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Tag Archives: CES2009

[CES 2009] BlueAnt Q1 Bluetooth Headset

blueant_q1

By Evan Ackerman

Bluetooth headsets are not generally at the top of my list of interesting things to write about, but since I’m actually in the market for one, I kept my eyes open at CES to see what I could find. I’ve got a hands free speaker thingy for my car, but I really need one for my bike.

The BlueAnt Q1 looks like it might be perfect for talking while biking, since it features a second microphone on the outside which allows for active noise cancellation. When it comes to wind noise, the Q1 is supposed to be able to completely cancel it out at speeds of up to 10 mph… I like to think I’m a more aggressive biker than that, but I imagine that even at higher speeds there’s still a substantial improvement in call quality.

The other nice thing about the Q1 is its voice recognition engine. You can give the headset verbal commands, which it will recognize and respond to with its own voice. Beyond basic voice dialing, you can ask it things like whether or not it has a good Bluetooth connection with your phone or how much battery it has left, and it’ll answer you (video of that here). Clever.

The BlueAnt Q1 should be available at the end of March for about $130; we’re hoping to get a review unit before then and we’ll let you know how well it works.

[ BlueAnt ]

[CES 2009] Familiar Looking Logic Bolt Projector Phone Available In US Next Month

logicbolt1

By Evan Ackerman

Back in September, we wrote about Chinavision’s projector phone. We stumbled across what appeared to be this exact phone on the show floor yesterday, except it was called the Logic Bolt, by a company called Logic Wireless. According to an article at PC Mag, Logic Wireless found “an existing company that made a prototype of the projector-phone. [They] took over the exclusive rights and redesigned all the features of the phone.” I’m not sure what they mean by “features,” but it kinda looks exactly the same as a Chinavision model except with tweaked guts that do include an upgrade to quad band GSM (from tri band) but no other changes that I can easily identify.

logicbolt2

Anyway, here’s the specs: quad band GSM, QVGA (320 x 240) touchscreen, VGA (640 x 480) integrated projector and speaker, 3 mpx camera, 4 gigs storage expandable with microSD, 3 hours talk time and 2 hours projection time, accepts inputs from VGA and RCA sources with included adapter.

logicbolt3

From the sound of things, the current version of the Bolt isn’t exactly a production model, although it will be for sale. A much smaller/better version is in the prototype stage and will be unveiled at CeBit Germany later this year. It may include a physical keyboard and will likely run either Windows Mobile or Android. So, um, yeah, don’t buy one of these anytime soon I guess.

Rumor has it that the phone is going to be available on T-Mobile, and that it’s going to cost $100 (subsidized) or $400-$600 straight up. Or you can (still) get a kinda the same model from Chinavision for $265.50.

Thanks to PC Mag for the additional info

[CES 2009] Data Over Power Lines Makes Networking Painless

powerline_ethernet

By Evan Ackerman

Most people don’t have homes that are wired with ethernet and A/V cables. This sucks if you need to move lots of data (say, streaming high def video) around your house. Yes, all kinds of wireless solutions exist, but they tend to be relatively complicated and slow compared to a physical cable. Luckily, you’ve already got perfectly serviceable wires connecting every room in your house, with electricity running through ‘em. HD-PLC (High Definition Power Line Communication) uses these existing wires and piggybacks high bandwidth data along them, turning every outlet in your home into an ethernet port. Just stick a transmitter into an outlet and plug your router into it, and then plug a receiver into any other outlet in your house and out pops the internet.

HD-PLC is an alliance of a bunch of companies, including Buffalo and Philips, who are working on improving this technology. They have a variety of products either coming to market or on the market, including surge protector routers, wireless network extenders, and even TVs with integrated power line HDMI receivers, which lets the TV access HDMI streams simply by plugging it into a wall socket (which you have to do anyway to turn it on):

hdmi_ethernet

Power line data transmission has a bandwidth of up to 100 megabits, which is easily enough to carry three concurrent 1080p video streams plus internet, all of it encrypted. You can use surge protectors and stuff with this technology, although you have to be careful not to use surge protectors that are too good, or else they’ll cut the power line data bandwidth. As far as prices go, you can find some of this stuff in stores (and on Amazon) now, starting at under $100.

[ HD-PLC ]

[CES 2009] PowerCast Wireless, Contactless Power

powercast-logo

By Evan Ackerman

Last year at CES, PowerCast really seemed to be the future. True wireless power… No pads, no adapters, no contacts, nothing at all. Just power getting sent straight through the air. Wouldn’t that be great? Like many things we saw last year at CES, though, the ultimate potential of this technology has not yet been realized. Powecast is making progress, however, and they were able to demo a few conceptual products to us. I say “conceptual” since although these things are fully functional prototypes, Powercast isn’t going to produce them directly… Rather, they’re looking to license their technology to manufacturers.

wunderlights

These Christmas ornaments are being lit up by a power transmitter plugged into the wall behind them. They stay lit even if you move them a meter or two away from the transmitter. Wunderlights, as they’re called, may possibly be available for Christmas 2009 at $35ish per ornament, or somewhere around $250-$300 for the kit pictured above with a transmitter included.

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The actual “cast” part of Powercast technology, the ranged wireless power, is (sadly) really only practical for ultra low power applications like LEDs and sensors and stuff. For higher power electronics, the receiver needs to be a lot closer to (generally, in contact with) the charging surface. Powercast has put together some concepts for how this might work in the home, including this TV stand and lamp that charge remotes and stuff. Powecast says that using their continuous charging technology, you’ll have to replace the remote itself before you’ll have to change the batteries.

If you absolutely can’t wait to play around with Powecast tech, the only thing they’re actually selling right now is a development kit which contains everything you’ll need to create a Powercast enabled prototype… It’s $2000.

[ PowerCast ]

[CES 2009] Hands-On With The Samsung YP-Q1 Diamond Media Player – Bigger Than I Thought It Would Be

Samsung YP-Q1 Media Player (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Samsung’s YP-Q1 personal media player comes in 4, 18 or 16GB sizes and boasts such features as a Rhythmizer screensaver that syncs to your music, an audio upscaler that restores higher frequencies lost when your music is converted to MP3 or WMA, playback speed control without pitch shifting and a text to speech converter for listening to text-based files. And I have to say, it’s refreshing to see a company not caught up in the whole “let’s make it as small as we can” mentality.

[ Samsung YP-Q1 ]

[CES 2009] Microvision Pico Projector Trumps All With Frikkin’ Lasers

picop1

By Evan Ackerman

At CES last year, we saw a prototype of Microvision’s PicoP miniature laser-based projector. Back then, I was told that the production version would most likely use LEDs, instead. I guess they decided that lasers would just be that much more awesome, because we got a look at the production version of the Microvision PicoP yesterday, and it’s absolutely laserriffic.

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The PicoP uses red, green, and blue lasers to project a WVGA (848 x 480) 16:9 widescreen image with 10 lumens of brightness and a contrast ratio of better than 5,000 to 1. It was adequately bright under ambient show floor lightning, and substantially brighter than any of the other micro projectors we’ve seen this week. In a dark room it projects a tolerable image up to a staggering 100 inches, but the best part is that since it uses lasers, it’s always inherently in focus. This is an important feature, since the whole point of a micro projector is that you can whip it out and use it anywhere.

The PicoP uses an integrated battery that gives is approximately 2 hours per charge. There’s a proprietary input jack that will accept (through included adapters) composite video or VGA inputs. Look for it in Q2 of this year for about $500.

[ Microvision PicoP ]

[CES 2009] WildCharge Charge Pad May Now Be Practical For Some Gadgets

wildcharge-custom

By Evan Ackerman

When we talked about WildCharge last year, I commented that the practicality of WildCharge was questionable due to the lack of consumer devices directly incorporating the technology. And that’s kinda still true, unfortunately, with only a few exceptions. But WildCharge is tackling this problem head on by releasing a line of plug-in accessories designed to help your gadgets charge with surface induction technology as gracefully as possible.

Unlike eCoupled and Powermat, WildCharge uses electrical contacts to (safely) charge things through a physical connection, but without cables. All you have to do is set your WildCharge enabled gadget down on the pad, and it charges. So, WildCharge has come out with swap-in battery packs for some phones, with contacts on the outside that interface with the pad:

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WildCharge also has solutions for cellphones, called the universal adapter. It plugs into the USB jack on the side of most cellphones, and connects to a charging pad underneath the phone, allowing for contact charging. It’s about $45, including one USB tip and one pad.

For everything else, you can get a dongle that connects via USB (mini) and has a little pad attached. It’s about $25, but since you have to plug it IN to your gadget to get it to work, it doesn’t seem that much easier than using the cord that came with your gadget in the first place.

wildcharge2

And, if you have an iPhone, WildCharge is coming out with a case on Feb 15 that includes contacts on the back and an integrated dock connector. It’ll cost $35.

The actual charging pad itself, btw, is $50ish and available at Best Buy, Target, and places like that. Oh, and they also have a 90w laptop power pad in the works, with modified batteries with contacts designed to work with some major brands of laptops.

[ WildCharge ]

[CES 2009] E-Cig Makes Smoking Good For You

ecig1

[Editor's Note: despite the claims in this article, OhGizmo does not condone smoking of any kind. As a matter of fact, we'd like to poll our audience on their knowledge of whether nicotine alone can be a health hazard or not. We're skeptical.]

By Evan Ackerman

This just in: smoking is good for you! E-Cig is an electronic cigarette that is able to duplicate the look, and in some cases the feel, of smoking. There’s a LED on the end, and a USB rechargeable vaporizer in the body. The bit where the filter would be is a disposable cartridge containing differing amounts of nicotine (if you’re trying to quit), or all kinds of other stuff like caffeine, flavorings, or even vitamins. The vaporizer turns the flavoring or whatever into steam when you inhale, and when you exhale it looks just like smoke.

The body is USB rechargeable, and will power through one and a half cartridges. Each cartridge is the equivalent of about a pack of regular cigarettes, and costs $5. The entire kit (including a pack of 4 cartridges) runs somewhere between $80 and $100.

[ E-Cig ]

[CES 2009] Miniwiz Solarbulb Bottle Lamp

miniwiz

By Evan Ackerman

The Miniwiz Solarbulb is a little accessory for people who may not have the luxury of owning a lamp. It charges up in the sun, and after 5-6 hours, it’s good for 3-4 nights (I think it’s nights, seems like it might be hours, there was a bit of a language barrier) of white LED light. Then you screw the Miniwiz onto the top a bottle (it’s got threads on the inside) and there you go, insta-lamp. It’s going to cost about $24, available in February.

The bottles in this picture, incidentally, are hexagonal and can be filled with stuff (or not) and used as bricks. They also pack, store, and ship much more efficiently since they interlock and there’s no wasted space. Brilliant idea, still looking for a manufacturer.

[ Miniwiz ]