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CES 2011. Interesting products and ideas on the go. Kaleidoscope No 1

Dominance of accessories

Every exhibition attracts many small companies offering different accessories. CES is dominated by cases for various gadgets, but preference is given to Apple. In this sea of cases made of all possible materials is easy to get lost and stop paying attention to them.

I always wondered how these manufacturers manage to survive with the level of competition. The place of any defunct company is quickly taken up by two or three newcomers, which believe in their luck. Customers benefit as well because competition creates intriguing products. I decided not to waste time on cases, docks for iPad, stickers, protection films and headphones. These products are down to Earth and feature not enough of high tech to boggle my imagination. There were other things to enjoy at CES. I even ignored the stalls of Gorilla Glass, though I like their ads.

Among accessories we saw many solar batteries to charge phones and other devices, but I think it is just a joke. By reading a user guide, which claims that a 600 mAh charges within 14 hours in the sun, you understand it is not for you. Once I exchanged correspondence with a representative of one Finnish company and its Vice President said we had to change our lifestyle and stay outside more often. The solar battery was to be charged at that time. I declined to change my lifestyle because of a gadget.

Nevertheless, many external chargers were presented at the exhibition. There is nothing extraordinary here, so look at typical models of one company. The hit of the season is a battery, which looks like a USB stick. Insert it into your computer and get energy. The pictured device offers only 600 mAh. It is not enough as my external battery of 1000 mAh gives only 50% of the charge for my HTC Desire (on paper it provides more, but real figures are around a half of the full capacity). During CES I could buy it for $20, but in retail it fetches $30.

A 1600 mAh is a more interesting proposition, but its price increases accordingly to $49. Unfortunately, a larger battery was not available for purchase.

Blackberry: a tablet with a difference

If you ask me what was the main irritant at the exhibition I have to admit that it was the oversupply of tablets. Every manufacturer deems it a necessity to show off anything resembling Apple iPad. This craze cannot be stopped. For example, Nvidia Tegra2 is used in around 20 tablets announced at CES, but only several companies had operational prototypes. In Nvidia pavilion we could see a 10″ Acer, which was a curious device lacking controls on the front panel. At least I could not find them. It is incredible.

An employee of Nvidia was playing Galaxy on Fire on a 7″ Dell, pretending to demonstrate the possibilities of a graphic processor. He played with verve, so we decided not to interfere.

Playbook from Blackberry looks quite original. The difference is not in design, though I liked soft plastic of its back, but there is nothing special in this respect. More intriguing is the control when you move your finger from the rim down or up to see context menus appear. This video explains it rather vividly.

I have ambiguous feelings to the tablet. On one hand it is highly original and will definitely enjoy popularity. I like the interface, icons and quick acсess to many features. At the same time some glitches are still available in selected applications. In some cases context menus do not work properly or are absent, which goes against the overall philosophy. The screen is not the best and viewing angles could have been better. It is more of my wishful thinking though.

Protected phones in different shapes and forms

Protected phones are once again in fashion. This is testified not only by Samsung, but smaller companies together with local manufacturers ranging from Japan to once an all conquering Motorola decided to join in too. Japanese manufacturers offer better quality and numerous models for any price. Look at the pictures. This is one of the simple models.

I liked clamshell Casio GzOne Ravine. The design is excellent and the handset boasts popular MIL-STD-810G standard. The model can resist dirt, water and vibration. This toy also comes equipped with pace counter, compass, thermometer and table of tides. Unfortunately, the model is only available in the USA.

Another Casio model in the series is Brigade. It boasts a fully functional QWERTY keypad and Push to Talk. Other features are identical to the handset described above. It is an interesting toy and once again I have to mention it can be bought only in the USA.

In Motorola pavilion one could also find several protected phones – i686 Brute and i886. The first one is a clamshell, which followed Tundra. Both models are quite interesting.

Finally, read this article about offerings from JCB Mobile.

CES 2011. Protected phones from JCB

Android smartphone with a 14 MP camera

In Aigo pavilion was showcased a Chinese Android smartphone for China Unicom featuring a 14 MP camera. First I have to mention a camera offered by the same manufacturer.

As I was going to ignore PR campaign of the company, which used a racing car to attract people I caught a glimpse of a camera, which looked like an ordinary point and shoot model. Everything looked standard but the price of $2000!

It happened that the body of the camera was painted to resemble porcelain. Before this procedure the camera cost $200m but now it is an art object, hence the staggering price. It should especially appeal to people who do not need a camera, but would like to have an art object at home or even take pictures with its help.

It sounded crazy and my discussion with company's representatives revealed we live in parallel Universes.

A 14 MP smartphone from Aigo reminds me of a bygone era when a phone was added to a camera. At the beginning of this century Samsung showed similar gadgets at CeBIT. Since then cameras became smaller in size.

What are my impressions from the handset? I have nothing to say! Its performance was not up to the mark as I had to take pictures several times to get the necessary result. Look at samples, which are far from impressive. The tendency is worrying though, which means that more similar models are on their way.

That is all for today, but stay tuned for more CES articles as we are more than happy to share all the information we have.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 12 January 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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