Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2007 Trip Report (Day 1)

Read Part 2 and Part 3

No sooner has the wrapping paper from Santa’s presents to all good little gadgeteer boys and girls been shredded, that a new slew of goodies is unveiled for them to drool over. That’s right, it’s time for the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. I made the trip out to the mecca of all things gadgety and will be bringing you all the yummy details as the show unfolds.

Sunday

The alarm clock woke me up at 5:30am EST and after a shower and finalization of my packing, I was in the car and on the way to the airport. One hour later, boarding pass in hand, egg McMuffin and Diet Coke in my belly, I settled in to wait for my flight to board.

The flight from Indy to Vegas wasn’t too bad except that I was in the very last row of the plane and was stuck between two very large guys. I felt like a Julie sandwich. If that wasn’t bad enough, one of the guys was a sneezer and the other one was a snorer. Despite those hardships, I survived and arrived on time in Las Vegas. After I retrieved my bags, I was herded like a Holstein into the Taxi waiting corral. Luckily it only took about 15mins to run through the loops and after a quickish cab ride, I arrived safe and sound at my hotel.

I’m staying at Bally’s this year. I’ve never stayed at this hotel, and so far it seems nice enough. Check out my room…

Nice and spacious.

With an extra table…

And back in the corner, there is a computer desk with a retractable Ethernet cable. Too bad they charge you for internet service. $11.99 / 24hrs.

Even the bathroom is nice :o)

At this point I was starving, so decided to explore the casino floor and get some food. I had a couple of hours to kill before CES Party #1: Digital Experience anyway. In true Vegas tradition, I opted for an all-you-can-eat buffet: The Big Kitchen. It was actually quite good. Not huge like some of the buffets at other big hotels that I’ve had in previous years, but good food. The Macaroni and Cheese brought back childhood memories of the way my Grandma used to make it. Good stuff!

On the way back from eating, I decided to sit down at one of the slot machines and try my luck. I’ll admit that I’m *not* a gambler. Typically $25 is my limit when I visit Vegas. Yeah, pretty lame huh? This time I was even more frugal… I stuck in a $5 and started pressing the buttons. Immediately I was up $7. Wow! Then I was down to $2. Then back up to $9 and back down to $3. Once I got back up to $10, I cashed out. I was quite surprised to see a ticket come of the machine instead of tokens. No more tokens? How sad…

It was about time for the Digital Experience party to start, so I headed outside to walk over to Caesar’s Palace. The cool thing about Vegas is that there are special overhead foot bridges and motorized sidewalks that span over the busy roads to connect the hotels.

A few minutes later I walked into Caesar’s Palace. It still amazes me how over the top the hotels are in this town. Check out the huge fountain that greets you as soon as you walk in the door.

I made my way through the casino and towards the pool area. On the way, I don’t know what came over me, but I sat down at another slot machine and fed in another $5. I didn’t like this game at all, it wasn’t a simple slot machine and I after a few minute, I wanted to just lose my 5 bucks and get myself to the gadget show. But just when I thought I had lost everything, I pushed the button and won back all my money again… plus 25 cents. Wheeeee ;o) Hey, I’m up $5.25 total so far. Can you tell that it doesn’t take much to make me happy? ;o)

Ok, time for business… Some more walking bought me to the party.

It’s a pirate theme… arrrrrrrrrrr

I got my badge, picked up a nice canvas tote bag to hold all the press releases and swag that I would be picking up, and headed towards the exhibitors area. Darn it! Wouldn’t you know they were serving free food here. Oh well. Here’s some info on the products that looked new and interesting…

The first booth that caught my eye was DLO’s (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters). They were showing a new iPod speaker systems called the iBoom. It’s a travel system with a built in clock that comes in White and Black. I really liked the Blue backlight. I’ve been promised a sample after the show, so I’ll have a review in the near future.

My eyes also zeroed in on the PowerBug which is a small AC charging adapter for the 2nd gen iPod Shuffle. They actually gave me one of these to take with me, so review soon!

I then turned around and almost thought I saw Johnny Depp. False alarm, just a look-alike in a pirate suit. He was a good sport and let me take his picture.

Next up was a product from Fujitsu called the ScanSnap. It’s basically a color scanner that can scan 18 page per minute. Who cares you might be thinking… Well what makes this scanner cool is the fact that it scans in duplex. In other words, it scans both sides of the page. No flipping required. Nice huh? I thought so too.

Then I came to the Interlink Electronics booth. They were displaying the Onyx Remote.

The Onyx is a wireless (2.4GHz) presentation remote that has a built in laser pointer and clock. But the best thing about this product in my opinion is the shape of the leather covered module which allows it to fit naturally and comfortably in your hand.

The folks from ifrogz where there with their highly customizable iPod cases. Since the last time I took a look at their products, they have some out with even more. They even have new iPod shuffle holder wrist bands. Fun stuff.

I almost walked by the next booth without stopping. At first glance, they were displaying several digital photo frames. I’ve reviewed several such products over the years, and while nice, they haven’t been the type of product to make my heart beat faster. I stopped for a closer look at one of their larger frames. I almost thought it it wasn’t a digital frame at all, but that it was just for display and had a printed static image on it. Then the image changed and I was really blown away.

The company is Pandigital and their 10″ digital frame is fantastic. I’ve never seen such a bright, smooth, picture from a digital frame. It also has a 6 in 1 card reader built in and according to the president of the company, scheduling and other time related features. All I can say is that I really want one of these frames. The 10″ is supposed to be approximately $250 when it becomes available the middle of February.

Another booth, another iPod accessory! This time it’s iLuv with their new line up of speakers incorporating what they are calling BluePin technology.

BluePin allows you to wirelessly share personal music content from any MP3 player, laptop or mobile phone that is equipped with Bluetooth.

I joked with the guys manning the booth telling them that iLuv hasn’t shown The Gadgeteer any love because they never respond to my emails requesting to review their products. We’ll see if they do now :o)

I know you’re going to think that all I am interested in is iPod related products… because here are some more. This time from Altec Lansing.

Hey look, they even make speakers for the Zune! But the system on the right caught my eye first. It’s the M812, which is a wireless speaker system.

The inMotion iMV712 looked equally yummy with it’s 8.5 inch color display for watching iPod video content.

I’m saving the best for last… OQO was there with their next gen ultra mobile PC. Remember when I reviewed their first model? Well this one has an answer to all my complaints.

The Model 02 looks super sexy with its shiny black case. It reminds me of the Sony PSP in a way. Besides outward appearances, it’s now powered by a 1.5GHz processor, has built in EVDO with Sprint, a better keyboard, better track stick and the screen is spongy any more. Yay! Now if only it ran Mac OS X! ;o) Just kidding… (not really)…

The Digital Experience show was a good time. It wasn’t huge compared to what I’m going to see on the regular show floors the next 2 days, but it was a nice lead in. My 2 fave products of the night were the digital frames from Pandigital and the OQO.

Here’s a shot of the booty I came back with… Nothing super exciting, but a nice haul for 1hr of walking around. And now I’m off to bed as it’s 2:19am my time. More tomorrow!

Read Part 2 and Part 3

Posted in: Articles

33 comments… add one

  • Julie January 8, 2007, 3:22 pm

    Post your comments here on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2007 Trip Report.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/article/ces_2007

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • Hellenek January 8, 2007, 3:50 pm

    Julie,
    Thanx for the ‘experience’! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s update!
    Seriously jealous – not of your soon-to-be-tired feet though :D

  • wirelessandy January 8, 2007, 4:27 pm

    Arrrrrrrrgggh,

    Shiver me timbers! Great report.

    I especially loved the final shot of the swag bag booty!

    I remember trade shows in Vegas with fondness and sore feet. I used to bring a big bag of assorted Dr. Scholl’s cushy shoe inserts for my colleagues. They laughed at first… but not after the first day.

    Keep taking those snapshots, Julie… no matter how mundane you think they are! I love it.

  • JohnKes January 8, 2007, 5:45 pm

    We got a Pandigital 7″ picture frame just before Christmas. It has a good viewing angle range, and a fairly fine resolution screen. It also has ports:
    SD
    CF
    MS
    USB (for USB drives)
    mini USB to connect to a computer. It acts like a 64 MB USB drive when plugged into a computer).
    and an IR remote

    It works a bit funky – it wants a USB 2.0 port, but when I plug it into a USB 2.0 port, my port runs it at USB 1.1 Also, I have a tough time working with files on the internal memory – I can’t modify or rename the files.

    Still, the two included frames look great. I’m satisfied with my purchase.

  • joeru January 8, 2007, 7:13 pm

    Great report! What equipment did you bring with you on the trip?

    – Joe

  • JohnKes January 8, 2007, 7:57 pm

    Great question. The last time I traveled, I had a bag full of chargers. I just got an iGo Ice 90. It came with a dozen tips, one of which fits my laptop. Now I have to collect tips for my other gadgets.

  • anson22 January 8, 2007, 8:50 pm

    Yea Julie, take a pic of the gear you brought along with ya on this trip…

    Just curious, thanks.:D

  • moofrank January 8, 2007, 8:58 pm

    Ballys is ok. If you ever get a chance, though, splurge for a room at the Venetian.

  • Julie January 8, 2007, 9:38 pm

    Hi guys :)
    I’m back in my room for a little rest until another ‘party’ later tonight. My feet are not all that sore. But another part of my of my body is. I’ll have to write about that in my Monday report :)

    JohnKes:
    I think their 10″ frame is using some type of new LCD technology. It was really nice.

    Joeru & anson22:
    Good idea. I’ll add that to Monday’s report. I have to gripe about one of my gadgets anyway…

    moofrank:
    Splurge huh? Bally’s is costing me over $200 a night. How much does the Venetian cost? I’ve stayed at the Luxor, Aladdin, Excalibur and now Bally’s.

  • isobutane January 8, 2007, 9:38 pm

    When I checked Ebay this morning and saw a lot of OQO Model 01+ listed, I deduced that something was up. Woot put the 01+ on a major discount two days ago. I visited the OQO web site and my jaw dropped at what I saw there.

    This is THE computer I have been waiting for.

    I ordered one this afternoon…from the soup to the nuts, the whole package. My Fujitsu P1510D and Dell Axim X51v will both be going up for sale on Ebay.

    Holy mother of pearl. OQO…BANG, ZOOM, to the moon, home run, shoots and SCORES!!!!

    Mark

  • moofrank January 8, 2007, 9:49 pm

    I was at the Venetian for a conference back in early December, and it was $210.00 + about 20-25 in taxes + $10 / 24 hours internet. They only do suites. Mine had a sunken den with iron railings, a massive bathroom with a full bath and a shower.

    Moo,
    Frank

  • Julie January 8, 2007, 10:41 pm

    Mark:
    I hope to get more one on one time with the new OQO tomorrow when I meet with Dynamism. This new version does look super nice… but looks can be decieving. I know how much I wanted to like their first version and then was disappointed.

    moofrank:
    Wow, sounds very nice! Did you wander around the shop area? I love the way they paint the ceiling to look like a blue sky with clouds.

  • isobutane January 8, 2007, 10:47 pm

    Julie wrote:

    Mark:
    I hope to get more one on one time with the new OQO tomorrow when I meet with Dynamism. This new version does look super nice… but looks can be decieving. I know how much I wanted to like their first version and then was disappointed.

    Oh, I know that for sure…but it will be at least eight weeks before it ships, and I can always cancel the order if the reviews say that it is not worth it. It looks VERY promising at this point, so I will hedge my bets. Maybe it will take my mind off the fact that, despite almost desperate measures since release day, I have not been able to get a Wii!

    Mark

  • SQLDba January 9, 2007, 3:04 am

    Julie,

    Would be interested in knowing what you brought in the way of gadgets on this trip.

    Your computer / phone / camera / gadget bag – what ‘cha traveling with??

  • SQLDba January 9, 2007, 3:20 am

    Mark,

    Would love to know what you will be using the OQO for – and why you think this is the holy grail?

    I will admit that it is a very nice looking unit – and I’m stunned that they are able to run Vista on it – (although I wonder how much of that is a marketing ploy)

    In fact it looks great – until you click on the “Buy Now” button and see they are looking for $1500 for one.

    I hate it when back seat drivers post and say “for that kind of money you could buy….” but jeez – that’s one heck of a chunk of change.

    I won’t deny that having a full fledged computer as your “main brain” – carry everywhere system would really be nice. In fact, I used a 12″ iBook for my PDA etc for about 6 months – and still miss it.

    ultimately, I’m just looking for more reasons I can give my wife as to why I NEED one too :)

    BTW – have you seen the Nokia N800 internet tablet that has just been released? At $400 – it looks pretty interesting as well…..

    Now to see what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve in the morning….

  • moofrank January 9, 2007, 4:36 am

    The interior scenic decor is generally great. Paris also has a nice faux interior/exterior. The tragic thing is that you cannot actually seem to get any French food there beyond crepes and snails.

    The Venetian canal/mall also has an oxygen bar which is a kind of surreal experience.

  • JKreft January 9, 2007, 2:01 pm

    Just a couple of thoughts on the Fujitsu ScanSnap…

    Next up was a product from Fujitsu called the ScanSnap. It’s basically a color scanner that can scan 18 page per minute. Who cares you might be thinking… Well what makes this scanner cool is the fact that it scans in duplex. In other words, it scans both sides of the page. No flipping required. Nice huh? I thought so too.

    We just got the fi-5110EOXM, the model before the one you saw, where I work. It’s similar but a bit slower (only 15 double-sided pages per minute). I use it with DEVONthink Pro Office, a wonderful Mac program that includes built-in support for the ScanSnap line and OCR software. It was easy to set up. I created a new database, put some documents in the scanner, pressed the scan button, and have been happily putting my paper documents that had been in a pile into a fully searchable database. I’m using my iBook G4 to do all this.

    We’ll be putting our church’s minutes and newsletters into a searchable database that will let others be able to search this shelf of records online.

    Check out the software for more details. While I’ve had a few “jams” (usually because of bent paper around where the document had been stapled) most pages go through quickly and quietly. If you have a bunch of papers and would like to have an easy way to be able to search through and find specific information in them I recommend using these products together.

    JKreft

  • isobutane January 9, 2007, 5:28 pm

    SQLDba wrote:

    Mark,

    Would love to know what you will be using the OQO for – and why you think this is the holy grail?

    I will admit that it is a very nice looking unit – and I’m stunned that they are able to run Vista on it – (although I wonder how much of that is a marketing ploy)

    In fact it looks great – until you click on the “Buy Now” button and see they are looking for $1500 for one.

    I hate it when back seat drivers post and say “for that kind of money you could buy….” but jeez – that’s one heck of a chunk of change.

    I won’t deny that having a full fledged computer as your “main brain” – carry everywhere system would really be nice. In fact, I used a 12″ iBook for my PDA etc for about 6 months – and still miss it.

    ultimately, I’m just looking for more reasons I can give my wife as to why I NEED one too :)

    BTW – have you seen the Nokia N800 internet tablet that has just been released? At $400 – it looks pretty interesting as well…..

    Now to see what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve in the morning….

    I am buying the OQO Model 02 becuase:

    1) It gives me a lot more freedom in the classroom. I can use it to very effectively take attendance, do my presentations and do all those classroom management tasks with it in my hand as I go around the class. It will also cut down substantially on the bulk I have to carry around.

    2) It will make it a lot easier to do my education conference presentations due to the fact that it will fit into my gear bag with all my other junk.

    3) It will be the perfect travel partner, especially when I go storm chasing (yes, Stormchasers is great stuff, Julie).

    I have wanted a full computer in the same form factor as my HP 200LX since I first had my 200LX. I still have it, too!!! :)

    I had the Nokia 770 and was ultimately disappointed with it. I replaced it with a Dell X51v, which is nice, but the OQO will replace that.

    Mark

  • fishgal January 9, 2007, 5:33 pm

    The mystery item you saw looks alot like a igallop type devise i saw a brookstone. It’s for exercise on your abs etc. You turn it on and have to stay on. It mimic’s riding a horse. :D

  • moofrank January 9, 2007, 6:31 pm

    Regarding the Versalaser: Sears has just released a CNC router for $1800 that does some of what the Veraslaser does. The resolution is not as high, but it does look like an almost affordable geek toy. I just caved and ordered that one.

    And the Internet tablets may have trouble. Apple’s new phone has Wifi and Safari…. It is certainly making my beloved Treo a lot less interesting. Sigh.

    Moo,
    Frank

  • Julie January 9, 2007, 9:43 pm

    fishgal:
    Thanks for clearing that mystery up for me!

    moofrank:
    Please let us all know what you think about the Sears router after you’ve had time to play with it!

    And I agree that tablets maybe doomed after what I’m reading about the iPhone. It really sucks that we have to wait 6 months to actually play with one though!

  • SQLDba January 10, 2007, 3:15 am

    I “watched” the Apple keynote via livetime text streaming w/ snapshots – and I have to say, I was blown away by the iPhone. It seems like everything the Newton wanted to be. Having owned the 120, 130, 2000 and 2100 versions of the Newton – I have a soft spot for anything that resembles an Apple handheld :)

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they or a 3rd party comes out with an Outlook / Exchange client for email. Without that – it severely limits it’s usefulness as a business tool. Push IMAP is nice – but not quite the same. Clearly with the music player, iPhoto etc – the iPhone is not targeted toward the business user, but I think plenty would buy one just for the improved web / phone features.

    At first I was bummed by the 6 month wait too Julie – but knowing how active the Mac developer community is – and assuming this truly is running a version of OSX – when this phone is finally released – there will be a slew of applications waiting for us.

    I can’t say I have been this excited about a peice of technology in a long long time.

  • isobutane January 10, 2007, 9:57 am

    SQLDba wrote:

    At first I was bummed by the 6 month wait too Julie

    Imagine how bummed out those of us on CDMA networks are! :) My New Every Two comes due from Verizon this March. Gotta stick with the big V…they are the only carrier with any coverage in my neck of the woods. No iPhone for us!

    Mark

  • joeru January 10, 2007, 8:33 pm

    Julie:

    Thanks for all the info from the show. Regarding your 750v, I am told that Cingular has a different ROM in their 750 than the 750v has. It should be possible to try that ROM if they fixed some issues.

    I will try a Cingular 750 next week, so I can see if I have the same time zone and alarm issue you have with the 750v.

    I am currently using an 8525 and found it much more usable after a few weeks of use. The first week, it felt very strange. I also installed a few applications that I like alot:

    – AgendaOne is great for one-handed use of the calendar and contacts
    – PTTfix allows me to use the PTT button to toggle silencing the phone
    – TXTMan is a free threaded SMS application
    – Bluemusic allows me to send all audio to my bluetooth headset. Great for listening to Audible books. They are at http://www.teksoftco.com/. That should work on your 750 as well.

    – Joe

  • isobutane January 10, 2007, 9:04 pm

    I canceled my OQO Model 02 order today…the Vulcan Flipstart web site underwent a change today. I would much rather have a clamshell micronote than a slab.

    Thank you so much, Julie, for these updates…I would love to go to CES, but my teaching job sort of kills the chances of attending. :)

    Mark

  • Julie January 11, 2007, 2:40 am

    joeru:

    I asked a Palm person last night if I could update the ROM in my Vodafone version with the Cingular ROM. He said that he didn’t think so. Seems strange to me. I don’t know why there would be an issue. Hmmmm… But the problem with alarms not firing is a Windows Mobile issue. An issue that has plagued Pocket PCs for years. I thought it had been fixed as I’d not noticed the problem until I really needed to count on the alarm. Grrr. My wake up alarm didn’t work again today. :(

    Mark:
    CES is fun but also overwhelming! I’m back home now. Just got in the house about 10mins ago :) There’s no place like home :)

  • SQLDba January 11, 2007, 6:06 am

    Julie – there is the official way to update your ROM – which probably will never happen – and there is the unofficial way)

    Spend some time on the XDA-developers.com website. There is a ton of information here about how to update your ROM as well as the tools and the ROM that you’ll need.

    You’ll discover that you will probably need a couple of programs – 1 to unlock the phone for software updates and then the ROM.

    Chances are you will also find people on the forum who have already done the update and can give you a feel for what you gain by updating the ROM. Past experience with Cingular ROMs have shown me that you often times lose a little. Cingular tends to have a bloated ROM – with the xpress mail, music, video etc applications – so you’ll want to study this.

    Also – I’ve never had a problem doing upgrades like this – but be clear about the risks before you do anything. You paid way to much for your 750 to turn it into a paperweight.

    Also – wondering about your use of the 680? Are we going to see a review of that phone anytime soon?

  • joeru January 11, 2007, 2:10 pm

    Julie: I have not had a problem with the alarm (set via Settings/Clock & Alarms) on the 8525. I just tested it again by setting an alarm, turning the pocket pc off (not a full powerdown, so the phone is on, but the screen is off) and the alarm (vibrate + alarm sound) worked fine. I have had problems with earlier PocketPCs, so perhaps some have the problem and others don’t?

    Looks like some people have put Cingular ROMs on 750vs. Check out http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=280500

    Let me know if there is something you want me to check on the Cingular 750.

    – Joe

  • Julie January 11, 2007, 2:39 pm

    SQLDba & joeru:

    I don’t think I’ll really gain anything by trying to do the ROM update to go from Vodafone to Cingular. Now that I’m back home, I really don’t care that the time might not update again via the network time. My problems with appt times not correctly updating when the time changes is not a ROM issue, it’s a Windows Mobile issue.

    Regarding the alarms, I don’t use the Settings/Clock & Alarms applet. I use the Calendar and just make an appointment. BTW: while typing this I just did two test alarms and both worked fine. Go figure!

    The 680 review is going to be delayed because the device I was sent seems to have some hardware issues. They are going to swap me out for another one.

  • dougom January 29, 2007, 7:21 pm

    Julie, did the Dynamism guys give you any additional info on the Pansonic WordsGear? Like when it will be available, what format eBooks it will read, whether one can convert to its eBook format, what type of music and video files it plays, and so on?

  • Julie January 30, 2007, 1:55 am

    The Panasonic Wordsgear uses a proprietary format for e-books.
    Dynamism is supposed to receive the conversion software to
    load PDF’s and word documents on the device. It is also capable of viewing
    JPEG’s and playing MPEG4 video.

  • fondoo April 25, 2007, 2:24 pm

    after seeing pictures of the nokia n800 on your website. i did some research and eventually went out and picked up a nokia n800. i gotta say, i love it. i no longer even use my laptop anymore. the n800 can surf the net, chat with icq/msn/aim/yahoo/and google, check my email, listen mp3, watch video, and stream video from the internet.

  • Julie April 25, 2007, 3:15 pm

    fondoo:

    I wish the n800 had a GSM radio built into it instead of just the WiFi though.
    Is the screen large enough to be comfortable for web surfing?

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