The opportunity to do this video for this article came to me at the last minute. Sadly, due to technical difficulties, it was delayed until after CES. Anyway, while I was in Vegas, I got an e-mail from a publicity group asking me to interview Jamie Sorcher.
I must admit that I never heard of Sorcher, but her resume includes editor-in-chief of Home Theater Design, plus technology columns for Sound & Vision, HOME, and even the movie-mag Premiere. Her official moniker is the Gizmo Girl, and she has made some television appearances as well.
In short, I accepted their offer to interview her on video during CES. I was told to meet her at a specific time and place near the Panasonic booth, but I must admit, I had a hard time finding it. When I finally did, I felt like the guy on the movie set that has no right to be there. Eventually, things came into line and I was then given very quick instructions on where to stand and what I am going to do, and was given input from a lot of strangers.
So that is me looking nervous when the camera started rolling. I had no idea that I would be up here putting a spotlight on these products, but here they are. Don’t get me wrong, because the LG BD-370, the Panasonic HD TV, and the Polk audio system look pretty neat. Not to mention that one clock that allows you to set the time by speaking to it.
I’m sure you might find that time where Jamie says: look in the monitor rather humerous, and yes, there is a nice close-up of my elbow. It appears that even though I was wearing my Zmogo T-shirt, I believe that Jamie’s particular blog got more of a spotlight. But hey, who says tech blogs can’t all get along.
I can definitely tell you that the whole interview left me with a complete buzz, and it took me about an hour to come down from that. I guess I haven’t quite experienced the Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame just yet, but that is due to the length of time of the video. I’d say that I got about ten more minutes coming.
One of the problems with mobile devices is their constant need for charging. Sure, charge cords can be done via AC and USB, but what if there was a simpler way? This is the theory behind the Powermat.
The Powermat is a simple solution that allows the user to charge their mobile device simply by laying them on a pad. It is designed to work on iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, mobile phones, GPS devices, handheld games, and even laptops.
All of these devices require the use of a special adapter, and principles of magnetic induction take over as power is transferred from the pad to the mobile device. This new product line is set to be available sometime in 2009.
Some of the models of the Powermat include a pad with an alarm clock. The ball shaped alarm also charges off the pad, and the clock makes a nice beeping sound when it is separated from the pad.
Powermat plans to use this magnetic induction recharging for more than just mobile devices. At CES 2009, they had a display of what looked like an ordinary kitchen. They had special Powermat spots on the countertop, and they put cordless appliances on them. The blenders and other electronic kitchen devices suddenly powered up.
Powermat didn’t stop there as far as impressing CES attendees. They showed a wall with magnetic areas, and the representative randomly stuck a lamp there. I believe that the wireless power would work with flat screen televisions as well. I believe that this wireless power is the wave of the future.
For years, I have seen the Novint Falcon on tech blogs everywhere, and the two-dimensional picture was not enough for me to figure out what it actually was. Nevertheless, there was a lot of anticipation for what I was told was a joystick.
I know that it doesn’t look like any type of game controller that you have ever seen, but trust me, it works. I had a chance to try it out at CES, and the weird arms that you see protruding out of the device is the joystick itself.
What the user does is grab the small ball on the front, and manipulates it for moving around in whatever game he or she is playing. It works really well on games with 3D graphics, especially First-Person Shooters.
In case you are wondering, you can move around quite freely, and the Novint controller sits very firmly on the desk. It even has a pistol attachment that make it perfect for playing games like Left for Dead.
The Falcon is about $199.99 and can be purchased at Amazon.com, CompUSA, J&R Music World, Tiger Direct, and other online and specialty retailers worldwide. As for the pistol attachment, the user will be expected to pay another $19.99.
Now that CES 2009 is now a memory, it’s time to step back and figure out what I have learned.
I can see that 3D is going to be the standard, eventually. Yesterday, zmogo reported that Sony was talking about the possibilities of 3D gaming. I want you to know that I have seen it. At CES Unveiled, I saw someone play Devil May Cry wearing 3-D goggles on a Mitsubishi television, and then I tried it. Sure enough, the big boss I was fighting was in 3D, and there was depth to it.
Last Thursday, I had a chance to see the BCS Championship live in 3D. I watched it at the Paris Hotel, with special glasses, and a cheering crowd. The sound quality was somewhat poor, but I could see so much depth in 3D, that I might as well been at the game itself. By the way, the event was partially sponsored by Sony.
On Friday night, I visited ViewSonic’s display at the Bellagio hotel. They showed me two 3D products: the VX2265WM desktop LCD monitor and the PJD6220-3D projector. Both of them worked in 3D just fine, provided the 3D glasses were charged. Yes, the glasses had to be electric, and they both required a special emitter. This emitter was a device that flashed a tiny light that could somehow make the three-dimensional effect work. This above image is a representation what it looks like, and it is not too far from the truth.
The real whammy was on Saturday morning, when I saw Panasonic’s 3D. No electric glasses were required, but it was some of the finest 3D that I have seen, ever. I saw one shot of an airplane, and it looked like the wing was coming right out of the screen.
So yeah, I had a great time with 3D at PAX, but what does this mean? It means that there is already a push to create televisions that can do 3D. In fact, some TV companies had 3D displays just so they could say that they could do 3D. In the case of Mitsubishi and ViewSonic, it already works on 3D console games with Nvidia and DirectX, which is about all of them.
So, it may take a while, but 3D should be here for more than just our video games. What does this mean for movies? You may be seeing a lot more 3D films in the theater, as they will need to compete with 3D televisions. So, 3D is going to be in our television, but what about our mobile video? Well, we’ll have to stay tuned for that.
Now that CES is in full swing, I thought that I would give you more of an idea what it was like. I think that the video that I made shows it much better than I could tell. Just to give you more of a picture than the included vid, let’s just say that the Las Vegas Convention Center has over four large areas, only one of which you barely see in the video. In order to get around, CEA provides exhibitors and attendees maps. Yes, it really is that big.
Since I always like to try and kill two birds with one stone when I write an article, consider this a First Day of CES article combined with a hands-on review of Kodak’s Zi6. If you’re not familiar with the Zi6, it is an HD digital camera that can do both stills and videos at 30 and 60 fps.
It is easily one of the most simple cameras that I have ever had to use. The Kodak representative took one minute to explain to me how to use it, and I probably could have figured it out in at least twice as long.
In the center of the camera is a little thing like a joystick that also acts as a button. Pressing it starts recording the video or takes a still, depending on what mode you are in. Mode changing is accomplished by moving the joystick left and right, and up and down to adjust the focus of the lens while filming. The playback mode button is on the right, and up and down on the joystick adjust the volume.
Video and stills are all saved on the card inside, and downloading is as easy as flipping out the USB key. I used this video a lot at CES, but unfortunately, I lost most of my footage. This has nothing to do with the quality of the Zi6, which I recommend most highly. I think I was trying to upload too many videos on YouTube at once, but I was lucky to salvage this one.
Too bad, because I had a good action shot of me trying to run to get to my next appointment at CES. This is what happens when you make appointments with companies at their CES booths and don’t plan for the space in between them.
By the way, I’ve been all over Vegas today with appointments at the Stirling Club, Piero’s, the Paris Hotel, the Venetian, not to mention all the booths I was running around to at the Convention Center. I saw a lot of new technology that I don’t have time to report on just now, but believe me, I will.
So to summarize: Kodak Zi6: good, and CES: also good.
I attended Sony’s Press Conference at CES Las Vegas today, and the company was not short on releasing new products. In fact, I have an eighteen page handout full of new products.
The company saw fit to highlight two HD digital cameras, the MHS-CM1 and MHS-PM1, which they nicknamed the Webbies. The Webbies can film in high definition MPEG4 video (1440×1080/30p) and take 5-megapixel still photos. What makes the Webbies different from other cameras is that they come with embedded software that allows the user to upload his or her content online with just a few simple clicks.
All users have to do is plug the Webbie to their computer via USB cable, and their photos and videos can be shared on sites like Shutterfly, Picasa Web Albums, Photobucket, as well as YouTube and Dailymotion.
The MHS-CM1 has a design to fit naturally in the palm, with a 2.5 screen that can swivel up to 270 degrees as well as a 5X optical zoom lens. The MHS-PM1 has basically the same features, but comes with a 4X lens. Each one has five scene selection modes such as low light, sports, and landscape, and record their footage directly to a Memory Stick PRO Duo media (not included).
Both cameras are available today at Sony Style stores, Sony online, or authorized dealers in colors of eggplant, orange and silver. The MHS-CM1 is about $200, and the MHS-PM1 is about $170. Sony predicts that these cameras will be a hit with the youth, and I can’t help but agree.
Even though CES 2009 doesn’t go into full swing until Thursday, I got a chance to have a little preview of what will be on display at the show at CES Unveiled. I’ll give you the lowdown on what was at the pre-show, in no particular order.
- Logitech had a few new products with a gaming laptop with secondary screen and a new Harmony remote.
- Both Lenovo and Asus had their products on display. Just think of a lot of netbooks, because that’s what it looked like.
- Meade Industries had a telescope that is self-calibrating. I’m not into astronomy, but the ETX-LS could easily make anyone into a scoper. I’ll see about getting an article about that later.
- DisplayLink had a very impressive display of their newest technology which allows a user to plug a monitor into anything using nothing but a USB cable.
- A crowd was at Mitsubishi Electric as one of their employees was playing Devil May Cry wearing 3-D glasses. I got a chance to try it, and all I can say is that Mitsubishi’s new 3-D technology will change any 3-D emulated game with Nvidia and Direct X into a whole new experience. Yes, the game really is in 3-D, and I will definitely write more about this later.
- Parott had their usual quality products for the year. This one included the Speechio, a wireless digital frame with a surface like a mirror. You will have to see it to believe it.
- TriSpecs had a pair of sunglasses that include wireless headphones. It was interesting, to say the least.
- The Rover Mat wireless charger had a way of charging your mobile devices by laying them on a charged pad. This is probably the wave of the future, and I saw something like this at last year’s CES.
- Blaupunkt released the first Internet radio designed for the car. Yes, a car radio with 3G and GSM capacity to play directly from Internet stations instead of AM/FM. Also the wave of the future.
- Cobra also had an assortment of Internet radios.
- A company called iGo, whose laptop cord I currently use, is finding out ways for their products to save energy.
- Joby gave me, that’s right, gave me, a Bluetooth headset called the Zivio. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll let you know how it is.
- ZAGG, a company famous for a customized mobile device protection product called Invisible Shield, is now breaking into the headphones game.
- Tonium has created a new version of a Pacemaker, but it is not a medical device. No, this is a tool for mixing two digital tracks that is perfect for the digital DJ.
All this and more. See how exciting CES can be? This is just the start of it, ladies and gentlemen. Join me tomorrow as I let you know what the biggest names in computer gadgets are unveiling for this year.
I’m sure that some of you have been reading your regular gadget/tech blogs and noticed a lot of coverage about CES. So what is CES? The Consumer Electronics Show is the biggest electronics trade show in the United States, and it officially begins this Thursday in Las Vegas.
It is at CES when consumer electronics companies generally roll out their newest products for the public to see. Attendees of CES can get a hands-on demo of the latest consumer electronics before they are released. If you are a gadget blogger like me, it is like tacking on a second Christmas two weeks after the real one.
I’m sure there are some of you readers who are very technically inclined and probably saying duh after reading the first two paragraphs, but even some of you hardcore tech guys (again, like me) don’t know why the show takes place or how it got started.
During CES Unveiled, I had a chance to sit down and ask Gary Shapiro these questions. Shapiro is the President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. For those who don’t know, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) sponsors CES, and they are a non-profit organization whose vision is to grow the consumer electronics industry. CES Unveiled is a little sneak preview show before the show two days before CES officially begins. You can read my next article about what I discovered there.
Gary really couldn’t tell me much, because he was saving his material for his keynote on Thursday. He answered my questions about how CEA got started, and what CEA does when CES is not in full swing.
CEA was started by a few radio manufacturers back in 1924. By 1967, there were a few more companies that were radio, television, and phonograph oriented. By 1991, the number of companies/members was at 80, and it is now over 2,200.
These members are allowed to tap into valuable resources like market research, up-to-date educational programs, and technical training. Members pay about $750 per year for this service, plus a chance to give their product maximum exposure at CES.
CES began in 1967, and first began in Chicago. When a bad winter storm hit, it was decided to move it to Las Vegas, where it is now every year. Since I’m attending this year, I will have several articles about CES 2009 on Zmogo, so stay tuned.