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Technology Today - January 2012 Press Day
by Robert Sanborn

Press Day at CES is an opportunity for companies to present what they have and are doing before the Consumer Electronics Show even starts.  Usually held the day before the show opens, it is a chance for me and nearly 2500 other press types to mingle in a madhouse that is press day.

LG was at CES in a big way and the they were truly focused on consumer electronics telling us that they have over 18,000 scientists and engineers working on all sorts of consumer products from the current number one in front load washing machines to developing their own multi-core graphics processing unit for use in their own televisions to enhance the 3D experience.   How about a smartphone that has VM Ware installed. The ability of the phone to have two distinct personalities; one for office work and one for home use that have separate address books, aps installed, and becomes like you have two phones in one.  Also coming from LG would be four door refrigerators that have a “blast chiller” that will cool a can of soda in five minutes or a bottle of wine in about 10. Beer lovers will buy these in droves.

Monster has always been one of my favorite press events for, if nothing else, the enthusiasm and excitement that its founder, Noel Lee, carries to the conferences about what they are doing.  Find them at www.monsterproducts.com and besides everything cable for your computer, they have a world of other products from headphones that are truly cool, and nowadays, very fashionable, to a new technology for power products to keep you from spending far more on electricity for those electronics than you pay for them to begin with.  Monster partnered with People Power to give you green power control units that let you see not only how much power is being used, but let you control them from an internet ap for your iPhone.  Coming in March.  If you are active and use the in ear phones, then go for the iSport immersion in ear headphones. Partnering with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong connection, these are phones for those on the move.  An incredible technology pairing for kids and teens on the go.

Sharp Electronics seems to me this year have hit the nail on the head as to the direction of the consumer electronics industry.  They were started in Japan 100 years ago in 1912. They came out with their first LCD screen in 1988 (14 inches), and today leads the world in production of 60+ inch televisions.   A new technology they will be showing off is the Aquos Board; a 60 to 80 inch screen that is both a television, computer monitor, touch screen, and white board replacement.  It will be expensive but for those companies that need this kind of technology to share information, this will be a major player.   They are rolling out a ton of new 60+ inch screens in 2012 and aggressiveness like this made them the fastest growing TV brand in 2011.  To go with all those screens, they are introducing a sound board that are slim with wireless subwoofers.  Finally, there will be the Aquos Freestyle, a 20 – 60 inch screen that is portable and mobile.  Very cool stuff and if you want more, they are also introducing Sharp Sunsnap AC Solution, a portable solar electric generation system for the home.

Panasonic will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2018.  One of the things they have been doing as a good corporate citizen is to partner with the Fujisawa Smart Town in Japan. This is a project to create a sustainable green power city.  See the YouTube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss0jhOZPARY. Besides getting into green energy for Japan, they are also working on eco solutions for North America as well. They also acquired the solar panel and battery solutions from Sanyo.  You might remember the Sanyo Enerloop batteries as my favorite for long life rechargeable batteries. Announced at CES besides a new line of notebooks and the like are a line of ruggedized tablets as well as a Panasonic Cloud Services.   Panasonic is also continuing their foray into 3D systems and will be presenting the London Olympics of 2012 all in 3D and High Definition.  They are staying into 3D in a big way because their research has shown that 7 million 3D televisions should ship in 2012 and 9 million Blue Ray players as well.  That is huge growth for a market I was wondering about last year.  Like other Television makers, they are getting into all sorts of content addition to the TV watching experience and they are introducing a Skype service for the TV.  Imagine talking to someone in high definition.  It also points to the fact that 90% of their offerings in 2012 will be web connected.  Look also for a MySpace TV from Panasonic to share your TV experience with others.

The other of the big Japanese consumer companies was not to be outdone in their press event and they went out in a really big way.  From having Will Smith (a new MIB Movie coming) to Kelly Clarkson (who will do the Indy Super Bowl National Anthem), Sony press event was fun, entertaining, and very informative. Sony’s chairman Howard Stringer tells us that there are over 900 million Sony Devices out there and in the next three years, expects to have over 300 million network connected devices.  From Sony Entertainment for videos, music, and cloud storage online they want to keep everyone connected online.  To do that, they are introducing tablets that are Play Station certified and will be coming out with PS Vita in February. Another option would be the Sony Xperia, another Play Station certified device that is naturally YouTube and Facebook capable with a monster digital camera.  Sony’s internet TV will be partnering with Google TV.  A new line of the Alpha 77 Digital cameras are available as well as a move into 4K digital technology for the home theater and television.

Another press event that I covered was from Cool Hot Not, www.coolhotnot.com a rather interesting site devoted to helping you select the right electronic products. Cool Hot Not has two parts to the advise you get in that one is from industry experts and the other will be from your friends.  This site will tell you what is best, what is wanted, and what is the worst and with a new social aspect to it, you and your friends become shopping gurus and guides to your friends.  The more people that follow your advise, the more credible you become and the more weight that goes into your review of products.  A site worth looking at with a powerful search capability to help you select what is Cool, what is Hot, and what to avoid.

I am a long time user of the Escort Radar Detectors and currently have one of the coolest and most useful units they have in their Passport IQ and so when they held a press conference, I had to see what they had to offer. What they were talking about was Escort Live, a means of getting real time traffic information as you travel by working with your smartphone. The way it works is that when your Escort Radar detector sees a hidden camera or radar trap, it will transmit that information in real time via your smartphone to the cloud. That information is then transmitted to other smartphones with an attached Escort Radar Detector and is immediately incorporated into that detector’s data base of travel zones. It is all done by a new Smartcord that reprograms the detector and it connects and talks to your smartphone by Bluetooth.  Another cool feature to this technology is that say when a patrol car is spotted in the median of the highway, the system will only keep track of that car for a couple of hours unless another detector spots it to extend the time, so that when the patrol car moves, you won’t have to keep worrying about that location. Great for travelers and look for it by March.  You just need a $79 power cord for many of the existing Escort Radar detectors in use today to make it work.

Other new technologies from Escort include Escort Quickstart. A one touch control for starting and warming up your car on those cold winter mornings. You can also track your vehicle with it and use geo-fencing so that if it goes outside of a particular area, you get notified.   How about Escort Mobile TV to give you digital television on the go using the over air broadcasting technologies.  46 major metro television markets should be on board with this later this year. And then we got a hint of Escort Smart Office, a fully portable device that includes Windows Office Suite, video conferencing, camera, Bluetooth, navigation, and a connection for your vehicle’s health monitoring.  Also later this year.

Robert Sanborn



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