CES Day Two-and-a-Half Round Up

Yesterday I gathered a few interesting items I saw from CES and today is no different. In the mix of interesting, wow, and cool things…there is one “umm, okay” that you just have to see.

App-enabled cars are becoming a thing. I was thinking about that today driving in town. Of course I really wanted a heads up display with traffic info and other important stuff, but car makers like Ford are pulling out the stops to get more apps—and iOS apps specifically—for there cars. Ford announced that they have opened up their developer program for AppLink:

As Marchwicki told me, most of the safety concerns are mitigated by the fact that AppLink runs in a sandbox on SYNC, which itself is a sandbox, too. He did note, however, that Ford will refuse apps that, for example, focus on video or are otherwise visually intensive (long text, photos, etc.). Games, too, he said, will not be allowed to connect to AppLink. TechCrunch

Yeah, there are lots of potential issues with apps in cars, but it sounds like Ford as a handle on them.

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I’m lukewarm on portable WAS drives, drives that also are their own hotspot for sharing music and videos. In theory these are a great idea, but I have yet to see or try one that blows me away. HP doesn’t have an awesome track record for devices like this, but the HP Pocket Playlist looks interesting and could help boost HP out of the doldrums.

Setting up the Pocket Playlist is simple, just plug it into your Mac or PC and fill it full of content you’d like to be able to access wirelessly on your mobile devices. You can then connect to it via Wi-Fi from those mobile devices — Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices are supported — and access your media. Via Cult of Android

Not to be left out of the storage game, Seagate (who at least have a good record here) have a new set of drives for home sharing and backup. These drives I like. I’ve used several NAS drives that do a great job at sharing content on my network to Macs, iDevices, and my home theater system. Yeah, Apple TVs (stock) are a different kettle of fish, but we already know that. Since I’m starting to wondering how and where I’m going to keep storing photos (it’s getting a little cramped, actually), I might start looking at drives soon. Via 9to5Mac

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I think the folks at DISH have some seriously great plans for this year. Just when I thought their iPad app that will recommend shows to you was cool, DISH now has a companion app for subscribers that will download an SD version of programs on your DVR directly to your iPad for offline viewing. The review on Engadget was pretty positive and I hope this is something that other cable companies latch onto. It would be awesome, even if the show auto-deletes after period of time, to be able to load up your iPad before a trip with shows to catch up on. Shows, you already have recorded. The DISH system will take planning since it’s a one-to-one show length to file creation time, but still a little planning will lead to lots of enjoyment.

Speaking of TVs, “smart TVs” are the rage this year. App controlled, app enabled, app-tastic. Yes, the elephant in the room is what Apple might do and it looks like all the major TV manufacturers want to get mindshare, appshare, and into living rooms before Apple does. Here’s something interesting from Panasonic:

Today, Panasonic showed its new SmartViera TVs. They do all kinds of clever tricks, including aggregating content from various sources, but that’s old news. The future is about letting TVs do what they do best – show us shows and movies – and letting our iPads and cellphones do what they do best: personal interaction. So, instead of typing your tweets into the big screen while the rest of the family watches you fumble through an on-screen keyboard, now you can beam your pictures right to the TV. Via: Cult of Mac

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Maybe a little less convenient than the Stick-n-find, but Kensington has come out with a similar device that really will only work on things like keys and bags. Still cool though. I’m betting Bluetooth 4 will bring more devices like this to the fore in short order. HT: SlashGear.

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I think there is some kind of legal requirement for every CES to have a certain number of speakers and similar audio devices. This is interesting from the standpoint of letting cyclists bike along with thumping bass like kids in cars do. Interesting, unique, but I don’t think it will catch on: Scosche Introduces Weatherproof BoomBOTTLE Speaker For Cyclists and Outdoor Enthusiasts

Table tablet

When I saw this 27″ tablet from Lenovo going around various outlets, I thought it was a joke. Nope and Mac Rumors even has a video:

I guess family game night going completely digital now.

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Wearable speakers, especially bone-conductive ones, are always neat from a science point of view. These, however, put a whole new twist, or rub, on the space. Yeah as you listen to tunes the device massages you in tune with the music as Buster from CoM found:

With the help of an iOS app, you can add any song you want onto the iMusic BodyRhythm. Metallica? No problem. Mozart? Fine. The app calculates the beat and then creates a corresponding massage pattern. It’s all done on your iPhone or iPod Touch and then you can start jamming out while getting a massage.Cult of Mac

Yeah, interesting, somewhat practical, and totally headed for late-night TV infomercials.

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If you’re looking for industrial-strength, military-grade protection for your iPhone, Seidio has the new OBEX case that completely protects your device and all those vulnerable ports.

The OBEX employs advanced, high-quality materials to deliver “extreme” protection against all of life’s little accidents, like everyday drops and coffee spills. It’s specially designed to ensure all critical points of entry — like your iPhone’s headphone jack or Lightning connector — are sealed tight, without obstruction functionality. Cult of Mac

From the pictures, you can see that you’re going to sacrifice thinness for protection, but if you’re that concerned about protecting your device you knew that already.

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I’m a pretty big fan of ZAGG stuff (except for the screen protectors, but that’s only because I don’t like them in general), and if you’re a gamer I think you should take a gander at this bad boy:

The Caliber Advantage controls the action via the device’s Bluetooth® connection, providing the lightning-fast response needed for today’s mobile gaming. The dual slide-out analog controls of the gaming handset feature tactile, responsive keys, for a tight and accurate gaming experience. The Caliber Advantage incorporates the accelerometer features of the iPhone while adding all of the benefits of a traditional gaming controller.CALIBER SERIES :: Advantage iPhone Game Controller

I don’t know what games it’s going to work with, but it certainly looks cool.

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Another of my favs for accessories is Belkin. I haven’t tried their keyboard offerings yet, but this pair of tools might make me regret my recent (and coming today) Logitech Ultrathin:

The Belkin FastFit Keyboard is $79.99 and features well-spaced TruType keys, an integrated keyboard cover and screen protection, auto-awake magnets, two viewing Angles, 60 hours active battery life, 2,000 hours standby battery life, rechargeable using micro USB cable, and more. It is compatible with iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPads.

The Convertible Case for Apple Keyboard is $49.99 and sports a “slim, lightweight, and portable design.” Belkin also said it features a “comfortable viewing angle,” super-strength adhesive pads, aluminum smart clip snaps, and durable fabric construction in black, gray, or red colors. Belkin to Unveil New FastFit and Convertible Keyboard Cases for iPad at 2013 International CES

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The actual keyboard looks nice and compact and, from the 9to5Mac mention, the keys are certainly usable. The Convertible Case is a nice take on what the incase Origami Workstation does (which I also love). Making a complete unit that you can tote together could be much more convenient than having two things to carry around. The prices on both of these accessories are good too. Always nice to see something that not only looks great, but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg ether. HT to 9to5Mac for both of those.

Freedompop

If you have an iPod touch and don’t want to have to constantly be on the hunt for free WiFi, FreedomPop might just have a solution for you:

FreedomPop’s made a name for itself by selling cases that enable iPod Touch users to get at least 500MB of data each month for free, and now the company has partnered with TextPlus to give users the ability to send SMS messages as well. Along with a basic free plan, FreedomPop will offer three pricing tiers, maxing out at $15 for unlimited text and 1,000 voice minutes. The partnership will come to full fruition sometime in the first quarter, though the company doesn’t specify any additional details. We have the press release ready for your perusal below the break. Via Engadget.

The “free” plan, btw, actually includes a $99 deposit for the case. Which you do get back if you return it, but it isn’t up-front free. Still this could be a nice solution for parents who want to give kids a phone for emergencies, but not really have to spend for an ongoing plan—or a full-on iPhone.

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For golfers who want to improve their golf swing, SwingTIP is a device you attach to your club that syncs via Bluetooth to your iPhone to give you an analysis of your swing and tips on improving it:

SwingTIP is a bluetooth-enabled 3D motion sensor that attaches to your golf club to capture the motion of your golf swing, analyze it, and then tell you how to fix your game.

All of the data that SwingTIP collects is sent to your iPhone as soon as a swing is over and displays tons of information for you in an iOS app, such as swing speed, swing path, club face angle, impact zone, and swing tempo. The app even gives you a visualization of your swing so you can see how janky it is. Cult of Mac

Okay, you’ve been waiting for it. The craziest thing I’ve seen reported from CES…a Bluetooth fork that is supposed to help you eat better by not just letting you record what you eat, but how fast as well. VentureBeat says this:

If you are eating too fast, the fork will vibrate gently, telling you to slow down. Various indicator lights give you other data. You can upload the data via USB or Bluetooth to your web site where you can look at an online dashboard.

Hapilabs hopes to come out with a fork later this year at a price of about $20. It is also launching fitness tracking devices, dubbed the HAPItrack. It’s all part of a fitness system, including a mobile app and a web site for tracking your steps, sleep and meals. Hapilabs offers you coaching advice about the data.

And if you don’t believe me…here’s the video:

Yeah and I thought the Bluetooth houseplant sensors were nuts.

Yesterday I gathered a few interesting items I saw from CES and today is no different. In the mix of interesting, wow, and cool things…there is one “umm, okay” that you just have to see.

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