Just when you've figured out the settings on your latest smart phone, digital camera or GPS device from last holiday, along comes this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with a whole new batch of electronic goodies to get you ready for 2008. Here's a bunch of new items I can't wait to see at the show:
- Zink Imaging, which made a splash with its inkless digital-photo printing system at last year's DEMO 2007 show, will announce two brand partners and two hardware partners at this week's show. First up is Polaroid, which will introduce a compact mobile printer that uses Zink's technology to produce 2-by-3-inch color prints instantly and without any ink cartridges. Zink says the printer will be shipping in the first half of the year. Other partnerships include brand partnerships with Alps Electronics and Tomy, and a hardware partnership with Foxcon to produce an all-in-one digital camera and printer system for the second half of 2008.
- Speaking of mobile printing, PlanOn (which makes the Docupen portable scanner) will launch the PS900 Printstik, a mobile printer that includes Bluetooth for thermal printing from any Bluetooth device, including notebooks, PDAs and cell phones. Print that text message!
- Dash Navigation, another company that debuted at a DEMO conference (DEMOfall 2006), said it is now taking pre-orders for its Dash Express real-time GPS device and service. The Dash Express (US$600, available in mid to late February) will include a wide-area Internet connection to let drivers access real-time traffic information, Internet search and automatic mapping updates. The Internet access service will cost between US$10 and US$13 per month, depending on pre-payment plans chosen.
- I'm a sucker for devices that combine two or more separate features into a new class of device, so I'll be happy to look at the Mustek PF-i700, a 7-inch digital photo frame that has an integrated iPod docking station. The PF-i700 will be able to display MPEG movies on its 480-by-234-pixel-resolution widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) display, and stereo speakers will allow for music playback as well. For users without iPods, the device includes support for digital memory cards, including SD, xD, MMC, MemoryStick and MemoryStick Pro, as well as a USB 2.0 port for thumb drives. The PF-i700 will be available in March for US$130.
- LaserShield Systems will show off its Sparrow device, a high-speed Internet adapter (US$130) that works with the company's LaserShield instant home security system (US$199.95). The company's monitoring service (US$29.95 per month) sends a signal at regular intervals through the day to the Sparrow device, to make sure it's operational. If the device doesn't respond because of a power loss or Internet connection failure, the monitoring service immediately contacts the owner. The Sparrow device is aimed to be an alternative to traditional security systems, which use analog phone lines, which are often cut by professional burglars.
- My favorite device at the show could be a prototype of the newest Norazza Data Destroyer. Norazza has been making CD and DVD data shredders for a while, they are now upping the ante with a 100-lb. device that can destroy hard drives, PDAs and mobile phones, simply by crushing them. What a way to get rid of all of last year's unwanted devices!
There's tons of more coverage planned for CES, be sure to head online to check out our video, blogging and audio podcasts from the show.