The Consumer Electronics Show starts today and I’m already exhausted. I spent Wednesday rushing from press conference to press conference, stopping to get sneak peaks of cool gizmos and noteworthy technology. All for you, dear reader.
Not everything is so new.
A few technologies that we’ve been waiting on for years are finally on the verge of release, such as Fossil’s PDA watch. Now available for $249. (Didn’t I first see this 2 years ago?)
But on day one of CES, at least for me, here’s some stuff I felt is worth sharing:
The coolest thing so far: The Samsung A800 cell phone has an impressive 2 Megapixel camera phone (most are barely at 1 MP). But that’s not the best part. It also reads business cards from photos snapped by its high-res camera. Demos at CES showed that yes, this wasn’t just talk. It not only distinguishes text in the photo, but will file the “card” away in your phone’s address book. If that’s not enough, it also converts voice memos to text. Debut: Early March, price not determined.
Motorola and Burton Snowboards of Vermont teamed up on a high-tech clothing line for snowboarders. The jacket hood has built-in Bluetooth headphones that wirelessly connect to an MP3 player is in the pocket (includes a slot for an iPod). A microphone embedded near the collar lets you chat on your cell phone. Also in the works: Bluetooth headphones built into a helmet and beanie. No price yet. Debut: Winter 2005.
KEY TO HOME SECURITY
Using a new wireless standard called ZigBee, Eaton Corp. in Cleveland developed a home security system. Dubbed Home Heartbeat, the system is comprised by a bunch of sensors. Stick a sensor on a bedroom window, the garage door and the basement floor and those sensors communicate with a key that you can take on the road. When you leave the house, the system knows because it knows the key is gone. It will text message your cell phone should there be a water leak or disturbance to a door or window. Debut: March, with starter kits for $149.
Back-seat road trips
Family road trips have never been the same ever since flip-down video screens became a traveling necessity. Corona-based Rosen Entertainment Systems took this one step further. It introduced a dual-zone sound system that sends out two audio signals to wireless headsets. That means one kid can watch and play video games on one display, while the other can watch a DVD movie. Available now for about $1,800.
College-bound students are oh-so lucky this year: the SAT is adding essays. Franklin Electronic Publishers, which make pocket-sized electronic dictionaries, stepped up.
Its Princeton Review Pocket Prep Handheld includes the usual math and verbal test and essay tutorials. The student can use it to take three full tests up to four times.
Debut: February for about $150 to $180