Well, the CES was a little while ago now (back in 7-10 Jan, held in Las Vegas). Unfortunately, this year was more of an evolution of current gadgetry rather than a revolution to display anything genuinely exciting. Nonetheless, there are a few new developments we should, as gadgeteers, take a look.
Not just a provision of point to point navigation equipment and software anymore, most of the major GPS suppliers are moving to ‘smart’ versions of their hardware. The focus is (luckily) still on getting access to on-the-move information such as cinema times, parking spaces and traffic awareness information.
This one would be particularly useful for me as there’s always a blackspot I hit every morning. Watch out for Dash Express – the more of these there are on the road the more accurate their reporting systems – definitely one to watch.
There are a few different cameras, stereos and gaming systems that are now wireless enabled. I’m convinced that it’s the way of the future, with some even talking about wireless power. However, for those without a really flashy camera, the Eye-Fi looks to be a great solution. This 2GB card can automatically hook up to your wireless wi-fi network and dump all images to a specified network location. This is scheduled as US only so far but will move into Europe later in the year.
TN Games Vest
For us gamers, there’s another take on the force feedback option about to hit the market (well, sometime soon anyway). That’s the TN Games Vest. It connects to the computer by USB and features an air compression system that allows the gamer to ‘feel’ where they have been shot, or even the G-Force of trying to turn a corner at 70mph. There’s also a full-body system, which might be taking it a bit far in my view but it’s certainly something to watch for the immersion stakes.
National Public Radio
For usability, you can’t beat the idea behind Harris Corporation and Towson University. Previously of course, radio was an audio medium – if you couldn’t hear then it was pointless tuning in. Now however, the aforementioned consortium is creating a system that translates speech on the radio into text in real time. Currently, the system works manually via a typist but this could well change in the future as the system will no doubt use adaptive voice recognition technology.
The problem with portable media players and music in general is that unless you’re a fan of a particular scene or regularly trawl the music channels on TV, it can be hard to find some new stuff that you like. Slacker is a gadget that could well take the pain out of this search and is for me one of the hottest gadgets at the CES.
It connects wirelessly to the network whenever you’re in range and downloads new music based on the preferences you’ve already shown the machine. There is a 500MB, 1.5GB and even 4GB version. Currently it’s only available in the US but sounds definitely worth a look if you’re over there.
Philips ECO TV
I’ve given this my ‘best in show’ as it were, due to the forward thinking nature of the product. Simply, it’s a 42inch, 1080p flat panel LCD that has various power saving features such as a dimming backlight for darker scenes and a room lighting sensor with automatic adjustment. Impressively, it’s got a very reasonable price tag of only $1399 dollars, which means that not only do you get something that sucks less juice but you also have a fantastic picture quality. One not to miss.