Among the many products released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each year there are often some that stand out for being particularly innovative, and this year’s CES was no disappointment. Here are my three picks of the show.
Panasonic wearable camera
One of the most talked-about products from Panasonic this year was its new wearable video camera, the HX-A100: Point-of-View Active Lifestyle Camera. By clipping the camera onto its Earhook attachment users can literally wear the camera at eye level, and control the recording functions via a hand-held controller, which can be mounted on an arm-strap. The camera can also be mounted on a helmet or backpack using the optional Multi-mount. The HX-A100 camera also is waterproof up to 1.5 meters, making it a very versatile action camera. Other features include a dustproof design and stabilization, to make your off-road adventure less shaky, automatic shot-leveling capability, to give some perspective to your ski trip, and the Wind Cut function, so people can hear what you’re screaming while taking a skydiving plunge. The camera records in full HD quality, and has Wi-Fi connectivity, making it easy to stream, upload or control remotely when linked to a smartphone or tablet. The battery lasts 140 minutes on a single charge when recording in HD. It will go on sale in March for $299.
BoomBottle take-anywhere speaker
This next product won Best in Show at CES 2013 and is a clever way to listen to music while riding your bike. The BoomBottle Rugged Weatherproof Wireless Speaker by Scosche can be neatly slipped into your bicycle’s bottle cage. It works as both a wireless speaker and a hands-free phone system that links to your device through Bluetooth. While it is “rugged” — being splash-proof and with a dust- and debris-protective screen — it doesn’t seem to be quite as tough as it perhaps could be. The subwoofer and omni-directional speaker provide high-quality sound to you and those around you, raising the question of whether this device would bother the people you ride by. A single charge of the lithium battery will last 10 hours. It is available through the Scosche website and retails for $149.99. Due to high demand, it is currently out of stock, but you can sign up for notification of the next shipment through the website: www.scosche.com.
The Pebble Watch
This last product, the apparent darling of CES, is the Pebble Watch, which is a “smart” watch with an e-paper face that links to your iPhone or Android. The Pebble is highly customizable, starting with the selection and download of your watch face design, and choosing your strap color. It also has its own app store which developers are free to create new apps for. Some existing apps include the bike-computer app and a running app.
However, the key benefit of the Pebble is its ability to link to your phone using Bluetooth, giving you vibrating notification of text messages, incoming calls, email, Twitter and Facebook activity, which may be handy when your hands are full or your phone is buried in your bag. Linking to your phone also allows the Pebble to work as a remote control when you have synced to a stereo system. It also has its own accelerometer, and uses your phone’s GPS. The battery lasts seven days on a single charge.
The Pebble is now going into production after a very successful Kickstarter campaign. There are five color options for the face frame: black, white, red, orange, and gray. Pre-orders can be made at getpebble.com and it will set you back $150.
Follow Jess Mantell’s tweets about design and technology on Twitter @jessmantell.