The Mirage convention center was quite the gadgety place to be last night, and sorry about not having good pix from the event, but I had some issues with my camera just before. Oh well, I swing back later and post more shots on the cool stuff I saw there, but wanted to get some word out on some of the cutting-edge stuff now.
The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 player (and the big reason I went) was being demoed last night. I'm working on a streaming audio article, and wanted to demo the S5 before CES (too little time), but got a close up and personal demo with Thomas Myer last night. I had previously interviewed Tom Cullen (Sonos President) via telephoe before the event, so had pretty good background on the device. Sonos is re-defining the way one thinks about experiencing music throughout the home with their unique and award-winning networked music players. The S5 is a streaming player that gives you access to both your local music collection or your favorite music on-line as well. The secret is not only in the hardware itself, but the software as well. Sonos systems engineering and expertise is behind some of the technology that drives the Internet, so not surprising that they have developed their own low-level network comms to move your music anywhere in your house without latency.
The system can be controlled with their free iPhone/iPod touch app (Sonos Controller for iPhone). The technology is pretty amazing. It not only brings your music collection together (say from that old PC in the basement), but also gives you access to Pandora, Last.FM and other internet radio resources as well. The iPhone/touch app allows you to search for an artist, or song title, and then directs the player to the source, saving you the trouble of logging seperately into a bunch of different services, etc. You don't have to manage playlists from multiple sources at different computers, etc., but simply set up your player zones (exaple: different rooms in your house) and Sonos does the rest. I asked Thomas to pull up my favorite song (Pride and Joy, by Stevie Ray Vaughn), and the software located several versions, and in no time I was hearing the live version from El Mocambo (found on napster). The noise from the crowd was a little high to get a good listening demo, but what I could hear sounded awesome. I can't wait to get a demo unit in the near future.
Some other great technology that I will mention here quickly, and swing back for more in-depth reporting when I get back to their booths:
1. Sanyo- Debuted a new HD digital hand camcorder (and a bike obviously) just announced about an hour before the demo. Called the VPC-SH1, the camera will shoot at full 1080p, 10 mpxl stills and supports Apple I-Frame.
It shoots mpeg 4, H-264 and the 30X optical zoom on the camera was nothing short of amazing (I was able to zoom in on stuff clearly across the entire conference floor). I could control the camera pretty easily with one hand, and the menu and controls were very well-designed ($399, now available on Amazon). I also got a short demo of Sanyo's new Eneloop bike. Basically a battery-powered bike that regenerates itself while braking or coasting (that I got a shot of at least).
2. D-Link/Intamac- D-link and Intamac have teamed up to create a low-cost home security product suite (only $149, and can be easily self-installed). The system will also include an iPhone app and monitoring back-end from Intamac called "My D-Link". The technology built on top of D-Link's excellent wireless capabilities, allows you to monitor home network cameras, motion sensors and the like. The software will also allow you to receive event-driven push alerts via SMS, twitter, etc.
3. Windows Phone- Stopped by the Windows Phone table, and got a good look at the HTC HD2. Not that there is much edge-of-your-seat news stuff going on with MS right now, but the the demo of the HD2 was inspiring none-the-less (at least for us WinMo geeks). I'm hoping I can get a demo unit to eval myself. Stay tuned to our blogs for more great CES coverage in the days ahead...