MediaFile

CES: Tablets, ereaders, TVs — need power savers?

minipakPower sockets that sense when you leave a room and shut down.  Portable hydrogen fuel cells.  Pocket windmills that store electricity. Those were some of the little-noticed green power-savers tucked into a little corner of the otherwise monstrous Consumer Electronics Show floor in Las Vegas.

Gadgets that help conserve electricity are nothing new, but if there’s one thing the profusion of giant TVs, backlit tablet computers and 3D projectors trotted out at this year’s show will need, it’s gizmos that help cut down your electricity bill.  Industry executives say they have yet to filter into the mass public consciousness despite the heightened environmental awareness of today.

“The biggest problem we’re having is teaching the public about this technology,” said Scott Wilson, VP of sales at Bits Ltd, which was hawking a $39 power strip that can sense when a device goes to sleep or is turned off, and automatically shuts down a pre-determined number of linked devices.

One gadget that drew a crowd of curious onlookers was Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies’ “MiniPak” handheld fuel-cell charger, which takes bottled water, breaks it down, and funnels power to any USB device, letting, say, campers charge their cellphones in the wild.

Still, saving power may not come as cheap as you might think. HiSaver’s motion-sensing power strip (the one that automatically shuts down your TV after you’ve left the room for awhile) goes for $99 — about 10 times the cost of your regular version. Kinesis’s wind and solar charger — displayed at CES in lurid green — goes for $99.95. The MiniPak will relieve you of $500.

CES: Nokia CEO says 4.6 bln mobile users, 5 mln Ovi email users

nokiaNokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo spent much of his keynote speech at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas talking about the growth prospects for emerging markets.  He showed moving videos about people in India and other parts of the world using cellphones for everything from finding out crop prices and ordering fabric, to mapping the spread of killer diseases and learning English.

Kallasvuo noted that big areas of opportunity include mobile banking, as the number of people with bank accounts — a stunning 1.6 billion — seemed tiny in comparison to the world’s 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions (out of a population of 6.8 billion).

Kallasvuo also noted that while many find email annoying, about 75 percent of the world’s population still hasn’t used it.  This was his way of plugging Nokia’s Ovi mobile email service, which apparently attracted more than 5 million users in the first year of operation. He said that this beat first-year sign-ups of all the most popular email services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, a claim that skeptics might find surprising.

CES: Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show is underway, with myriad companies announcing new devices and services. Here’s a sample, as seen through the lens of Reuters photographers Mario Anzuoni and Steve Marcus.

intel

the Infoscape concept at the Intel booth

pana

Panasonic’s 3d Camcorder. Sure, it kind of looks like a “viewmaster”. But its one of the keys to creating 3D content for consumers to see when they buy a 3D TV.

oled

A super-thin OLED screen from LG Electronics. OLED (Organic light emitting diode) screens are clear and bright, but TVs with the screens are still mostly small and expensive.

CES live blog

Our live blog features contributions from Reuters Staff as well as our Guest Bloggers: Michael Gartenberg (gartenberg), vice president of strategy and analysis at Interpret; James McQuivey (jmcquivey), vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research ; Mike Vorhaus (mikevorhaus), president of Magid Advisors; Avi Greengart (avigreengard), research director of consumer devices at Current Analysis; Ross Rubin, Director of Industry Analysis at NPD (rossrubin, npdtech displaysearch.)

CES: Samsung demos camera, media frame, MID with LTE links

Samsung showed off these prototype gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show as part of a selection of demonstrations Verizon Wireless put together to highlight potential uses for a high-speed wireless network based on LTE technology. Samsung was very coy about potential availability but it was happy to give a basic view on how the devices could work. The idea is for photos to be sent wirelessly from a camera to devices such as a prototype media frame that could receive video as well as photographs. Samsung’s mobile Internet device, a small hand-held gadget with a screen larger than a phone, could potentially record video and stream it directly to the picture frame over LTE.  Here’s the demo:

CES: Ford’s Mulally digs hands-free, in-car Pink Floyd

Here’s Ford CEO Alan Mulally getting excited about the new MyFord Touch in-car tech system, launched today at CES.

First attempt cut short by lack of Internet access. He’s not the first CEO bedeviled by tech problems at the show, after a power cut delayed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote on Wednesday evening.

Second take shows successful launch of hands-free Pandora Internet radio. Pretty cool, despite choice of dinosaur-rock station.

CES: Motorola shows off media tablet prototype (video)

Motorola's media tabletHere’s a short clip on Motorola’s prototype tablet video player.  The device was part of a set of demonstrations from Verizon Wireless at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The operator was showing concept applications for its next generation high-speed LTE network, expected to cover up to 30 U.S. markets this year.
Motorola says the tablet could be available for the fourth quarter this year, but that would depend on Verizon Wireless and other factors. The price hasn’t been set but could be around $300 for the device. The prototype runs on an Nvidia chip and uses Google’s Android as its operating system. It could support up to 32 gigabytes of external memory that could be used to download videos to watch later. Movies could also be streamed over the wireless network. Here’s Motorola’s Don Schoch with a quick overview.

CES: Plastic Logic’s CEO shows off Que proReader (video)

Here’s Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta discussing the pricing of the Que proReader, which was introduced today at CES. The device is targeted at business users, but it is already being considered a rival to Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s as-yet-unannounced-yet-widely speculated tablet computer.

CES live blog

Our live blog features contributions from Reuters Staff as well as our Guest Bloggers: Michael Gartenberg (gartenberg), vice president of strategy and analysis at Interpret; James McQuivey (jmcquivey), vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research ; Mike Vorhaus (mikevorhaus), president of Magid Advisors; Avi Greengart (avigreengard), research director of consumer devices at Current Analysis; Ross Rubin, Director of Industry Analysis at NPD (rossrubin, npdtech displaysearch.)

CES: I want a flying drone (video)

I mean, who doesn’t want their own drone? The military has them, so why can’t I?

parrot

Seriously, one of the more eye-opening devices seen at CES was this hovercraft/helicopter/remote drone, which is controlled by — get this — an iPhone or iPod Touch. Its developed by Parrot, and intended to be used for games — but I’m thinking it can help me with walking my dog, or getting the paper on chilly mornings.

Listen to Parrot engineer Martin Lefebure (he’s off-camera) describe its uses, while he pilots its.  See more of their demos here.