LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — If the brief look we stole of the Altec Lansing lineup is anything to go by, we’re going to be even more thrilled with their hardware this year than we were last year (when their InMotion Compact garnered a 4.5/5 rating). They’ve kept the key ingredients of intriguing-yet-simple design and cool features, but we get the impression everything seems somehow to be more grownup.
A good example is the just-released InMotion Air: An elegant, steel-grey rhomboid that streams music at a distance of up to a whopping 100 yards with the included wireless adapter, or via Bluetooth (at considerably less range); it also comes with a seven-hour battery. The InMotion Air will be available in February for $200, through Radio Shack or online through Altec Lansing.
AL has some additional tricks up its sleeve, which they revealed to us during a closed-door tour of their lineup; we can’t tell you exactly what they’re up to, because we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement just to get inside. But it’s cool, and it’s coming soon.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — ID8-Mobile is following up on their MoGo Talk iPhone case/Bluetooth headset — which just won a design award at CES this year — with a wide array of Bluetooth accessories: a MoGo Talk headset that charges inside a tiny, foldable battery case; a Bluetooth speakerphone that converts into a handset; a mini Bluetooth speaker; a Bluetooth remote-control device for presentations and whatnot and (pause to inhale) they’re bringing back their wafer-thin Bluetooth mouse (counterclockwise from bottom right in the photo above). Sitting beneath them is a pre-production Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad. Pricing and release dates on these new goodies not set yet.
If a bag is on display at CES, chances are excellent it’s got some kind of snazzy tech feature. Newcomer Powerbag caught our eye with its line of four handsome bags that all include batteries for charging iDevices (or other peripherals); Voltaic — we featured their OffGrid backpack in our Holiday Gift Guide — just launched an iPad case with high-efficiency solar cells slathered all over one side.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Griffin has paraded off so much cool new stuff at this year’s CES, you’d be excused for thinking this site’s name is actually “cultofgriffin.com” — this time, it’s their StompBox pedalboard for iPad with swappable effect modules.
If you’ve been following our posts about making music on the iPad, you’ve probably already heard about iShred — who make the free app that pairs with StompBox, for which Griffin originally made the GuitarConnect cable that connects instruments with 1/4-inch jacks to the iPad (or any other iDevice) last year. StompBox is just the evolution of the idea, giving musicians better control over the sounds via the physical switches (rather than using the soft controls of the app).
The app comes with several modules that make different sounds, and more can be collected via in-app purchase for a few bucks apiece. Griffin says StomBox should be available by spring of 2011 at $99, which includes the $30 GuitarConnect cable for free. The pedalboard can also be paired with Griffin’s new $40 Mic Stand Mount for iPad, available in January.
What does it say about the current state of mobile telephony when one of the most exciting booths at CES belongs to a company that makes an app allowing iPhone users to make phone calls?
Line2 makes a tri-mode calling app that uses data, WiFi and even cellular voice connections to make and receive calls on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Start with the 30-day free trial, then the service will cost $10 per month for unlimited calling, unlimited texts and a powerful voicemail system.
In a WiFI area, Line2 uses that connection to make and receive calls and texts. In an area with data (3G or EDGE) available, Line2 uses the data connection for your calls. And it can even utilize your beleaguered cellular carrier’s cell network to make and receive calls when all else fails.
So, for $120 a month you can activate your iPhone with your preferred cell carrier and for just $10 more you can actually make and receive calls!
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Griffin Technology‘s new Crayola ColorStudio HD ($30) evoked so many bubbly noises while it was being demo’ed you’d think CES had become a popular 3rd-grade field trip destination. And if the fun little gadgapp (yeah, I know, see below) can make a bunch of jaded tech journos grin, you know it’s going to be a huge hit with the kids.
The app works with what’s essentially a jumbo stylus that paints color on the screen in a selected color. Parts of the page are animated, and those animated pieces can be colored in without the color bleeding over the lines. Finished pages can be emailed, uploaded to Facebook or printed.
Oh, about the “gadgapp” thing: So, this year’s CES seems indeed to be the year of the app-enhanced accessory; problem is — as my lamentably lame attempt demonstrates — we can’t seem to come up with a not-dorky term to concisely encapsulate this rapidly emerging new category of gadget. But we think our readers are sharp bunch, and we’re certain one of you can come up with something better. We”ll be announcing some sort of competition with prizes next week, be on the lookout.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Check out this simply stunning 3D-mapping technology from Swedish-based C3 Technologies that elicited a uniform reaction of “holy %$*@!” from us when we saw it. One reason for its precision is that it was developed from recently declassified missile targeting technology originally developed by Swedish aerospace powerhouse Saab.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Android tablets have a ways to go — that seems to be the emerging consensus here at CES.
I couldn’t help but notice all the floor chatter going on while people were playing with any one of the dozens of new Android tablets here on display at CES. As I listened, the crowd consensus became clear to me—not only are all the new Android tabs not as good as the iPad, they’re not even close.
Why? Well that’s what I started wondering. I wanted to hear unfiltered reviews on what potential users were thinking. So after hearing the 100th person murmur something like, “this doesn’t work nearly as good as the iPad,” I starting getting nosy and asking them why.