges in about four hours using a traditional outlet (and in about five hours using the solar panels) and can fully power something like a Macbook Pro, or recharge multiple cell phones. Priced at $249.99, it'll be available in June as a standalone pack, and for $400-$500 bundled with a 3-panel solar charger.
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Pure is showing off some of its speaker wares at CES Unveiled today, including two new speakers we got to take a look at. The coolest of the bunch is the Contour 200i, an AirPlay-enabled speaker system that at $329 is a lot less expensive than some of its competitors. It's a nice-looking device, heavy and reminiscent of a 21st-century Egyptian headdress, and it supports docking iPads as well as iPhones and iPods. We also got a look at the Sensia 200D, a round little internet radio with a touchscreen on the front. It hooks into the Pure Music service to stream internet radio, and can also be a speaker or an alarm clock. It'll be available in April for about $450.
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The Qooq (pronounced "cook") culinary tablet is a slate designed specifically for the kitchen. The device has a heat- and water-resistant enclosure with a kickstand around back, as well as an SD card slot, Ethernet port, USB port, and headphone jack under a protective cover. Its 10.1-inch display has a 1024 x 600 resolution, which runs atop a 1GHz Cortex A9 dual-core processor.
At the Dish booth here at CES Unveiled 2012, the company showed off its updated Remote Access app, which now streams on-demand video to the iPad. If you're a Dish customer currently subscribed to Blockbuster @Home or premium channels like HBO and Cinemax, you'll now have access to thousands of movies and TV shows (like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm) right on your iPad.Read Article >
Additionally, Dish announced a partnership with Google TV and an application called Thuuz, which we're told will track a specific sports team and use special algorithms to alert you when that team is playing an exciting game. The app will also record that team's games automatically, right onto the set-top box. We didn't get a chance to see the application running on an actual Google TV, but we'll be on the lookout for a demo on the show floor. Stay tuned.
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3M has a monstrous 46-inch multitouch table on display at CES 2012 that reminds us of Microsoft's Surface. The display has a 1080p resolution, and currently supports up to 20 concurrent touches — though it's theoretically capable of tracking up to 60. Similar to Microsoft's take, 3M sees the technology being put to use in retail stores, military applications, and governmental offices. The software we saw was running off a Mac Mini, with basic Twitter and photo viewing clients. The table is smart enough to ignore palm and arm input, but that shouldn't be an excuse to put your elbows on it.
We just had the chance to sit down with Tobii's Gaze eye tracking technology, which the company hopes will eventually be a mainstay in consumer electronics and be adopted by PC manufacturers in the years to come. The project is a direct result of research conducted in 2001 at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology. Tobii had numerous Windows 8-based demos on hand to exhibit its futuristic tech, including a photo gallery that allowed us to navigate through pictures by shifting our glance and enlarge a chosen photo by focusing on it. A web browser demo scrolled automatically as our eyes read through the text on screen. That space-themed EyeAsteroids game we told you about previously was also on full display.Read Article >
As for our initial impressions, we found that while the cool factor is certainly there, the execution at this point in time is rather lacking. Each demonstration showed potential and offered fleeting moments of "wow", but all too often we found that things just didn't work smoothly. There were numerous occasions when the tracking momentarily failed, and while the technology almost always regrouped, the disconnect was jarring. The software experienced numerous quirks throughout our time with it, ultimately feeling more awkward than impressive as a result. Still, it's important to remember that this technology isn't close to reaching consumers, giving Tobii time to refine its vision of what eye tracking should be. What the company has here is a promising but admittedly imperfect foundation.
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Devices to monitor your health and exercise are nothing new, and neither are devices that communicate with apps on your computer or smartphone. BodyMedia has been offering all of the above for some time (its latest product is a USB-only body monitors that saves $20 off the retail price of the Bluetooth version), but it's planning on trying a few new things in 2012 and 2013. First is the Body Monitory Patch, a disposable body patch designed to track calorie burn, steps, and more — BodyMedia claims it collects 5,000 data points per minute. After a week's time, the patch can be simply removed, its data downloaded, and then it can be disposed. It's meant to have applications in health care, where long term tracking may not be as important as a short term diagnosis.
Moving down the line, we also saw the company's diminutive ATCMini Action Video Camera, which isn't much bigger than a lipstick case and offers rugged 720p video, audio, and 1.3-megapixel stills in a 2.3-ounce package that the company claims is the world's lightest. A helmet mount is standard equipment, and you've got your pick of a bunch of optional mounts for handlebars, surfboards, and pretty much any other "extreme" sport you can imagine. It runs $179.Read Article >
Rounding out the range are the Gaiam Touch Heart Rate Monitor — a simple sports watch with heart rate monitoring and a button-free design — and a Touch Advanced Weather Station. Like the watch, the new weather station is also button-free; it's designed for nightstand use but doesn't measure much bigger than a deck of cards tall, offering date, time, temperature, humidity, and pressure with an optional EL backlight. It runs $49.
Eton's showing off its new Rukus portable speaker system at CES unveiled, and we just got our hands on it — it's a small, lightweight device that streams music via Bluetooth, and the system is powered by a big solar panel that covers most of the Rukus' topside. It's got a few simple controls on the front, including power, a Bluetooth toggle, and buttons for volume, aux, and bass adjustments. Also accompanying the controls is a nice little e-ink display that shows off battery levels, solar charge levels, and Bluetooth status — something that's sure to come in handy in outdoor situations. Eton says the solar panel can charge the internal lithium battery in about six hours of direct sunlight (though you can also charge it up with an AC adapter or over USB).Read Article >
We didn't get a good feel for audio quality given the bustling hall at the Venetian, but even when factoring in the background noise the speakers didn't seem to be able to get very loud. Still, for $149.99, the solar-powered Rukus could be a great portable speaker option, and you can expect the it to land in Q2 2012.
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Zomm's always made products to help you track your stuff, but with the new Lifestyle Connect the company's fixed its focus on helping the elderly. The Lifestyle Connect is a small dongle that slips into a purse or clips on a shirt, and acts as an emergency response system for the scary "I've fallen and can't get up" moments. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and with the press of a button can alert one of Zomm's concierges (the company is using MyAssist for the service, the same folks behind many automakers' assistance products), who will get in touch with emergency services or nearby family members. The device lasts two weeks on a charge, and is a much more mobile solution than most of its competitors, which require you to be in range of a home base — Zomm reps said that many people they talked to felt trapped in their house, for fear that something might happen when they were out of range. The Lifestyle Connect system also works with Zomm's other tracking products, so you could use it to find a relative who's gone missing or even find something as simple as your keys. The device itself costs $199, plus a monthly fee of "less than $15," and should be available in the second quarter.
Jan 9, 2012
Belkin to make Dyle Mobile TV accessories, bring live OTA broadcasts to your mobile device (hands-on)
Belkin just announced at CES that it's going to to be developing accessories that work with MCV's Dyle Mobile TV service, which brings live over-the-air television to mobile devices. The service currently gets its content from 15 broadcasting groups, as well as FOX, NBC, and more, and devices with the right ATSC TV tuners and the Dyle app can get service from preexisting OTA broadcasts — which means it doesn't use any of your precious mobile data. We learned a few days ago that MCV was working with MetroPCS to build TV tuners directly into devices, but now that Belkin has been brought on board we're sure to be seeing at least a few accessories that can let you tap into those over-the-air signals with most any mobile phone or tablet.Read Article >
We got to see Belkin's first prototype accessory for Dyle Mobile TV today. It's a pretty reasonably-sized dongle for iOS devices, and other than your typical iPod dock connector, it has got a female 3.5mm jack. (Update: We've been told you will be able to use your device's built-in speakers as well.) The dongle doesn't have a name yet, but we were told that we should be expecting the device to arrive in a couple of months.
Lenovo's IdeaTab S2 gives the Transformer Prime a run for its money, coming in at just over 0.3 inches thick and weighing 1.1 pounds. We got a quick look at it here at CES and found it running Android 4.0 with a clean skin — perhaps Lenovo's Mondrian UI layer wasn't quite ready for prime time. The tablet portion locks into the keyboard with a click and releases with a button — the connection doesn't look especially robust (especially with a half-dozen CES attendees pawing at it simultaneously), but we'll need to give it a full review before we lay down our final verdict. As far as specs are concerned, t's running a dual-core Snapdragon MSM 8960 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, has a 1280 x 800 IPS display, and has 1GB of RAM. It should last a whopping 20 hours with the keyboard attachment.Read Article >
Jan 9, 2012
Lenovo just hasn't been able to stop announcing laptops here at CES 2012, but amongst them all, the ThinkPad T430u ultrabook and ThinkPad Edge S430 have stuck out. Both laptops won't be available until the spring when Intel's Ivy Bridge processors are available, but Lenovo did bring two early prototypes to the show.Read Article >
The T430u is really liked a slimmed down X1. It's got a very classic ThinkPad look, with the same comfortable chiclet keyboard that's on the X1. The early samples Lenovo was showing weren't working very well — we had to plug in an external mouse to navigate the desktop — but they did seem fairly well-built. The screen resolution (1366 x 768), the wide upper screen bezel, and lack of a keyboard backlight were quite a let down, though Lenovo says they will be adding a Thinklight to the top of the bezel.
Jan 9, 2012
AirPlay, the ability to wirelessly stream music out of your iOS device to nearby compatible speakers, is a pretty big deal to iPhone and iPad owners. Alas, thanks to some pretty silly pricing on AirPlay speaker sets, they've remained relatively uncommon and out of reach. Now Griffin's trying to capitalize on that market gap with its new audio amp, which straps on an AirPort Express and transforms any old set of stereo speakers into an AirPlay station.Read Article >
The Griffin Twenty hooks up to the copper connectors from your speakers using spring-loaded clips on its back. It comes with an S/PDIF optical input and includes the necessary TOSLINK cable to connect to your AirPort Express. A chunky volume knob is also included for more refined adjustment. Griffin hasn't got a release date or a price to offer up yet, but we can imagine a ton of neglected old speakers would get a fresh breath of life by plugging into the Twenty.
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Withings already offers a Wi-Fi enabled scale for tracking your weight, but they are introducing a version for the little ones here at CES Unveiled. The Smart Baby Scale folds up for easy storage and will cost around $150 when it launches in Q2, accommodating both infants and toddlers. Babies can be weighed with the included baby basket, which can be removed as they grow up. Weight information is transmitted to the free companion WiScale iOS app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and the data can be shared with both friends and pediatricians.
We just took a quick break from playing with Parrot's new AR.Drone 2.0 to check out the company's new Asteroid in-car navigation systems. These aren't the first of their kind from Parrot, but they're a huge upgrade: the last version of the Asteroid was based on Android 1.6, and this year's model runs Android 2.3. There are three different models of the Asteroid system: the tiny Asteroid CK, a modular, 3.2-inch device that you can mount to your windshield or dashboard; the Asteroid NAV, which has a 5-inch display; and the Asteroid 2DIN, a 6.2-inch multitouch-capable nav system that slots into your dashboard.Read Article >
All connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and let you make hands-free calls, navigate, listen to music, and more, and they can all be hubs for your backseat entertainment as well. They're paired with a wireless remote control that you can mount to your steering wheel, in addition to the touch capabilities on the 2DIN. Because they all run Android, there's also potential for tons of Android apps to run on the Asteroid units (Deezer and TuneIn come preloaded). Pricing and availability weren't announced, but Parrot says it's going to have an app store for the Asteroid devices coming soon, which we're frankly pretty excited about — you can never have too many places to play Where's My Water.
Jan 9, 2012
LG's here at CES 2012 showing off VMware virtual Android machines running on a Verizon Revolution — you can have a "personal" phone that you manage yourself, and then hit a button and click over to a totally sandboxed "work" phone that's managed by your employer. We've known LG and VMware have been working on this since February, but the big news today is that Verizon and Telefonica wil be launching a phone with the tech "in the coming months." No one's getting more specific than that, and we're told it'll be on new LG devices only — the Revolution you see here is just a proof of concept. Still, it's interesting, and should make that whole work phone / personal phone split a little easier to manage.Read Article >
Remember the SolarFocus SolarKindle we told you about yesterday? We just got to try out that Kindle shell case with an external battery pack, pop-out light and thin, flexible solar panel here at CES. While it definitely adds a bit of bulk, the $79.99 accessory ($59.99 for the non-solar version) adds some functionality to an e-reader too, as the comfortable soft-touch covered case can completely charge the Kindle's battery, we're told. Unfortunately, the pop out light doesn't evenly illuminate the screen, but it seems quite usable. The non-solar version is on sale right now at SolarFocus' website, and the solar variant should be ready in about a week. Next up, the company's making a version for the Kindle Touch. Find pictures of both below.Read Article >