CES 2007: Products On View At CES Unveiled - InformationWeek

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1/7/2007
04:08 PM
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CES 2007: Products On View At CES Unveiled

I've always been warned that CES would be chaotic, and it looks like they weren't kidding. On Saturday, at the opening of CES Unveiled, the first press event of CES, the line of journalists waiting to get their first glimpse of new tech (and their first free meal of the day) was down the hallway and around the corner. And this was before most of the attendees had shown up.

I've always been warned that CES would be chaotic, and it looks like they weren't kidding. On Saturday, at the opening of CES Unveiled, the first press event of CES, the line of journalists waiting to get their first glimpse of new tech (and their first free meal of the day) was down the hallway and around the corner. And this was before most of the attendees had shown up.The event, which was held in the Venetian Hotel (which is attached to the Sands Convention Center) had a variety of vendors hoping to grab attention. Some offered products that were about to ship, other were shipping their devices "any day now" (translation: If we can find a distributor at CES). If you could push your way through the crowds to get to the vendor tables, there were some interesting things to be seen.

A software utility that looked to be highly useful was Gaviri PocketSearch, a search engine that will encompass any device that is attached to your computer -- your camera, your USB drive, or your SD card. As somebody who carries a U3 USB drive around, not to mention a PDA, I can frequently lose track of which file I saved where, so I found this one interesting.

The political end of things was represented by the Digital Freedom campaign, which declares itself "a national effort to fight back against efforts by the big record labels and movie studios to ban new digital technologies." Member organizations they listed include the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CEA, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and others. When I approached the table, the battle was already on between a Digital Freedom spokesman and one of the attendees about the rights of consumers to transfer the content of a purchased DVD to an iPod.

There were even a couple of pseudo-robots in evidence. Wowwee, which offers robotic toys such as the Roboquad, a weird four-legged robotic insect, had as its big draw was the WowWee Alive Elvis, a singing and talking bust of Presley that comes complete with a microphone-shaped remote control. To me, it looked too much like one of the living historic heads in Futurama for comfort

I'm always looking for small PCs to take on these sorts of jaunts -- this year, Sony lent me one of their VAIO TX ultraportables, which may be the reason I won't be in traction at the end of CES -- and there were a couple in evidence at CES Unveiled. One with a lot of potential is the $1,395 S-XGen UMPC, a 14-ounce pocket-sized device that Windows CE 5.0 and includes a 470 x 280 touch-screen monitor,Bluetooth, WiFi, and tri-band cellular technology; a built-in Webcam; and a fold-out keyboard that is supposed to offer a better touch-typing experience than most tiny notebooks -- but when I tried it out, it felt a bit like trying to type on a rubber duckie.

More to come.

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