CES 2006: Day 2 Products

It’s already day 3, but we wanted to give you a rundown on all of the interesting products we saw and announcements we heard. This is a monster of an article that touches on a lot of different vendors, so grab some coffee and get comfortable. In the days and weeks to come, we’ll go into depth on more of these products.

Kensington, a computer accessory manufacturer, had lots of interesting products to talk about including their universal notebook adapter which weigh less than 1lb and come with tips for most modern laptops. While the 120W retails for around $120, and you could probably purchase a custom adapter for your computer for less, you are getting a lighter power brick with the ability to power many devices. Kensington also showed off a number of iPod accessories. The SX200 speakers for iPod ($160) is a distinctive looking item, with just one large speaker sitting next to a dock for your iPod. The iPod Digital FM transmitter ($80) allows you to play your iPod over your radio while charging it as well (plugs into your cigarette lighter). It uses patented Aerielle wireless technology which they claim provides decent audio fidelity. Yet another iPod accessory is the Stereo Dock for iPod which simultaneously charges the iPod as it transmits iPod tunes through your stereo system; it comes with an infrared remote control that works from up to 30 feet away.

Kensington also has two unreleased products scheduled for later this year including a FM Transmitter that will fit a Nano called a Pico FM Transmitter and a line of laptop bags called the Contour line. The Pico, which will probably be announced at next week’s MacWorld, will be available in black or white and esthetically match the Nano nicely. The Pico FM Transmitter should be available somtime in January for around $59. Finally, the Contour line will feature four different styles including the Cargo, Balance, Terrain and Traveler and will be ACA (American Chiropractic Association) approved. These bags will not be available until “Back to School” time.

Logitech just announced the Logitech® Cordless Desktop® S 530 Laser for Mac, a cordless keyboard-and-mouse combination. The style is designed to match the Mac and is a good addition for products such as the Mac® mini, which isn´t sold with a mouse or keyboard. It will be available in February in the U.S. for a suggested retail price of $99.99. Also hot were the G15 gaming keyboard ($80) which has 18 programmable macro keys, and the G5 and G7 precision gaming optical mice. The G7 ($100) has 3 sensitivity levels: 400, 800 and 2000 dpi, and has a large 30-pixel by 30-pixel sensor array . The G5 ($70) also has 2000 dpi performance and also allows you to adjust the weight and balance by adding/removing weight from the body (up to 36g).

Logitech also released the latest in the successful Harmony remote line called the Harmony 890 Pro Advanced Universal Remote, an honoree in the Home Entertainment category. This latest remote uses both radio frequency and infrared wireless signals to deliver powerful and complete control of multi-zone home-entertainment systems and the most advanced home-theater setups. With RF, no line of sight is needed to control sophisticated home-entertainment systems with equipment in multiple rooms or hidden behind closed doors. The remote includes support for Z-Wave wireless technology standard, used by manufacturers of advanced lighting, climate control, and security systems.

Jabra introduced their newest bluetooth cell phone headset, the JX10 ($130), which is super lightweight at less than 1/3oz. I picked up this particular headset and was amazed at how light it was – you can easily forget you’re wearing this. It comes with a charging cradle and has up to 6 hours talk time and up to 200 hours standby.

Sonos just announced a new product at the show: the ZonePlayer ZP80. Pushed on by customer demand, the ZP80 is a smaller version of their original product, but does not have an amplifier. This means you get to have Sonos capabilities in streaming your music around your home to locations that already have an amplifier. The ZP80 lists for $349 and will ship in Spring 2006. Sonos also recently release the latest version of their firmware (v1.3). It now includes the ability to play Apple lossless format as well as audible.com’s format.

Polk Audio continues to push the world’s first ip-addressable audio speakers, the LC265i-IP and the LC80i-IP. in conjunction with the NetStreams DigiLinX home distribution system, you can “find” the speaker set on the network and deliver uncompressed, full-fidelity digital audio signals from any source on the network. NetStreams’ DigiLinX is comprised of IP-based audio products networked to distribute audio and control signals over an Ethernet or wireless network, using TCP/IP. We’ll post some pictures later on in the week. Polk was also displaying the iSonic, all-in-one entertainment system which looked quite similar to the Bose WaveRadio. The I-Sonic has a slew of features: DVD/CD player, HD Radio technology, XM Satellite ready, 2 aux inputs for iPod and PC, clock radio and wireless remote.

D-link continues to have strong sales on their GamerLounge router, the first router made for gamers. The router provides 100GB links and prioritizes packets to combat latency while gaming. Since the product was released at CES 2005, there have been five firmware upgrades this past year updating the various gaming setup wizards on the web setup interface. The GamerLounge router retails and is in stores now for $135. Kyocera and D-link partnered to create a HotSpot Router called the KR1.

SecureSpot Internet Security Device, MediaLounge Server, and a Skype Terminal Adapter were announced at CES 2006 by D-link. The SecureSpot won a “Best of CES” award and helps residential users perform defense in depth or layed security levels. A device is placed at the perimeter and thin clients are installed on the various machines inside the network. Subscription based, the solution costs $100 for the first year and $80 for additional years for up to four clients. Additional clients are $20/year. “It removes the need for consumers to purchase multiple licenses and integrate confusing varieties of PC-based standalone security products like firewalls, anti-virus software, pop-up killers, activity reporting, content-filtering and anti-spam programs.” Currently the firewall is not stateful, but neither are most consumer grade firewalls.

Nvidia had quite a few new products and technologies to show off including the Dell XPS with the 4GPU, Quad SLI running at 2560×1600 which everyone has already covered. In addition, announced a day before the CES 2006 show, the first HD DVD Laptop from Toshiba using Nvidia’s GeForce GO 7600 was on display. Finally, the GoForce 4000 video processor for mobile devices was being demoed. With full video playback costing only 35mwatts of power, Nvidia’s technology consumes only 20% of the power of current video processing in mobile devices.

Showcasing several new projectors and a new technology, Benq had some interesting products including a concept BenQ SPA Projector that will “not only refresh your eyes but your mind” with an aromatherapy feature. The new technology is called Twin View allowing you to use two inputs on a wide screen and they are displayed next to each other! Most of their mobile series now allow you to wirelessly connect to the projector and the BenQ PE8720 projector with native 720p and 10,000:1 contrast. Billed as a true home cinema project, the projector was demoed in a makeshift theater. Hopefully, the projector was not setup correctly because at $7999 the picture was very dark and even grainy. Here’s a free tip from the Geeks… wait a couple of months if you want to purchase this projector as it will drop under $5000.

Into the whole home audio, and now video, market… Channel Vision has released a connection for iPods to their ABUS system called the iBus. By the end of the first quarter a similar system will be released not using ABUS but allows you to hook up your video iPod as a source. In the Aria line, a 6×4 HD whole home video system was shown with promises of a new product soon with the channel splitter and amplifier in one box. For only $2500 you can have a 6 room solution for distributed audio and video with 4 sources.

To some power can be boring, but APC really have some exciting new home-centric products for the home theater including the high end S15 that retails for $1499 and has 12 inputs and tuned filters for those inputs. The device can pull 30a even though it’s made for 15a and is designed to overload and not shutdown. For the retail buyers, the H10 and H15 series are power conditioners for $299 and $399 respectively. The switched rack PDU with built-in web support is really quite nice for remote “rebooting” of devices such as that darn Linksys wireless switch that keeps freezing. Finally, the HS500 for around $199 is made for structured wiring in residential homes and includes the built-in web feature as well.

Today, the HAI OmniTouch with video was in the booth. With support for six remote cameras, you can now check the cameras from your OmniTouches. It will cost around $1700 to add on to an OmniPro 2 or 2e through as an $800 video hub and encoder is required in addition to the $900 OmniTouch Video. Also, instead of using 4 wires like the other OmniTouches, 8 wires are required.

Last but not least, Google announced the Google Pack, which quite simply a collection of free software produced by Google and others (like Mozilla, Norton, Lavasoft and Adobe) that enhances your productivity, secures your computing experience. Although these types of free software bundles have been distributed for many years, perhaps getting pushed by Google will mean even more market share for the vendors and products.

Bigger still was Google’s announcement of a Video Marketplace, the first open video marketplace enabling consumers to buy and rent a wide range of video content from a major television network, a professional sports league, cable programmers, independent producers and film makers. There are already numerous titles available now with more being added every day. Additionally, content from Google Video can be viewed with a new player that can be downloaded for free from any playback page

Although we Geeks are familiar with most of Google’s current services to date, they handed out a little booklet that covered all of their services, and there were a few in there that were new to us. RideFinder is a Google Maps mod that lets you find taxi and shuttle locations in major US cities. It currently does not contain a thorough listing of companies, but I imagine that will expand in future. Check out the listing for New York City. The Google Web Accelerator is an application for your PC with IE or Firefox that speeds up your web surfing. Lastly, Google Music Search lets you quickly where you can buy or download music with quick links to online music stores like iTunes and Real Rhapsody.

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