GPS dogtags and scared kangaroos: hits and misses at CES

Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:28am EST
 
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By Bill Rigby and Edwin Chan

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - This year's Consumer Electronics Show turned out to be the largest on record, despite a slow economy and what many industry pundits agree is a dearth of genuine scene-stealers.

But as with most years, avid - and hardy - attendees can always find a few gems that stand out from the inevitable tidal wave of headphones, Internet-enabled home appliances and gadget casings.

Here are a few high and low moments, compiled by Reuters from the Las Vegas show floor:

Hits:

- Tagg, a GPS-enabled dog or cat collar so you need never lose your beloved companion again. A minute GPS unit clipped to pet collars will send an alarm text or email to your app-installed smartphone should Snuggles wander outside of a prescribed zone.

- Hewlett-Packard's all-glass-encased Spectre was probably the most eye-catching of the so-called 'Ultrabooks' and drew throngs of onlookers. Intel is hoping the new generation of ultra-thin, instant-on, lightweight laptops - essentially a riposte to Apple's MacBook Air - will safeguard its market share as tablets and smartphones encroach on its traditional personal-computing turf.

- The Tobii, which tracks eye movements to execute commands - what it calls "gaze interaction" - taking gesture-controlled interfaces a step further and upping the sophistication ante. Along with Nuance's voice controls and Microsoft's Kinect gesture-recognition technology, it offers an alternative to the fast-getting-old keyboard-mouse input model in an era of touchscreens. Zoom, auto-center, destroy virtual asteroids - moving just your eyes.

- Samsung Note, the beefed up "phablet" with a 5.3 inch screen that sits somewhere between a phone and a tablet. It may seem unwieldy held up to one's ear, and the screen - at half the iPad's size - might seem wanting as well, but its sleek lines, pin-sharp Android apps and unique shape drew in the crowds.   Continued...