Ces Day 1
As a first time attendee of CES I was thrilled by a great deal. The new shiny toys, the enthusiasm for all things technology, and the dancing... everything. In our first day on the floor, we ran across dancing cat dolls, a human sized dancing robot, and a trio of parrots strutting their stuff. These are not the highlights of the event, but, they certainly warm a geeky heart.
In all seriousness, though, there is a lot to warm a geek's heart at CES, and there were several products today that left me rather giddy with the possibilities. The first of these was the Snapkeys invisible keyboard. It is designed to answer the question shared by blind and sighted touchscreen users alike. "How do I type with any speed on this dratted device?" The Snapkeys answer is a four-button keyboard, which which contains the 26 letters of the alphabet, and as you type on these four buttons, the app will determine the word you want via a system that is similar to T9 predictive text. The user can type on only a few "keys" to represent the whole alphabet, and have the system guess the desired word. The prototype app we saw today was impressively speedy, and because this is meant to be a product that can be used "invisibly" (hidden even from their sighted users), or in situations where it would be inconvenient to look at the phone, a major planned feature is to provide feedback via text to speech. It along with our old friends, copy and paste, could be a possible solution to the typing conundrum for a lot of folks, like me, who love their smart phones, but don't love trying to type on them.
Éton has also created a number of exciting toys for the geek in the wild, or the eco-friendly user. They offer solar-powered home radios with nicely tactile buttons, and the ability to run for up to eight hours from a five hour solar charge. However, the products which were most exciting to Clara and I, were the emergency radio/cell-phone chargers which could be charged via solar-power or a hand crank. These devices would allow a user in a pinch to charge up long enough to call for help, and keep up on any pertinent information via the radio until help arrives. They would also make great accessories for a camping trip or other outdoor excursion, though the hand crank will not provide an efficient way to power a cell phone for more than a minute or two.
Finally, the music lover in me was delighted to discover a fairly unique set of headphones. Zagg, known for making screen protectors, cases and power solutions for iDevices and other tablets also does audio, and today, was showcasing a line of wooden over-the-ear style headphones. These are not headphones for wandering around town, but if you want to really listen to your music from the comfort of home, they sounded very good, and were really rather appealing to the touch and in appearance. Zagg claimed that wood is used because it makes for beautiful and rich musical reproduction, and they did really sound quite nice, but for me, the styling was equally exciting. They are a lot of fun, and a very unique way to enjoy the music in your life.
All in all, I am exhausted, but thrilled by the chance to visit CES and tomorrow will join Clara once again in giving you snapshots from the show floor, where I hope to add to the list of fabulous toys, tools, and dancing creatures spotted on this tech safari. Is it wrong to hope for monkeys?