As a short term owner of the Kodak Zi6 HD video camera ($180), I was interested in taking a gander at Kodak’s new Zx1 ($150) last night… which may or may not be an upgrade. Like its predecessor, the updated cam features 720p video recording onto SD cards. However, the new “weather resistant” model is sleeker and more compact, featuring comfortable rubberized side grips. And instead of providing component out for television playback, the Zx1 is bundled with an HDMI cable. A feature that doesn’t really do much for me personally. The reason I question if this is a true upgrade, is because the Zx1 drops two very useful features from the Zi6. The flip out USB connector has been replaced with a traditional USB cable, adding to the clutter. More troublesome, given the sorts of things I film, is the removal of a macro recording mode. So, while the price is right, the feature set won’t meet my needs. For slightly better pics, hit Engadget’s coverage.
Archives For Gadgets
There are a ton of companies showing off wireless power solutions this year, with PowerMat possibly getting the most hype. While I haven’t run into the PowerMat folks yet, I did stop by the Fulton Innovation and Leggett & Platt booths at Digital Experience last night. Fulton is behind something called eCoupled technology. The technology uses inductive coupling to power devices by surface-to-surface touch. The catch? The devices have to have the right outer surface to power up on eCoupled-enabled charging products. While some of the big manufacturers are getting on board, don’t expect all of the gadgets in your gadget bag to charge wirelessly any time soon. My guess is that a decent after-market business will spring up (it exists in early form already) letting you add surface skins that support eCoupled charging.
In the meantime, companies like Leggett & Platt are creating cool new products at the front wave of the wireless power trend. Check out pics of the car console above and below. The company sees a construction application for the car hardware, letting workers charge their tools between site jobs. Huh. I have to admit, that’s not the first application I thought of. I want wireless power for my laptop, camera, Flip, Zoom, Slacker, phone, etc., etc., etc.
Also in the gallery below – an eCoupled-enabled wooden tray. Tray chic.
Pepcom’s Digital Experience is like a small, tame version of the full CES, and yet it’s still overwhelming. My strategy this year was to hone in on a couple of companies and see what I could learn. First stop: GiiNii.
I targeted GiiNii because of the company’s new Wi-Fi photo frame. My experience with eStarling’s early wireless frame was ill-fated. It refused to work any farther than five feet from a router, the screen was smaall, and the troubleshooting process was less than satisfying. GiiNii and several other companies this year are looking to take Wi-Fi frames to the next level. The GiiNii product I saw at Digital Experience, part of the new Pixplus line due out in mid-2009, sported a large 10.1″ display with touch panel at the bottom, and offered up RSS content in addition to photos. This may be the future of the widget station. Buy an Internet-connected device to show off photos, and use it secondarily as a display for other non-TV, Internet content. The GiiNii frame shows streams of content from FrameChannel.com and HowStuffWorks.com – from weather, to sports scores, to stocks, and more.
Meanwhile, the PixPlus digital frames weren’t even the highlight of GiiNii’s portfolio. The company had an iPod Touch knock-off called the Movit Mini with a 4.3″ touch screen. Engadget dug it and its apparent Android platform. I imagine we’ll see several variations of this theme at cheaper-than-iPod prices in the coming year.
Plus, GiiNii had a patent-pending add-on for cameras letting amateur photographers set up reasonable self-portraits. This is one of those innovations that seems beyond obvious when you see it. The picture below shows how the camera reflects the photo it is taking for the objects of the picture to view. Wonder what your picture will look like before it snaps? GiiNii can help you out with C-U-C-Me technology.
I had never heard of GiiNii before this evening, but I’ll be keeping an eye on them. The company has an impressive line-up… if it can survive the economic woes of the CE market in 2009.
Following Dave by about 24 hours, I arrived in Vegas this afternoon after losing one connecting flight to a cancellation and then boarding another earlier flight in Phoenix for the final leg of the trip. Miraculously my checked luggage even made the transfer successfully, and now I’m here in time to see the hottest porn stars, er, gadgets on the strip. (Like days of old, the Adult Entertainment Expo is riding the coattails of CES.)
Even though it was up in the air whether all of my clothes would make it with me, I, of course, kept all of my gadgets close at hand throughout the travel experience. Pictured below are my new Asus Eee and Slacker G2. Both were perfect for the flight. The Asus maintained a charge most of the way and fit nicely on my tray table. Unlike Dave’s experience with the MSI Wind, I’m finding that my ever-so-dainty fingers do quite well with a netbook. And the Slacker kept me entertained with new tunes and plenty of charge to spare. Also in my bag on this trip are my trusty Sony Cybershot digital camera, the Flip Ultra, and my Zoom audio recorder – all veterans from last year’s show.
Tonight it’s off to get my badge holder and then to Digital Experience, which hopefully will be a step above last night’s Unveiled event. More to come.
Following in the footsteps of my fellow geek bloggers (Gotta Be Mobile, Lilliputing, jkOnTheRun, etc) and marketing peeps (Stage Two Consulting), it’s time for a quick post on the gear I’m toting to cover CES.
While I’ve seen more netbooks than I can count here in the press and blogger lounges, I found the vertical resolution of my (former) 10″ MSI Wind too cramped for efficient blogging. And last years 15″ CES laptop (MacBook Pro) was a bit too bulky. So, I’m packing the new 13″ Macbook (running OS X and Vista Ultimate) in the nicely designed and relatively compact be.ez LAbesace shoulder bag. Of course, I’m also toting a phone – and fully anticipate exceeding my voice minutes and SMS allotment while in Vegas. Additionally, the iPhone allows me to “tweet” efficiently. Although the low-res camera and frequent poor lighting don’t make for the best pics. My trusty pocketable Panasonic Lumix digital still camera does a better job. In fact, it’s my third CES with this very same unit. For Internet connectivity, Kevin Tofel had loaned me an AT&T 3G card he has for review… However, I wasn’t having very good luck with it and am now dependent on the show-provided net access. Wish me luck.
In the non-tech category, I’m carrying a variety of pain-killing medications, ear plugs which allow me to blog in any environment, a few snack bars, and a box of business cards for the obsolete exchange ritual we all continue to support. At every available opportunity, I’ll also help myself to free bottles of water. And as you can see from the pic, my shoes may be casual but they are surely sensible for covering ground across two convention centers. Purell and Chapstick wouldn’t be bad additions, though I don’t currently possess either.
Leaving comments across the blogosphere…
Technology Predictions for 2009
TeleNav is already an excellent application on many handset platforms and carriers. For a more “dedicated” experience, I have a feeling the continually delayed Garmin Nuvifone will be too little, too late, and too buggy. So I’m going on the record and stating Apple will either introduce a new iPhone GPS, or more likely, will offer true GPS turn-by-turn software/directions to iPhone 3G customers. For a fee. (And may continue to lock out third parties, though we’ll see…)
GeekTonic Media Gadget Predictions for 2009
One one hand, I can see BeyondTV going away. But I wonder if the enterprise solution can sustain them. If not, what else does Rakesh have cooking? He’s one sharp dude and he knows how to network. But the broader economic conditions suck. Maybe he’ll surprise you with BTV5 instead.
TV Networks won’t abandon local broadcasts. The national companies and local broadcasters have different, and sometimes conflicting, business models. It’s kinda analogous to car manufacturers and dealerships.
If I hadn’t been stuck on the road this week, I would have done a 2008 wrap up. Oh well! As far as predictions, I generally try to stay away from that. Though I have no problem disagreeing with others. I’m still hoping for an Apple digital camera – if not, how about an iPhone HD with (higher resolution) picture and video capabilities.
Video Innovations We’d Love to See at Macworld Expo
There’s no “check mate” unless an AppleTV tuner handles digital cable. It’d certainly be more compelling than the current ATV, but it’s not going to replace a cable- or satellite-capable set-top box. Which is where most of us get our television programming these days.
TiVo Desktop Has Serious Bugs
Yeah, TiVo Desktop is a bastard child. I paid my money but never use it. Maybe we’ll hear of some updates in Vegas this week, but who knows. Although I’d like to see ALL of the ‘web video’ stuff handled in ‘the cloud’, if not natively on the box. Regarding ‘business deals’, I don’t think there are any. I think it’s just cross-promotional handshake agreements.
Switch to Windows Home Server in 2009?
I agree the new HP Windows Home Server units are compelling. But I’m waiting until after CES (and Macworld)… Bet Drobo intros something new and who knows what Apple’s cooking up.