I had the honor of being a judge for 3 categories of
products for the 2013 CES Innovation awards
. Some of the products I reviewed
are below. I will see others during a private showing of the Innovation booths
, Bluetooth earphone microphone and mini screen with
front facing camera. It has its own apps built in as well as having a GPS chip.
It can interface with your mobile device or run some apps on its own. Slated to
come out in summer 2013 for around $500.
: Long-time maker of antennas has a new
line of cell phone boosters. The single user sleek version has you putting your
phone in a cradle which amplifies the signals up to 20 DB. A multi-user 40DB version
can be used in a car and even more powerful 70DB version can be used to cover a
whole house or office complex. I have used various cell phone boosters and
currently have one that works within 20 feet or so of the booster. One
difficulty is getting a booster that matches the phone carrier you use.
Currently, you can get Wilson boosters specific for AT&T or Verizon. The
new 4G line of Wilson boosters should help address that issue. $199 for the new
Sleek 4G when it comes out this summer.
Netamo Weather Station
: There is an 8 inch metal cylinder
for indoors and a 4 inch one for outdoors. Indoors pick up CO2 levels and
temperature. The outdoor model gives temperature, humidity and barometric
pressure. I tried it on the spot with their iPhone app and VoiceOver and it
worked beautifully. $179, available soon.
has a 50 watt speaker with a sphere on top that
emits very bright multi-colored lights, enough to fill a living room as though
it was a night club. Hard to tell the sound quality in a noisy exhibit hall.
has two interesting products. An iPhone case with battery back-up
for $6 which is quite thin. They also had a stylus with
microphone and Bluetooth earpiece. This is another way of having a discrete
device for accessing your mobile device, a pen in the pocket approach. $79.
Urban Hello's wireless speaker
phone is an interesting
shape. It is curved but sort of like a tall glass with buttons on one end and
360 degree speakers.
Kubx Lab iPhone jacket amplifier
. $34.95. This uses
mechanical amplification not electronic. It is simply a unique shaped plastic
iPhone case that magnifies the sound. It was quite impressive, at least
doubling the sound level. It could be great as a speaker phone but not really
for music as the sound will still be monaural.
mini Bluetooth speaker. This can easily fit in a
shirt pocket and act as a speaker phone or even an amplified speaker for a PDA.
Canopy with Sensus
capacitive phone case. This is meant for
gaming with touch points and vibration coming from the case. They have
programmed 6 points that one can touch to create letters based on Braille dots.
This is still a prototype.
has a new version of their helicopter that you
control with your mobile phone up to Wi-Fi range. They also have something
called Flower Power
where various sensors are put in your plants and the data
sent to your phone like soil moisture and fertilizer levels.
is a WiFi linked sensor or switch for
controlling devices in your home via your phone. I have one of these and it
works great other than one button on the app. They told me they know about this
flaw and are working on it. New sensors are coming out. Sold by major retailers
is another of the products I evaluated as a
CES Innovation judge. We all hate ear buds because they get tangled easily.
This is a clever system that keeps this from happening. You have to feel it to
understand how but if you like ear buds, try this out. $24.99 in various
has their new SpareOne emergency cell phone. It has big
distinct buttons and is meant to be used only in case of emergency. You can put
a Sim card in it but you would typically leave it in your glove box or bag and
just use with 911. It gives you some 30 hours of use on one double A battery,
activated when you pull the tab. $49.
is yet another phone battery back-up unit. They
have one for the iPhone 4S and a new one coming out for the 5 called the DX
with 2300MA. It also is a protective case and goes for $80.
Nuvo music system
: This is one of many products like this.
The WiFi gateway is $199 and then you have Wi-Fi connected amplifiers with
speaker connectors for $479 and up, a lot to pay to avoid the traditional
Globatrac.com Trakdot luggage locater
This is a GSM device that you put inside your
luggage or important package. You can track it via a web site. It also has
Bluetooth so if you are waiting for it at a luggage carousel, it will alert you
when it is nearby. $49 for the device, a onetime activation fee of $8.99 and
$12.99 per year subscription.