CES has barely even started, and you can already feel the energy here in Las Vegas. CES Unveiled tantalized throngs of press and bloggers with the latest gadgets ranging from some ridonkulously thin big-screen TVs to robot pandas. Part of the fun was actually fishing out the few companies who had something to do with mobile phones. If you really need to be on the bleeding edge of what’s going on at what is likely the biggest show in technology, be sure to check out our Twitter feed. I’m thumbing away on it right after chatting with some impressive developers. Better still, if you’re at the show, feel free to throw a few @ signs our way.
So how did the CES preview go? Hit the jump!
Onto the gadgetry! First up we have DivX, who were mostly showing off their codecs working in astounding clarity on the big screen, but I made sure to prod them about their mobile development, which they see gaining some momentum this year. There are already a few phones they work closely with, like the XPERIA, but a new certification program should open up better video playback to a wider variety of mobile devices. What I really wanted was better quality on the Storm, and they said that they’re often working at the chip level in order to make sure DivX can function efficiently with particular devices. I would hope DivX actually had the clout to shoulder manufacturers into getting better video-capable components, but sometimes business comes before pleasure.
Powermat was working on some wireless charging for devices including the iPhone and BlackBerry, but it still used that external case that just bulked the thing up. Can’t they do it by… I don’t know, magic, or something? Adding that much girdth simply for the sake of wireless charing seems like a pain. Now, if the charger were built into cases that were already on the beefy side (like OtterBox), you’d get the added benefit of protection. It would be cool to see two companies merge products like that Voltron-stylie, but it rarely happens.
One of my initial misconceptions about CES was that it would be all zip-pow shiny toys, but after talking with the guys at Krown about their portable sign language translator, I could see there would be more than a few earnest, down-to-earth products to be seen. It’s unfortunate that Krown’s involved proprietary hardware, since a software solution seems like such a no-brainer, but considering the amount of instructional video that this thing holds, it might be too demanding memory-wise for most mobile devices.
Another less-than-flashy product I bumped into on the CES Unveiled floor was Archerfish‘s security cameras. By plugging into a hub and server, the camera feeds intelligent alerts to mobile devices however you want to get them (e-mail, SMS, still, video, etc.). Obviously they originated with big enterprises which needed to keep a close watch on their properties, no matter how far they might be from it, but Archerfish is aiming to boil things down a tad for the small/medium businesses and home market. The big selling point was that the alerts were highly customizable – you wouldn’t get spammed with alerts every time that damned cat went by your back door. Rather, you could set the camera to ignore movement shorter than, say, five seconds, or it could send alerts when a car pulled up and stayed there for an extended amount of time. All sorts of great features for the security-conscious.
Novatel’s Mi-Fi mobile hotspot offered to share a Wi-Fi connection with up to five enabled devices, although it won’t be out for a little while – they’re still looking for an EV-DO carrier to be their outlet. There have been a few Windows Mobile apps that have promised the same kind of internet sharing, but I imagine that a dedicated hub would be less rough on the battery.
Adrenaline showed me some nice and slim stereo Bluetooth headphones that I thought at first were just some Moto Rokr S9s, but it turns out these suckers have a slot for a microSD memory card. That could seriously save on battery life, and even work as a fine standalone MP3 player – taking calls is just the icing on the cake. They’ve also got a portable multi-device charging mat which rolls up conveniently for travel.
Of course the LG booth was mainly awash with the audiovisual breed of technophiles, and I could sense just a hint of grumpiness from the phone guys about the lack of attention. They didn’t have any new phones to show me, but they did say that their European partners would be announcing a watch phone early tomorrow morning, complete with video conferencing capability. Hoo-ah. The bad news is that the press conference starts at 8 AM. Does this mean I have to behave tonight? Damn.
Pictures and more impressions on page 2!