Wednesday, December 6, 2023

CES 2009: Thin and Trim is ‘In’

In spite of economic slowdown, the Consumer Electronics Show—held at Las Vegas from 8th to 11th January—attracted a large number of new exhibitors and products. Here is a brief report from EFY’s editor who has been visiting CES regularly since 2007 -- Ramesh Chopra

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Neutrano’s WristFone launched at CES has a phone, a music player and a camera inside a sleek wristwatch. The multifunction digital watch has 3-hand analogue dial with date ‘screen saver’ which conceals the phone, music and camera functions. Watch features include programmable alarms and to-do lists. WristFone will be available in white, black, brown, blue and pink for $250 to $300.

Logic Wireless unveiled the world’s first cell phone with a projector built in. It plays two-hour movie besides the usual business applications which can be shown on a wall or screen. Other features include touch screen, 3-megapixel camera, GSM quad band, Bluetooth, GPS, Internet, PowerPoint, Excel and Word. It connects with laptop USB, TV, Xbox and Wii. At present, the phone is compatible with GSM carriers such as T-mobile and AT&T but would soon be made compatible with other network carriers as well.

Powermat for wireless charging
Powermat for wireless charging

Other surprises
Powermat unveiled revolutionary wireless-energy products capable of charging portable electronic devices including iPods, iPhones, cell phones, GPS, handheld games and even laptop computers. You just plug in the Powermat and place up to six (depending on the model) Powermat-enabled devices on the mat for charging. Based on the principle of magnetic induction, Powermats will be available in stores in 2009.

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Tonium introduced ‘Pacemaker’—a pocket-size DJ system. The music system incorporates a mixer and all the features you need to deejay anywhere, anytime. Its two independent audio channels let you play two tracks side by side so you can do your creative work with them. Pacemaker has all the functionality of a professional DJ set-up including playback controls, cue controls, audio effects, equaliser and volume control. It supports more audio formats than most other portable music players and has a 60GB hard disk drive.

Tri-Specs Inc. unveiled designer sunglasses which incorporate wire-less stereo headphones and Bluetooth headset functionality. So you can listen to high-quality stereo music streamed wirelessly from a phone or MP3 player while wearing these shades. If a call is received while listening to music, the music is paused and you hear the ring-tone. There are many more features for your convenience. These sunglasses can even be fitted with prescription lenses.

Epson launched a truly home cinema system with the option of two projectors (720p and 1080p). It includes a 2.54m (100-inch) electrically operated screen with integrated LCR speakers, AV controller with built-in DVD and HDMI outputs, LCD remote control and 25.4cm (10-inch) subwoofer with 5.1 channels of amplification. It takes only four hours to install. The screen can be mounted over a bookshelf or a painting, if a plain wall is not available, as it disappears at the push of a button. The surround-sound speakers are discreetly hidden in the projector’s integrated speaker cradle while all the front-channel speakers are hidden within the screen’s motorised system.

Panasonic Neo PDP Eco plasma display
Panasonic Neo PDP Eco plasma display

Panasonic unveiled its 8.5mm (one-third-of-an-inch) thin energy-efficient Neo PDP Eco Plasma TV. Besides being the world’s slimmest, the 127cm (50-inch) set is also the most energy-efficient TV. Neo PDP technology allows the plasma sets to achieve the same brightness as the 2007 models while using one-third of the energy, or to achieve three times the brightness using the same amount of energy. Neo LCD technology cuts the energy requirement of LCD TVs to half as compared to the previous 2008 models.

CES2009 got a “good response in spite of difficult times for world economy,” says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the USA-based Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). CEA estimates that over 110,000 visitors attended CES this year as against 141,150 in the previous year. Realising that quality is more important than quantity, CEA has started levying a US$100 pre-registration fee for show attendance, which it is likely to continue in the future as well to limit the number of visitors. This year there were more CEO attendees at CES than in the previous years.

Gary thinks, nowadays “you can be an entrepreneur if you have a computer and the Internet” connection. Technology is throwing open lots of new opportunities, while closing some others. The world is already moving towards digital TV broadcasting and high-definition TV. February 17, 2009 will be the shut-off date for the plain, old analogue TV in the US.

The world shall be moving to IPv6 by 2010. Every home will then have an Internet address, besides the postal address. But will everyone have a home by then?

The author is editor of the magazine


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