Thursday, June 01, 2023

The largest and most covered trade show, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) took place last week, and offered way too many cool gadgets to fit into a single column, so we’ll look at some that might make you say Really? Or WOW! CES is inspiring when new items and companies start releasing new items. It gives the global economy a boost.

There’s a fitness-tracking belt, a smart belt that tracks waist size, and automatically adjusts itself for different activities. The belt will automatically increase in size if you get bloated during a huge meal and tell you to hit the gym.

Back in the 80s, the canary yellow Sony Walkman was the coolest. Before the iPod, every portable cassette player with ear phones was called a Walkman. We may have thought they floated into the sunset, but Sony had a better idea. The latest incarnation is a high-end music player that offers crystal clear audio. High-end means a sticker shock price of $1,120.

On the other end of the price spectrum is Windblocker, an item that makes you wonder who thought it up. Its purpose is to make it easier to walk and talk on your cellphone by blocking wind noise that makes it hard for you to hear or be heard. It’s a small clip with foam that you put over your phone’s mic and works like those foam covers you see on real microphones. It’s a cheap fix for $5.

The company that will hit the top this year will be the company that fits out a Smartphone with high end cameras, curved screens, faster processors and more. Companies like Asus, Lenovo and Kodak all released prototypes and offered pre-sales of a Droid Smartphone. The prices for them run as high as the cost of a mid-range laptop and some phones are almost as large, and that isn’t stopping them from flying off the shelves. What’s bizarre is that the more expensive the phone is, the faster the battery dies. Will a company make a battery that lasts more than day?

If you thought the desktop market was over, guess again. There were an overwhelming number of tablets and laptops. All-in-one (AIO) PC systems and laptop-tablet hybrids were also shown by major tech firms like Samsung and Asus.

While Lenovo and Dell ruled the laptop and tablet segments, Samsung, Acer, and Toshiba stole some limelight with their own devices. Small players like Archos and Alcatel, took the opportunity to showcase their technology under the tablet section.

HP introduced a Chromebox and Mac Mini alternative, the HP Stream Mini PC, which comes bundled with a mouse and keyboard. They also introduced the Pavilion Mini PCs, which come in Intel Pentium CPU and Intel Core i3 processor options. Both–HP Stream Mini and HP Pavilion Mini–come with Windows 8.1 and will be available in HPs online this month.

They are real and they are amazing. I am talking about Type-C USB connectors that, if everything goes as planned, will start showing up on devices later this year. Connecting a USB cable to the back of a desktop/ laptop or Car Adapter can be a frustrating experience–hard to tell which side is up or down. No more.

USB Type-C connectors will replace the ‘big’ USB ports found on your computers and chargers. It’s smaller, and there’s no ‘wrong’ way to plug it in–mankind is expected to report a gazillion man hours in annual savings with just this move. They are the same size as the Micro-USB ports found in your phones and tablets, and will find their way to mobile devices. Eventually, all devices–including desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, chargers, cameras, and others–will have this connector. You will be able to plug the cable into a device in any direction, and the cable itself will be reversible. Maybe Apple will adapt the port too, making life easier for everyone.

Shneur Garb is the CEO of The Garb IT consulting group in Teaneck. For questions email [email protected]

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