Not all wireless speakers are created equal. You can turn up several of the mid and low-end models, and the sound is good, but they won't match a quality stereo receiver system with a preamp. Enter MTX with their Street Audio line of wireless (and wired) speaker technology. I was able to test out their "coming soon" line of new IT1 docks at CES. Wow is all I can say, even with the CES ambient show noise, these speakers cut right through everything with sparklingly clear tones, and rich depth. 6 internal speakers powered at a whopping 180 watts (RMS) with side-firing woofers will do that. The dock retails for $599, and the air wireless model for $799, which might seem a bit on the high side for a wireless speaker product, but well, the iT's are for serious audioheads! Oh yeah, they had some cool headphones too...
At CES 2013, at the Imagination Technologies suite last week, I had a meetup and demo session with the pioneering wizards behind the processing technology that drives system on chip (SoC) graphics encoding and rendering in many mobile devices (including iOS). You already know how amazing the iPhone/iPad graphics experience is, of course. If you want to get a glimpse of the next generation Smart TV, graphics and home automation processing power Imagination has coming, then you want to read this...
The GoSmart stylus (see my review here) is my most used accessory. I have tried a ton of stylus products, and they are all pretty effective in some fashion, but GoSmart is a cut above most products, in my opinion. It's not just the weight, feel or construction of it, all of which are superb. It is also the ingenious wire-frame tip that make it the right tool for intricate drawing tasks. I had a few minutes at CES to sit down with Dr. Jae Son, the inventor of the elegant GoSmart to find out how he came up with this amazingly great product!
They don't "rock" in the sense of playing music, though you could certainly use one to extend your rocking out time. No, they rock in the sense that some of their products feature a name that includes some geological term (like crystal, stone, etc.). These chargers do not resemble "rocks" at all, so not sure where they came up with that name, but likely some clever PR person decided it would be catchy. Anyway, they were showing every flavor of their "rocks" at CES, and all pack a lot of charge into a compact package. The mushroom looking gadgets in the image above are car chargers (called the "Flashroom") featuring dual output, USB-capable car charging of up to two+ amps. Oh yeah, they also look cute..
Targus is well known for keyboards, cases, and the odd computing accessory. They usually offer inexpensive options that are functional, in my opinion, and I have used several of their products over the years, some better than others. At Digital Experince this year, they were showing off at least 2 compelling products you might want to check out (one now available and one to be released by Q2 2013); A touch pen for Windows 8 non-touch computers, and a note-taking accessory for iPad. One worked rather well, and the other not so much. I'll let you guess which one...
FinderCodes is an electronic lost/found exchange (see my review here) that helps you get back your lost gear. A 2013 CES award winner, you use the service to mark and register your stuff in the cloud (with tags) so that should someone find it, they can scan the QR code on the tag and easily and privately return your stuff (and collect a reward you offer). The cloud system tracks and alerts you as well. I met with Blake Sohn, the founder of FC at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, NV, and he discussed the latest partnership with FedEx (also giving me a quick demo of the new return features), and what is next on the horizon for this up and coming mobile service brand.
How many times have you wished you could control your phone right through the case, instead of eating up screen real-estate with your fingers? The Canopy Sensus is a a prototype touch-sensitive case product that should be released some time later this year, and you can see it in action at the LVH iLounge Pavilion at CES. The back of the case (as well as the sides) function as a grid of touch input points. There are several apps already prepared to work with it (an SDK is available). Like a lot of app-cessories that need a catalog of apps, the Sensus will only go as far as the app community that supports it, but there are other reasons to cheer for it.
iHome had great products on display this year at CES. Too many to cover in one shot really, but will do my level best to round up the ones that shine. Many won't be released until later this year (some maybe not at all). I skipped most of the AirPlay capable models, as we have covered several on our blogs already. They were showing a new wireless speaker that is basically the iW3 (see my review here), but with Bluetooth, which is the better option in my opinion, unless you really must rely on AirPlay. Another interesting product is a speaker accessory that turns any analog audio player into a bluetooth-capable stereo, and an on-ear BT headphone that folds up and fits in your pocket (almost). Much more iHome CES gear coverage follows...
Over in the Las Vegas Hotel (right next to North Hall), the CES iLounge Pavilion continues full of great accessory gear for the intrepid wanderer! I'll be posting up a full review on the iXY from RØDE after the show, but the high points include: stereo dynamic mic input wrapped in a superb hardware package, and with a recording/sampling ability and impressive range of editing and sharing options. Serious journalism types, podcasters, and musicians that want to capture high-quality audio with nothing more than iPhone (and the iXY) should give this product a serious look!
I'll do a full post up on the Mobile App Showdown later, but wanted to get the word out that MyScript Calculator, an awesomely cool scratchpad-like calculation app (with handwriting recognition and the ability to solve equations) ran away with the MAS this year at CES. The app garnered oohs and aahs during the 4-minute pitch, and the applause-o-meter went off the chart as the crowd went wild for it at the end. If you grab one app this year, make it this seriously cool, award winning calculation app (currently FREE)!