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Dern@CES2017: Some Things I'll Be Looking For/At This Year by Daniel P. Dern
Review by Daniel P. Dern
CES 2017 Events  ISBN/ITEM#: CES2017
Date: 13 December 2016

Links: CES Home Page / CES Press Releases /

It's mid-December, which means that the lists I'm putting together are what to look for, look at, and learn about at the fast-approaching CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 (http://www.ces.tech), the first week of January 2017, in Las Vegas.

The vast show floor (filling the Las Vegas Convention Center and much of the Sands Exposition Center and Venetian Hotel and other rooms, suites and parking lots) doesn't open until the morning of 10AM Thursday, January 5... but I -- and many of my fellow journalists -- will be arriving earlier in the week, for the press/analyst-only multi-vendor events like CES Unveiled, Pepcom, and ShowStoppers, along with sundry press conferences during "Press Day."

And thanks to the steady stream of press releases, briefing requests and other messages from vendors (I'm not complaining, they're sent because I'm on the press list... but there's still lot of 'em), I can tell you about some of the interesting-sounding products and technologies that will be there now (with the disclaimer that I haven't yet seen, touched, or tried any of them).


WHAT I WANT/HOPE TO SEE -- MY STARTER LIST

There's a lot to see. Some products and technologies I care about -- to write about (when and where I can snag assignments -- remember, I'm a freelancer), some for my own personal/professional use, some for both. One non-secret tip to having a productive CES is to skip the areas that aren't your bag.

My starter short list of products and tech already includes:

  • the Eureka Park zone, with dozens of intriguing start-ups from the US and around the world.
  • USB-C gear and accessories, as the next step beyond USB 3.0 and microUSB (standardizing to reduce charger madness, among other reasons)
  • Mobile/pocket power adapters and chargers, for phones, tablets, notebooks, and accessories... including some with enough juice (and connectors) to jump-start your car.  In particular, I'll be looking for new charging and battery tech.
  • Biggish (12-13") tablets in the sub-$500, perhaps even sub-$300 range (for reading digital comic books on at full size, in particular), along with other tablets, notebooks, and convertibles, both in the budget travel category (two pounds, sub-$200, like my Asus X205T Windows notebook), and in the reasonably-powered range, $600-$1,500.
  • Mirrorless digital cameras, for pocketable performance when you want more than your phone offers.
    E.g. what would be a good replacement for my still-works-perfectly-but-doesn't-have-some-new-features-I-like Canon PowerShot G15.
  • And DSLR cameras, which won't slip into a pocket, but have their virtues.  And photo accessories.
  • Storage (desktop and mobile), and backup (cloud and local), because nobody likes to lose data.
  • Health/medical for people and for pets.
  • Mobile apps, accessories and add-ons -- always something new and interesting to see.
  • Desktop computers, displays, and printers -- still important (for some of us)!
  • Consumer-price (no comma in the price) audio, particularly USB turntables, and speakers.   (I do enjoy looking at the high-end audio gear, much of it is visually delightful.)
  • And, of course, the latest, greatest, brightest in TVs.

NIFTY STUFF TO SEE AT CES 2017, BATCH ONE

Based on pre-show email from vendors, here's my first batch of interesting products that will be at CES 2017 (in some cases, only at the media/analyst-only pre-show-floor evening Pepcom and/or ShowStoppers events). Reminder, I haven't seen, touched or tried any of these yet.

 Whistle GPS Pet Tracker - Dude, Where's My Dog?
(at Pepcom)

Per its name, the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker attaches to a pet collar and lets you track you pet's location, via its mobile app (Android, iOS) or a web browser -- useful not just for sporting, retrieving and rescue dogs, but also for wide-ranging runners, escape artists, etc. It also does activity monitoring, text/email alerts, food/medication reminders, and some data logging. The new Whistle 3 is significantly smaller than the previous model, making it also suitable for smaller dogs and other small(er) animals. (I'm scheduled to get a ride via Whistle from my hotel to an evening event, with fellow passengers including Duke, a dachshund, modelling the latest version, so I can get a first-hand -- or -paw -- look, along with, hopefully, watching our geo progress on the PR person's smartphone.)

MSRP $99.95, including charging station (currently $20 off, and as I write this, there's an additional $30 holiday promotion), plus a service plan $9.95/month ($7.95/month if billed yearly, $6.95/month if billed biannually).

Audio-Technica Turning Out New Turntables And Cartridges
(at LVCC South/Ground, Booth 20918, and Venetian, Suite 29-236.)

Along with new wired and wireless headphones in a range of prices, Audio-Technica is still active in the vinyl-record turntable arena, bringing several new items to CES 2017.

Out of my price range (it's US$4,999.00, more than I've spent total on audio gear ever, although counting records and CDs, maybe not) but interesting-sounding will be Audio-Technical's new ultra-high-end AT-ART1000 Direct Power Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge, which "places its dual moving coils directly on top of the stylus tip (rather than at the base of the cantilever as in conventional designs) to deliver remarkable fidelity."

AT-ART1000 Phono Cartridge

More in my price range, Audio-Technical will be showing its new VM-Type moving magnet phono cartridges -- nine models, MSRP from around $100 to around $700 (available February 2017), including several optimized for mono and 78RPM shellac records (which I still have some of). Hmmm, I wonder if my Revox turntable wants a post-holiday present...

And Audio-Technica will also be debuting some new high-performance turntables in the $300-$500 range, intended for consumers (rather than DJs). (No feature details yet.)

Keezel, A One-Button Shareable Pocket VPN
(at SANDS/Eureka Park/Hall G, Dutch Pavilion Booth # 51443)

Keezel (www.keezel.co), will be showing its portable (hand-size) VPN (Virtual Private network) security device providing a secure personal WiFi hotspot/router, connecting your WiFi-enabled devices to the local hotspot (or wired Internet), and providing a secure VPN connection between your Keezel and Keezel's network of VPN servers around the world. (Although the connection between your device and the Keezel may still be vulnerable to wireless "sniffer" monitoring.)

The Keezel device costs $139; Premium service, which includes access to more (currently >1,250) servers around the world, and HD streaming speed, costs $5/month (slightly-to-somewhat less for the 1-year, 2-year or "Lifelong" Premium packages). From January 5-20, Keezel is offering its "Presidential Keezel 'HUUUGE' package" for $299, consisting of a golden Keezel device and Premium service for the four years of the upcoming presidential term (and "In the event of a re-election, Keezel pledges to extend this VPN subscription by another 4 years at no cost."

Keezel also has two non-VPN benefits:

  1. Because Keezel has servers throughout the world, it also lets you access web sites and streams that might otherwise be blocked to your geographical location, such as video in another country.
  2. Keezel's 7,000mAh battery can also be used to recharge your mobile device(s).

Does a Keezel make more sense than buying user-device-resident VPNware licenses? Dunno.

VESA Touts DisplayPort Bringing New, More Data Over USB Type-C
(LVCC South Hall 1, Booth 20612)

USB-C is becoming (or working hard at becoming) the new data and power connector between devices, accessories, and power chargers. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) will be talking about updates to the DisplayPort audio/video standard including support for USB-C, for 8K video resolution over a single connection, and other goodness that broadcasters, gamers, AR/VRers and others will appreciate.

TinyLogics MemoBox Mini Smartens Daily Pill-Taking
(at Sands, Eureka Park, Booth #51254)

TinyLogics new $19 MemoBox Mini (http://store.tinylogics.com/smart-pillbox) "smart pillbox" plus Bluetooth alert app (Android, iOS, AppleWatch) is intended to help the user remember to take the right pills at the right time -- and not double-dose. Granted, a three-dollar non-smart weekly pill organizer (like I've been using for a few years now) will do this passively... but the app can provide timely reminders (lights, vibrations, sound), along with tracking and storing other using information.

Pill-tech in previous years has mostly been "smart caps" for each pillbottle. The MemoBox Mini, combined with the app, seems to be a more useful, and quite reasonably priced, new option. (I plan to try it.)

 

That's it for now! Another batch soon!

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