CES 2011: A Disappointing Show with a Few Glowing Exceptions
By Angie Kibiloski
As most of you probably know, the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, happens every January in Las Vegas. It is a massive trade show, with booths sprawling across all 3 halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and spilling over into suites at the Venetian and other Strip hotels. With 2,700 companies and 140,000 attendees, this event can be extremely overwhelming, but satisfying too. In years past, I have published a list of my top 5 or 10 products that really impressed me at the show, and have had difficulty narrowing them down to a select few. Iím sad to say that Iím hard pressed to come up with 5 products that were truly unique and note worthy this year.
There were so many companies that had the same products, with nothing different or special about them except a different brand name. All of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod cases and accessories are good examples. Iíd venture to say that a 3rd of the show was stuff for ďiWhatsits,Ē which is great if you have one, sucks if you donít. Even the giants who usually wow me with innovation, like some of the camera companies, didnít have anything that really jumped up and grabbed me. Improvements to existing models and ideas, yes, but not a lot that was really new and never seen before. Out of this lack luster show filled with sameness, I am very thankful that some companies could still actually impress and be memorable enough to write about. So, thank you Marchon3D, Mobile Edge, Karotz, Key Ingredient, and Anti Sleep Pilot, for being a splash of color in an otherwise dull gray show.
Okay, so 3D is everywhere, in the theaters, on your TV, gaming systems, and even in photographs. This was one of the product areas that was so overdone at CES, but there was one company that stood out as actually having a different take on how we view 3D. Marchon presented your all-in-one 3D glasses. Not only are they quality polarized 3D glasses, but they are set into designer frames from names like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. That would be cool enough, to be able to walk into a movie theater or sit on your couch at home looking stylish rather than silly, but thereís more. These lenses also block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, so that when you walk out of the theater, your 3D glasses can protect your eyes from the sun as well. AND, better still, you can have your prescription put into the lenses, making them truly the only set you need, ever. You can see clearly, be protected from the sun, and view 3D content, all through the same set of very hip and stylish glasses. In a wide and indistinguishable sea of 3D stuff at CES, Marchon, you have my vote for most outstanding product.
Another huge product area is laptop bags. Everywhere you turned at CES there was another company with bags or cases of some kind, different only in name. Well, Mobile Edge, you trumped them all for innovation, with a bag series made from a corn based material called Sorona, which contains 37% renewable resources, requires 30% less energy to produce than other fabrics, resulting in 63% less green house emissions. It looks just like regular fabric, but its eco-friendly. Not only that, but its check point friendly too, making your trip through the airport quick and efficient. This line has styles for men as well as woman, providing the only check point friendly bags Iíve seen specifically designed with women in mind. The female line has a designer look and feel, with faux suede and feminine accents, like a cosmetic pouch and attractively patterned interior. This is not the only line that is new from Mobile Edge either, and all of their bags are top quality and attractive. Mobile Edge effortlessly stands out from the crowd, and will make sure that you do as well when carrying one of their excellent bags.
Karotz is just a fun and adorable product that I am oddly excited about. Basically, Karotz is a cute little rabbit who lives on your desktop and is connected to all of your devices and needs, like a wireless butler ready to lend a hand in all aspects of your life. He can wake you up in the morning to your favorite music, read you the traffic report, keep an eye on your home with his built in web-cam, conveniently connected to your laptop or phone for out of town viewing, and even read stories to your kids when youíre away. He does so much more, all while being a cute little desk pet. You can control him with voice commands, through your laptop or smart phone, or by using special mini Karotz of different colors, each color programmable to activate a different function on its parent Karotz. Youíve never seen a wireless controller and device quite like this little guy, and I have high hopes for its success.
Demy is a product, from Key Ingredient, that has actually been out for a few months, but I just discovered it at CES. Itís a kitchen assistant, perfect for anyone who likes to cook. You can wirelessly download recipes from the Demy website database, as well as from your other favorite recipe sources. You can even upload your own recipes to have at you fingertips. The touch screen interface allows you to effortlessly search for and display any of your saved recipes on your countertop. The attractive frame shaped display can stand up or lay flat, depending on your cooking and space preferences, and is thankfully water resistant and durable, fit to withstand any typical kitchen messes. Spill a can of soup on it, no problem, just wipe it off and continue cooking. Your old recipe books wouldnít fare so well in the same situation. It may not be the most high tech product at the show, but I appreciate it for being something unique, which satisfies a need, and can improve the cooking experience for everyone.
Finally, Anti Sleep Pilot is a product that I will have to actually get and use to determine if I can recommend it, but it's definitely a great innovative idea. If it works, it will save lives, and provide all drivers with an added sense of security. The idea behind it is that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and we might not even realize weíre driving drowsy until its too late and weíre asleep at the wheel. Iíve experienced it myself, that scary feeling of leaving work and pulling into the driveway a second later, with no memory of the drive. I should never have gotten behind the wheel, though I didnít know I was that sleepy. Anti Sleep Pilot can help to eliminate these occurrences by gauging 26 factors about you and your driving conditions, to determine how close you are to being too exhausted to drive. A few of these factors are lighting conditions in the car, time of day, and how much time youíve spent driving in the last 24 hours. The ASP sits on your dash board and lights up as your risk factors increase, finally alerting you with an alarm sound before you reach the threshold of drowsy driving, so that you can pull over and take a rest or a 10 minute power nap before continuing. It is your responsibility to stop the car, but ASP will let you know before itís too late and you are already asleep.
Obviously, only days after the show, I have not used these products yet, and can only comment on my first impressions of them. I hope to be able to use them in the near future and keep you up to date on my experiences with them. But, what I can say about all of them is that they made their mark as gems of potential and innovation. I had to sift through a mountain of blah products to find them, but I am so pleased that I did. Thank you to all of these companies for keeping my faith in technological creativity alive. Next year, I challenge all the other companies at CES to add some of that pizzazz to their line ups and wow my socks off. Please.
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.