GPS dogtags and scared kangaroos: hits and misses at CES

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show turned out to be the largest on record, despite a slow economy and what many industry pundits agree is a dearth of genuine scene-stealers

January 13, 2012
Nokia Lumia 900

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show turned out to be the largest on record, despite a slow economy and what many industry pundits agree is a dearth of genuine scene-stealers.

But as with most years, avid – and hardy – attendees can always find a few gems that stand out from the inevitable tidal wave of headphones, Internet-enabled home appliances and gadget casings.

Here are a few high and low moments, compiled by Reuters from the Las Vegas show floor:

Hits:

  • Tagg, a GPS-enabled dog or cat collar so you need never lose your beloved companion again. A minute GPS unit clipped to pet collars will send an alarm text or email to your app-installed smartphone should Snuggles wander outside of a prescribed zone.
  • Hewlett-Packard’s all-glass-encased Spectre was probably the most eye-catching of the so-called ‘Ultrabooks’ and drew throngs of onlookers. Intel is hoping the new generation of ultra-thin, instant-on, lightweight laptops – essentially a riposte to Apple’s MacBook Air – will safeguard its market share as tablets and smartphones encroach on its traditional personal-computing turf.
  • The Tobii, which tracks eye movements to execute commands – what it calls “gaze interaction” – taking gesture-controlled interfaces a step further and upping the sophistication ante. Along with Nuance’s voice controls and Microsoft’s Kinect gesture-recognition technology, it offers an alternative to the fast-getting-old keyboard-mouse input model in an era of touchscreens. Zoom, auto-center, destroy virtual asteroids – moving just your eyes.
  • Samsung Note, the beefed up “phablet” with a 5.3 inch screen that sits somewhere between a phone and a tablet. It may seem unwieldy held up to one’s ear, and the screen – at half the iPad’s size – might seem wanting as well, but its sleek lines, pin-sharp Android apps and unique shape drew in the crowds.
  • Nokia’s Lumia 900 phone, running Windows, marked the once-mighty Finnish handset maker’s return to the U.S. market – and Microsoft’s biggest phone gambit yet. People clamored for a feel, but demos were limited and there is no release date yet.
  • Massive, 55-inch “OLED” TVs from Samsung and LG, which are both cautiously hopeful the costlier, but crisper screens will re-energize a faltering global TV market after flat sales in 2011. Bonus: look at them sideways and they almost disappear.
Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

Misses:

  • Microsoft Corp signed off after 14 show-opening keynotes with a bizarre, news-free presentation featuring a “Twitter choir” and a Q&A anchored by Ryan Seacrest. The company is reportedly revamping its marketing organization.
  • Panasonic Corp’s combo digital photo frame and Skype terminal. “The idea of some engineer who has been locked in a room for 10 years,” one observer quipped.
  • Dish Network Corp’s stunt with a fidgety live kangaroo onstage, to launch its new “Hopper” package. For a video, click on http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2012/01/09/dishs-kangaroo-pitchman-doesnt-cooperate/
  • A Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s fridge that streams Pandora and Twitter. It’s OK to take a break from the Internet every now and then.
  • And last but not least: Sony Corp’s strange “Wedding Invitation” promo for its Internet-enabled TVs. Verbatim from the invite: “Internet plopped down on one knee. After nervously fidgeting around, he blurted, “I can haz marriage?” and presented TV with a giant ring. She, of course, said yes. And the rest is history.”
Panasonic digital photo frame and Skype terminal

Panasonic digital photo frame and Skype terminal

Tags: CES, Headline, Microsoft, Nokia, Panasonic, Pandora, reuters, Samsung, Sony, Twitter

Anonymous News Tip
Free Email Newsletter:
Subscribe
X

Anonymous News Tip






Captcha image
Not readable? Change text.

sending

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – technology images can be found here

Join the conversation

Connect with MyBB

twitterfacebookandroidappleblackberrynewsletterfeed

Poll

Are you using public WiFi hotspots to connect to the Internet in places like airports, restaurants or shopping malls?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

IT jobs in SA: good and bad news

Business people globe world silhouette

The latest CareerJunction Index shows that there is a strong demand for skilled IT professionals in South Africa

Microsoft sells 5 million Xbox Ones

xbox one on display

Microsoft Corp has sold over 5 million Xbox One video game consoles to retailers since its launch in November, the company said on Thursday.

Investors try to save Mt.Gox

Bitcoin symbol

A group of investors seeking to buy Mt. Gox has launched a website to garner support from creditors of the bankrupt bitcoin exchange to prevent a liquidation of its assets.

Top tech deals this Easter

Sale

Many local retailers are offering technology products at reduced prices over the Easter period

bool(true)