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)!
We have a bunch of folks at CES, so I don't want to steal too much thunder, because I know they are probably covering many of these vendors as well, but there were some early standout case products to slobber over. First up, if your want to drag your phone around in aircraft-grade aluminum, Rokform has a CES award-winning line of alloy-encasing products that jump out at you like Arnold in the Terminator! Seidio had an actual aquarium set up (complete with submerged devices, but sans fish) to show off their new waterproof Obex cases, and of course, they had to show off by streaming to a BT speaker on the outside of the tank. Last, the mophie OUTRIDE case proves that surfers need iPhone's connected to their boards to monitor for sharks (totally made that up). What is true though, is that mophie even developed an Instagram-like free app to help you find the best waves, and catalog your best ride (or "run", or whatever you surfer types call riding a wave)!
One of the big tech showcase press events during the CES week of madness is Digital Experience, held at the MGM Grand Convention Center. A veritable cornucopia of vendors all crammed together--a mini version of CES, but with catering. Figured least I could do would be to post up a sample on some of the great stuff in this space. The theme this year was that of a "tailgate party", as in a party out in the parking lot of a college football game, but with vendors being swarmed by press, and the noise level cranking up to a steady drone, there was not much football interest being exhibited. Uh, anyway, let's go straight to the gear...