FEATURE: THE BEST OF CES '09: Part 2
CES is routinely about big toys and gadgets, but sometimes there are some gems and interesting little products that are hidden behind all the gigantic TVs and computers. Here are some of the interesting tidbits we stumbled on at this year's show.
One of the coolest things I saw at CES were these Road Mice from Four Door Media. Sure, they’re not the most complicated thing going, and the lads made fun of me for being so taken with them, but a lot of the time simplicity is everything and just about everyone uses a mouse. We saw this while we were walking from booth to booth and I just had to go back and see if I could snag one for “review.” Unfortunately there was quite the crowd and turning on the charm didn’t really work, but we did manage to get a promo code to get a 20 percent discount. FYI, the LED headlights really pushed me over the edge.
9. Pump action electrocution shotgun
Taser International was at last year’s CES and I missed them, so this year, I decided I’d spare five minutes to check out the booth. I was not disappointed. The company’s VP was showing off a Mossberg LLS (Less Lethal Shotgun). A 12-gauge pump-action shotgun that fires off wireless rounds that go up to 3 times farther than your regular Taser. It’s available for law enforcement in the spring.
8. BlackBerry Storm, not an iPhone but still a BlackBerry
The BlackBerry Storm is not new, and I’ve always been a fan, but being tied to my provider means I can’t get one til June, which makes it more of a love/hate relationship. Up until now, I’d managed to avoid it when browsing the shops, but I couldn’t get around it at CES. Seeing it in the flesh was the icing on the cake. I also got a pretty nifty BlackBerry Pearl shaped fridge magnet/picture frame for my troubles but I guess that’s beside the point.
7. Palm Pre shocks the industry; Palm is back in the race
The Palm Pre is defintiely new and it’s very cool. It’s slick and it might actually be what Palm needs to push the boat out and set sail for iPhone territory, which is a long bumpy journey. It’s slightly curved shape and slide down QWERTY keyboard makes it look super slick and Palm’s brand new UI is something we’re really eager to try. I want one.
6. Tom Hanks talks at CES
Tom Hanks. Okay, so he’s not a tech product (or is he?) but seeing Hanks was probably one of the highlights of CES for me. Vegas is full of famous people, Dublin, not so much. He also spiced up the Stringer keynote and made all of us lowly press folk giggle at 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Not an easy task. Here’s a gratuitous picture of Tom, just because we can.
5. USB keys are what you need to be cool
We got a whole bunch of free USB sticks at CES. Companies were handing them out like candy. You ask for a press kit, they hand you a USB stick. It was too easy. There was also a bucket of USBs in the press room, so we could pass documents and pictures between ourselves without having to email huge files. More on the CES swag soon (we’re doing a full article so we can drop hints for next year), but the USBs were a big hit with us.
4. 3D Pixar movies on demonstration
3D movies from Pixar. This is something that we couldn’t leave out. At Stringer’s press conference he talked a huge amount about innovation and the future of technology. One of the things he talked up the most was 3D film. We saw clips from Cars in 3D and we gotta say, the future of films, looks great.
3. slotRadio makes attempt at the mainstream
slotRadio was something that Sansa had on show at their booth. The company announced slotMusic a while back and we weren’t that keen on the idea. It was a lame replacement for CDs. Then we saw the cute little player to go along with it and it sort of changed out minds. Sure, we’re still not that nuts about the concept, but the player itself is pretty nifty and it was enough to convince us the idea might not be so crazy after all.
These would be great for when you’re on holidays or going somewhere you don’t want to risk bringing your 16 GB iPod like to a festival or the beach. Something cheap, quick and easy that you don’t really have to worry about losing.
2. Swiss Army knives cut open anything
Victorinox Presentation Pro. Everyone loves Swiss Army Knives. There’s something cool about having all those handy doodads on your keyring and they’re a must have for camping and the great outdoors. The next big thing from Victorinox is a must have for the office: the Presentation Pro. It comes with some of the most important extensions of the Original Swiss Army Knife as well as a Bluetooth Remote, a USB with fingerprint ID to protect your data and a laser pointer. Definitely one of the cooler things we saw at CES.
1. MSI's hybrid netbook
MSI launched its Hybrid netbook a couple of weeks back, at the end of December. The company had it on display at the show and we got to put our sticky fingerprints all over it. From the outside, it looks just like any other Wind netbook, but we know that inside, there's something special. The U115 model contains both an SSD and a regular spinning hard disk drive. This means that the OS and other system files can sit on the SSD where speed and access are critical, while media files and other storage can reside on the traditional, cheaper HDD. The HDD can be shut off too to save on power and avoid possible damage from bumps. A great design for an affordable, travelling computer.