CES Las Vegas: Come early, stay late

Posted: 01.02.06

Hey look someone left their giant golfball here on the side walk. Today, we're young, fresh, willing to take on the world and we're happy to be in Vegas. Check with us in a few days to see how we're holding up.

Here we are in beautiful Las Vegas. After the rough weather we've had the past weeks, we've cut back on the usual caterwauling we do about how hard it is to travel to trade shows—especially Vegas trade shows. Nope, we're looking at blue skies, swimmin' pools, and movie stars and it's just fine with us.

But, if we were going to whine one of the first things we'd start complaining about would be the way CES has lengthened, requiring us to come a couple of days before the exhibits actually open, and then we'd throw in a few choice words about the utterly miserable experience one can have at the LV airport from standing in line for taxis to standing in line to get the hell out. We have been promised, however, that high flyin' frequent flyers like us will have an easier time leaving the city this year. If you could hear us, you'd hear us muttering darkly, We'll see . . .

The reason we came early was to sneak a peak at CES Unveiled. Taking a page from the companies that throw their own little mini-shows for the press such as Digital Focus, Show Stoppers, and Lunch at Piero's, CES gathered the winners of its Innovations awards for a mini-exhibition complete with good food and good drinks. When you can't beat 'em, etc. etc.

The stuff that CES found worthy was an eclectic collection of technologies and products and we probably missed as many good things as we found. But some of the obvious trends at CES his year include music player accessories, exercise equipment, and television technologies, especially IPTV and HDMI.

Wait, exercise equipment? Yes, indeedy. Now, not to indulge in stereotypes but you have perhaps noticed a trend among American game players toward the overweight? Powergrid Fitness has introduced the Powergrid Fitness device for use with any game machine including a Playstation, Xbox, or Gamecube. The device lets users become the game controller leaning, pushing, and pulling against the machine to make their moves. Powergrid calls their technology ISOCOR technology and it includes adjustments to make the resistance easy or "Olympic weight lifter hard," suggesting the company has a lot of faith in their machine or that we have way too little faith in the average overweight American game player. The Powergrid Ever-Station is available in stores including Best Buy with a price tag of $199.

The Ever-station from Powergrid Fitness. We're wishing we knew about this baby before Christmas. If those New Year's resolutions don't pan out, this might just do the trick

Silicon Image is increasingly identifying itself with HDMI, the digital connector for TVs and TV peripherals that provides an all-digital clean connection. The connector was developed by Silicon Image in conjunction with HDMI partners Sony, Hitachi, Thomson (RCA), Philips, Matsushita (Panasonic), and Toshiba.  The CE companies love HDMI because it adds a level of security and also combines video and audio for easy connections with a single cable. The Silicon Image HDMI team is building in additional functionality too including lip-synching and deep color support (30-bit and 36-bit RGB).

The desert table at CES Unveiled—there could well be an Exer-station in our future

Logitech has been doing very well with the Harmony universal remote control. Members of the press and analyst corps surrounded the booth to tell the Logictech people how much they like the Harmony remote control. Logictech told us that, according to NPD, the Harmony outsells all other universal remotes and that includes low-cost drug store devices that don't work and high-end products that do—just not as well as the Harmony. That's pretty good for a $399 remote control.


Hey Gandalf, you'll look a lot better thanks to an all-digital HDMI cable


Jon gets a lesson on the latest Harmony remote control—this one is an RF model.

We don't know what exactly Fender did to get an award from the CES people (and we kind of wonder if a willingness to exhibit at the Unveiled event doesn't help in the voting) but the company is very happy about its co-branding deals with Jeep, Hello Kitty, and Miller Brewing.

Fender has a co-branding deal with Hello Kitty, maybe the next Joan Jett will have gotten her start playing a pink Fender

Our favorite product at the Unveiled event was probably the Micro Mosquito from Interactive Toy Concepts. This little helicopter goes up, down, and sideways just like the real thing but its inventors tell us that it's the most stable helicopter in existence. The people at Interactive Toy Concepts are at CES looking for new opportunities for the device beyond the obvious—making a great toy.

It flies! The Micro Mosquito was a crowd pleaser for obvious reasons.