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CES Unveiled. The Day Before The Day, Before the Day...
Prior to the press day, which is held a day before the show opens, we had an event for journalists titled CES Unveiled. Its purpose is not only to get money from the exhibitors, but to provide them with an opportunity to communicate with press better. 2011 was not an exception with some tasty things (free food for journalists does not usually fit into this definition) we are going to tell you about.
This French company showed a new car radio labeled Asteroid. The second part of the name is the key here, because the radio runs Android OS. We are offered Bluetooth, navigation, music with USB, SD, iPhone, Internet access courtesy of 3G, which requires separate data payments to carriers. Don't be too optimistic though. Android is very special in this case and, despite some claims as to the use of applications, you cannot just download Angry Birds from Android Market. So much the better as gaming and driving can be pretty dangerous if done at a time. I doubt that many developers will immediately start adapting their products for Asteroid. This market is rather tiny. Speaking about mature markets, we have to say that sales of aftermarket audio systems for cars have been on the slide for some years now. Car manufacturers have been constantly adding features to their OEM products ousting the aftermarket rivals. Besides, Asteroid has a 3.2″ screen in 1 DIN size. On one hand it is good as you can install this radio (can this still be called "radio"?) into any car, but customers who need navigation prefer larger screens and this newcomer will have to compete against more conventional devices from Kenwood, Clarion coming in 2 DIN size. And do you really need Android OS in this case, no matter how cool it sounds?
Picture yourself in the middle of an ocean, a desert or aforest. When you see a ground squirrel you have an instant urge to share this information with the whole world. If you are a soldier your commander must know about problems posed by ground squirrels. Unfortunately, you are there, the ground squirrel is there, but the mobile coverage is absent. No problem! For a mere $169.99 (device) and annual payment of $99 you can send a short message (up to 41 symbols) from your Android smartphone via a satellite. It can be a text message, graphic coordinates or Facebook/Twitter status update. If your commander follows you on Twitter you are a hero.
Cobra is famous for its radar detectors and it seems this year the company will make a great leap forward by launching applications for iPhone and Android under the very original name iRadar. This gadget is indeed useful. Radar detector sends the information on a speed trap or a camera to your phone. It is saved and next time you are warned beforehand. In 2011 the company plans to create a network of users to share the data on traps and cameras. E pluribus unum.
The company showed its lineup of cameras installed in alpine and bike helmets. Now, once you leave the hospital, it is possible to watch the tree that suddenly jumped into the middle of your ski trail, in HD quality.
Another manufacturer of Bluetooth hands free systems, this time from Korea. It makes ОЕМ accessories for BlackBerry, but last year they decided to test the market on their own. Nice design and impressive quality are not enough today for a highly competitive and narrow segment of car Bluetooth devices. You need to have a unique selling point to stand out from the crowd. This gadget with a romantic name BHF-2000 can react to gestures. Now you can decline a call from your crazy boss or ex-wife with one gesture. What kind of gesture is another matter.
House of Marley
I don't know what Bob Marley feels in Heaven (doubt he is in Heaven), but his relatives don't waste time. These cool men presented stylish gadgets under Bob Marley's licensed name. They are not technically advanced, but look cool!
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Published 06 January 2011
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