After a day of walking the CES show floor (OK, just the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, to be precise), and feeling like my Tevas were worn to the nub, I must say that I did in fact see some cool products. In my best Julie Andrews voice, here are a few of my favorite things.
• Of its several new Bluetooth headset, Jabra’s coolest is the JX10, a stylish and small piece of hardware that you can wear with or without an ear hook. The $179 headset offers up to six hours of talk time (200 hours of standby), Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology that automatically adjusts the volume to match the calling environment, and can be charged via USB from a computer.
• Shure introduced its E500 Sounds Isolating Earphones. They have three hi-definition drivers (one tweeter and two woofers) for highly accurate audio reproduction (meaning great sound) and block between 30db and 37db of outside noise. Also included is Shure’s new Push-to-Hear (PTH) control switch, which lets you mute your music and hear what’s going on around you (or even have a short conversation) thanks to a built-in microphone. The E500 earphones will be available in May for $499. The PTH add-on will also be available at the same time for other E Series earphones for $59.
• HP has seven new digital cameras that it will be rolling out between February and April 2006. The top of the line is the HP Photosmart R927, an 8.2-megapixel camera with a huge, three-inch LCD and a 3x optical zoom. It includes automatic in-camera red eye removal and HP Design Gallery effects and borders. (And the smart thing is, it creates a duplicate of your image, so the original stays untouched.) It comes with a standard docking station, but an optional Wireless Dock Base lets you share photos using a wireless network. The price is $399, and the camera should be available in March.
• Iomega has a slew of new products, including the MiniMax Desktop Hard Drive, a combination hard drive and USB and FireWire hub created to match the Mac mini in size, shape, and design. Both models have three USB 2.0 ports and three FireWire 400 ports, and either 160GB for $200, or 250GB for $250. And the drive powers up and down along with the mini itself. The company also showed off several other storage products, including the 60GB ScreenPlay Multimedia Drive ($220) for portable audio, video, and photo storage to connect to a TV; the StorCenter Network Hard Drive ($200 for 160GB, $290 for 250GB ) with gigabit Ethernet for fast, centralized storage that includes built-in UPnP support; and the aptly named Micro Mini Hard Drive (4GB for $130, 8GB for $170) with a tiny one-inch, 4200-RPM hard drive, USB 2.0 connectivity, and shock protection.
• And for the truly paranoid, Taser International, makers of the taser stun gun, were showing off the $999 Citizen Taser X26c. This futuristic-looking means of self-defense sends 50,000 volts into a would-be attacker without the need for being too close. The marketing materials proudly proclaim it to be legal to carry—concealed or otherwise—in 43 states (just don’t plan on using it to stun a mugger in Manhattan or take down a carjacker in Providence).