What caught our eye at CES 2012 – Part 3

In our third (part 1, part 2) and final round-up of CES 2012, here are some of the other exhibitors and products that caught our eye while clocking up the miles of exhibition halls!

The ‘Dot’ from Kogeto

The ‘Dot’, from New York based Kogeto, is billed as ‘the World’s smallest panoramic video thingy for the iPhone 4 and 4S’. As you can see from the picture above, the Dot is certainly an eye catching ‘thingy’ and instantly made us curious when we stumbled across it at this year’s ShowStoppers event.

In a nutshell, it clips on to the back of your iPhone and the Dot’s 360 lens sits over your camera. The company’s free ‘Looker’ app then enables you to use the Dot to take a 360 degree video (yes, video!) of your current surroundings.

While the immediate question might be ‘what for?’, it was undeniably something we wanted play with! The initial result was far from convincing with a blurry picture and incomplete 360 video. When we raised this with Kogeto, they said the most likely cause was a protective film on the lens. They also conceded that the current instructions aren’t very clear (no pun intended!) and that we weren’t the only ones who had the issue.

On our 2nd attempt, without the lens protection film and with better lighting, we were able to secure a perfect (albeit still slightly blurry) 360 video capture of the room. In conclusion the ‘Dot’ looks like it will be a fun and quirky gadget to take with you to a party or on holiday. We’ll update you when we get details on UK pricing and availability. For more info visit http://kogeto.com/

Update on Jan 25: Kogeto’s PR people tell us the Dot will be in Apple stores in March retailing at around $79 or 60 euros.

iBallz iPad protective ‘case’

Having been out for a while, the iBallz isn’t exactly a ‘latest’ gadget, but we’re suckers for quirky looking gadgets and we’d not seen this one before. The iBallz is incredibly simple in concept – it’s an elastic cord with four shock-absorbing balls attached to it. You simply slip it around the frame of your iPad and position a ball (which has a small slit) over each corner. The selling points of the iBallz system is that it doesn’t obstruct your view of the screen and it can be dropped from any angle without your iPad touching the floor (check out our video of iBallz).

Initially we were a bit sceptical of the demand for such a strange looking case, but when they mentioned that schools loved the product – it suddenly became clear that co-founders Lee and Derek might be on to a winner. The iBallz is already available for US$20 via www.iballz.info or £19.99 on iwantoneofthose.com

spnKiX motorised skates

CES 2012 was the official launch event for spnKiX – a pair of battery powered, motorised (up to 10mph), skates that you strap over your shoes. Invented and developed by LA-based designers Peter Treadway and partner Janelle, the spnKiX is something they’ve been working on in their spare time over the last 5-8 years (depending on who you asked!). After two or three hours of charging, the spnKiX will give you a range of 2-3 miles and their speed can be controlled via a hand-held remote. According to Peter, the spnKiX can be viewed both as something to play and do tricks with, as well as acting as a short distance vehicle. They are due to start shipping in March 2012 with a retail price of $649. More info is at www.spnKiX.com

‘Flash Dock’ an SLR iPhone/Smartphone dock

The ‘Flash Dock’ enables you to mount a smartphone on top of your SLR camera, using your camera’s HotShoe socket. For those thinking “the what shoe?” – the HotShoe is the socket on the very top of your camera more traditionally used to attach an things like a flash-gun.

However, by marrying your smartphone and SLR, the Flash Dock enables you to use your HotShoe for all sorts of purposes. For example, you could download a spirit-level app from your phone’s app store and use this to ensure your SLR is completely level. Or maybe use the light app to help illuminate a low-light scene. Or even push the dock forwards and use a microphone app to record audio while filming. The only limit is whether someone has developed an app for it!

The Flash-Dock itself is very basic, it’s just a mount and clip, but nevertheless it’s one of those “that’s a clever idea” products that might just prove to be a hit. The French-based company behind the dock are working on distribution, but the expected retail price is $34.95* and they hope it will be available within a month. To find out more information you can visit www.flash-dock.com

*Update on Jan 25: Retail price now $29.99.

Toffee cases and sleeves

 

While not strictly a gadget-manufacturer, the Sydney-based ‘Toffee’ caught our attention thanks to a combination of their beautiful leather iPad cases and having the charismatic Dan llic helping on their stand. We’ve since discovered (thanks Wikipedia!) that Dan is in fact a comedian, writer and performer back in Australia – which might explain how he had the stamina to remain upbeat and friendly even at the end of another long CES day! We’ll be giving away a Toffee Macbook Air/Pro case in our post-CES competition, but in the meantime you can find out more at http://www.toffee.com.au

Rounding up a round-up

So, that wraps up another year of CES coverage. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our three part round-up and stay tuned for coverage of IFA 2012 and of course CES 2013!

What caught our eye at CES 2012 – Part 2

Continuing our round-up (find part 1 here) of CES 2012, here are some of the other products that caught our attention as we toured the various exhibition halls.

ION Audio’s Water Rocker and iPad Guitar Apprentice

This year saw the guys at ION Audio showcasing a number of brand new and forthcoming products. In addition to the Docs2Go scanner for the iPad (see our video here), we also liked the look of their Water Rocker and Guitar Apprentice products.

The Water Rocker is a football-sized waterproof (and submersible) floating speaker system for the iPhone, iPod or anything else that can accommodate a 1/8-inch jack. After putting your source device in the specially designed cover dock, it will then transmit your music (within an advertised 150-foot range) to the Water Rocker. A nice feature is that you can have up to 10 speakers working from a single transmitter – which could be useful if you have a particularly huge pool (lottery winners take note!). The Water Rocker also features a built-in FM radio and it’s due out in the UK in April with an expected retail price of around £89.

Guitar Apprentice is a full-scale, electric controller that turns your iPad in to a guitar. Combined with the app, you’ll be able to follow the lights on the instrument’s neck to learn guitar skills and chords. You strum the guitar by using the touch screen of the iPad which you can simply dock and undock from the main body of the guitar. A nice design touch is the ability to fold the neck of the guitar in half for easy storage. Guitar Apprentice is expected to be launched in the UK in Q4 with an anticipated price of around £99.99.

Belkin WeMo Home Control Switch

The pitch the lady from Belkin gave was simple: imagine you’ve just got to work and can’t remember if you unplugged your iron. With WeMo, you can simply boot up the free app on your iPhone and instantly see whether the switch is on or off. If you did leave it on, then you can turn it off remotely via the app – wonderful! This was just one example of how Belkin’s new line of home automation products could come in handy.

 

This particular product (the Home Control Switch) works with your existing electrical system (i.e. by sitting between your device’s normal plug and the wall socket) and then uses your home’s Wi-Fi network. The programmable switch can also work in tandem with the WeMo sensor product that was also announced at this year’s show.

The RRP for the Home Control Switch in the States is $49.99 and it will be available from March. We’ll update you if and when we get details of UK availability and pricing. Belkin’s WeMo section of their web site is at http://www.belkin.com/wemo/

Celluon’s Prodigy iPhone projection keyboard & battery case

The idea of a projection keyboard (i.e. one that beams the keyboard on to a surface) is not new, but this year the people from Celluon were showcasing a prototype iPhone case which not only incorporated the projected keyboard, but also an additional battery and stand. The company is currently evaluating market demand but seemed confident that the Prodigy would go in to mass production and it could be available by late summer. We were told the expected price would be around $179. Having given the keyboard a quick test, it seemed to work well and didn’t miss any of the keys we pressed.

When asked about future products, the company rep mentioned the concept of a universal dock with projection keyboard which would accept all sorts of devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Samsung phones, Galaxy tablet etc. As it’s only a conceptual product, there were no details on release date or pricing – but perhaps we’ll see it at next year’s CES. Visit http://celluon.com/index.htm for further information.

Tamaggo 360-imager

The unusual design of the Tamaggo was the first thing that caught our eye as we turned the corner of another aisle of CES exhibitors. The Tamaggo is billed as the first consumer picture-taking device with ‘fully integrated, built in panomorph technology’ that lets users take high-res 360 degree images with just a single click. In a nutshell, you hold this ball-sized device in the air and hit the big silver button on the side to take a 360 photo of your current surroundings. It can detect the way you are holding the device and will automatically adjust its orientation accordingly for horiztonal or vertical panoramic images.

The Tamaggo’s vital stats are: 14MP sensor, 2″ LCD touch screen, Mini USB and wireless (WiFi/Bluetooth), weighs 190g and is 92mm long, 55.8mm high and 61.1mm wide. It also features a rechargeable Li-Polymer battery and integrated stand allowing for remote image capture.

The Tamaggo will be available in the US in Q2 for under $200. We will update this if and when we have further details on UK pricing and availability. For further product information, check out the company’s site at http://www.tamaggo.com

What caught our eye at CES 2012 – Part 1

Having recovered from our jet-lag and sifted through the two dozen or so USB press kits we picked up, we can now present you with part one of our round-up of the gadgets and gizmos that caught our eye at this year’s CES.

Eers Custom Earphones

Developed by Canadian firm Sonomax, ‘eers’ are the “first earphones in the world that you buy off the shelf and custom-fit to your own ears, in 4 minutes.” Roughly speaking, the product works by putting the fitting mechanism on your head (see picture) and then two types of silicone flow down into a membrane and into your ear. You don’t get any silicone in your ear of course, as it’s contained inside the membrane.

After a few minutes the silicone sets and you remove the fitting device to, hopefully, find a perfectly cast set of earphones – custom moulded to fit your ear. The product is expected to be on sale in the UK in the 2nd half (update: see below) of 2012 and the current retail price for the US is $199 for the single driver headphone and $299 for the twin driver (better sound quality) version. To find out more about eers, visit http://sculptedeers.com/

Update on Jan 26: Eers are now available direct from Sonomax UK on this page, current price £199+shipping

Sony Tablet P

The next product that caught our attention, but perhaps not for the right reasons, was the Sony Tablet P. Our initial reaction was that it looked like a giant, silver, version of the popular Nintendo Donkey Kong handheld game from yesteryear! Nevertheless we decided to persevere and had a quick hands-on go the intriguing looking clamshell tablet.

The idea is that you can easily slip this tablet in to your handbag, backpack or even jacket pocket – although from our experience you’d need a pretty big jacket for people not to notice the bulge! The Tablet P is 18cm long and 15.8cm wide when fully opened. It weighs 370g and sports two 5.5″ TruBlack touch screens. The model on display is supplied in conjunction with AT&T and enables the ‘P’ to use 3G when on the move.

Alongside Sony’s more conventional ‘S’ tablet and their increasingly powerful XPERIA smartphones, we couldn’t really work out who the ‘P’ was aimed at. The form factor was quite bulky and the sizeable gap between the two screens can make for awkward reading of long pages (see our photo for an example of a split mid paragraph).

While the official press material from Sony states that pricing and availability is ‘TBD’, we found the Tablet P already for sale (at £499) on the Sony UK web site. Given this relatively high price (the iPad 2 starts from £399) we’ll be surprised if this becomes a hit product for Sony.

Penclic Mouse

Penclic, a Swedish based company, have been championing the idea of a pen-shaped mouse since 2002. However this year’s CES saw them launching their new and improved R2 (wireless) and D2 (corded) versions. The Penclic is designed to provide a more natural working position and to combat health related issues associated with a traditional computer mouse, such as repetitive strain injury (RSI).

The Penclic is intended to feel and move like a pen and the mouse buttons are mounted where you grip with your forefinger and thumb. From our quick test the product performed well, although we were initially a little confused about which part made the cursor move. The answer is that you move the whole unit, rather than just the ball/socket mechanism!

The R2 and D2 are already available via the Amazon Marketplace, priced at £59.99 and £49.99 respectively. Update: Check out our Penclic R2 unboxing video

Audi’s triple heads-up display

Over at the predictably stylish (and extremely bright!) Audi stand, they had a demo of prototype heads-up display. Audi’s HUD stood out from existing displays because it featured three ‘projections’, one directly in front of the driver, one in the centre and one for the passenger.

The driver’s HUD showed navigational arrows which can obviously be used in place of a traditional sat-nav unit. The centre screen was showing more details about the route and end destination. Meanwhile, the passenger screen (which is invisible to the driver), can be used to watch TV, etc. All of the screens are gesture controlled.

In a ‘real life’ demo, the guy from Audi showed us an example of an incoming video phone call. This was displayed on the centre screen as a static photo and the name of the caller, but the passenger could drag this across to their screen to view the video call – while the driver could concentrate on, er, …driving!

Our CES 2012 coverage continues…