There are some press events where several vendors are brought into one area for us to meet all those we have been emailing and calling throughout the year and check out the latest products and service offerings. Last night I attended the Showstoppers event at the Wynn hotel and actually found it to be one of the best Showstoppers I have attended in a few years and was constantly talking to people in the hour and a half I was there. Keep reading below for summaries of some of the companies I visited. I will be posting a wrap up of the week on Monday and will include a device or two that I will be buying right after CES. I took a few photos of products and placed them in my CES 2010 image gallery.
BlueAntI have heard a lot of good things about the BlueAnt Q1 voice controlled headset, which won a CES 2010 Innovations award. I finally had a chance to meet them in person and have an evaluation unit that I will be checking out soon. The Q1 just recently received a firmware update to enable A2DP capability and I am very interested in seeing if the voice control capability works with the new Nexus One voice text entry fields. I will report on this in my upcoming review.
JayBird GearLast year I checked out a couple JayBird headphones and have been very pleased with the Endorphins while I run. I stopped by to meet them in person for the first time and saw their latest product, the Blue Buds, that will be launching in April. These are earbud type headphones that connect via a wire that goes behind your neck and are extremely small. They connect to your player with Bluetooth and can be used for phone calls as well. I will be checking them out when they are available since I have been looking for a good set of Bluetooth headphones that don't impede me working out. These new earbuds also use the fairly new apt-X Bluetooth standard so that you get a wired audio experience without the wires. Stay tuned for more on these earbuds.
Slacker RadioThere are several streaming music clients out there and while it seems to be the most popular I find Pandora repeats way too much for me and I have moved onto other clients. I really enjoyed the Slacker Radio experience on BlackBerry devices I have tested and bought before and was excited to put it on my new Nexus One. A major new feature launched at CES was the ability to station cache music content so you can listen to music without a network connection. To start with Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone/iPod touch owners will get this wireless caching capability that lets you store music on your device or memory card to listen to when you lose a signal. The iPhone and Android clients are version 2.0 and the BB client is version 3.0. Slacker also showed off a client that is coming soon to the Palm webOS platform. BB owners had the ability to do this via a PC cable connection and now get it wirelessly.
In addition to music, Slacker announced the addition of ABC News to Slacker Radio so you can get the latest news as well if you desire.
FYI, Slacker Radio plays very well on the Google Nexus One.
Pogoplug 2Last year we saw the release of the original Pogoplug that enabled people to easy plug in and get their local drive up on the Internet for access from any location. In November we saw the Pogoplug 2 and that was being shown and featured at CES this year. This version of the Pogoplug gives you four USB ports so you can connect several drives for remote access. The setup of this is only 60 seconds and looks to be drop dead simple. I like that there are iPhone and Android mobile clients that allow you to access and use the content stored on the drives. I understand clients are coming for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and webOS too.
The web interface automatically organizes your media content (video, music, and photos) in various ways and lets you easily access this content from any supported device or browser. You can even create and then share photo slideshows with music right from within the Pogoplug interface. This is one device I plan to buy after CES and will post a full review after I get one.
NavigonI talked about Navigon MobileNavigator for the iPhone last year and purchased it when they had the special $70 launch price. I actually used it for a road trip from Seattle to LA and back and it worked extremely well. They have upgraded the software (free updates) a few times since I bought it and there is some amazing technology packed into the product, including lane assist, enhanced pedestrian mode where the iPhone compass is used, audiobook mode, and more.
The big announcements for them at CES was the rollout of their MobileNavigator client now for Windows Phones and this Spring for the Android platform. The Windows Phone client is available now for a special promotional launch price of $69 until 14 February with the price then going up to $89 for North American maps. As a new Google Nexus One owner I find this very interesting and will definitely be looking into this software when it is released. The Windows Phone and Android clients will support these features:
- Reality View Pro displays photo-realistic 3D views with actual road signs and lane guidance for virtually every highway interchange and exit drivers will encounter.
- Lane Assistant Pro helps drivers prepare to make an upcoming exit or turn by providing a lane map complete with arrows and actual road geometry.
- Text-to-speech announces street names in addition to turn-by-turn directions. Instead of only stating “turn right”, the app informs the user to “turn right on to ‘Main Street’, enabling the driver to further concentrate on the road ahead and not become distracted looking for street signs.
- Speed Assistant with adjustable audio-visual warning.
- Day & Night Mode for map display.
- Direct Access allows navigation to contacts saved in the phone's address book.
- Route Planning
- Branded POIs and POIs along the route.
- 2D and 3D map view.
- Automatic switch between portrait and landscape format.
- Intelligent address entry.
- Real signpost display.
No price was announced, but like the iPhone client it will be a one time fee.