Give me a lipstick MP3 player or give me death
OK, digital binoculars will do
CES Our first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrap covers a little bit of everything - from a new twist on binoculars to a pen-sized scanner. If gadgets are your thing, please proceed with pace.
The leather iPod bar
We’ll start you off with something familiar and easy to digest. It’s the line of device accessories from French firm Manhattan Cellular (MCA). This year’s CES proves that mobile device covers – and iPod accessories, in particular – aren’t unique. MCA, however, does produce some of the best kit on display and has products available for cell phones, MP3 players and video game devices, such as Sony’s PSP.
The leather gear, if that’s your kind of thing, stands out and can be found here.
The binoculars from Sightwave Optics stand as anything but familiar. They’re a new take on an old product and a real improvement.
With these digital binoculars, you no longer have to fiddle with focusing on an image or messing around with separate eyepieces. The Sightwave product provides a cushioned single-frame viewer and allows users to zoom in and out with the push of a button.
At the moment, you have to cough up $549.99 for a bulky-but-well-crafted device. David Bellefuil, the inventor of the digital binoculars, hopes this price will come way down if an OEM agrees to manufacture the product in volume.
The current digital binoculars weigh 28.6 ounces without a battery and provide up to a 22x zoom.
You can have a look at the product here.
Is that velvet?
The whole wearable computer craze continues to plod along, and Eleksen makes some of the key technology backing up this trend.
To date, Eleksen has provided a type of washable “smart” fabric that lets clothing makers digitize their outfits. For example, backpack makers, jacket peddlers and suit designers sell Eleksen-based products that have internal pockets for MP3 players and then the controls for the device built-in to the sleeve or side panel of the fabric, as you can see here.
What’s new at CES from the company is a fabric, wireless keyboard. The keyboard comes in various colors and rolls up to form a package about the size of two cigarette lighters laid end-to-end. When fully extended, the keyboard provides a much larger typing surface than some of the plastic jobs sold for PDAs and cell phones, and, if aesthetics matter to you at all, this is the device you’d prefer.
Have a look at the keyboards here.
Let me get a download off your lippy
By far the coolest MP3 players we saw come from a company called Digital Integrated System, which kind of sucks for most of our readers. The Malaysian firm only sells its MP3 players and digital storage devices in, well, Malaysia.
You’ll want to check out its slick kit anyway, though, paying particular attention to the Blue Thunder Primo Lite. This product comes in two parts: a lipstick-shaped storage device and a mini speaker system. When you twist the head of the lipstick storage, it actually pops out a USB connector.
Is that a scanner in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Lastly, we have the DocuPen handheld scanner.
This device is 8.5 inches long – for obvious reasons – and about a quarter-inch thick. You can drag it down a page of plain text or now even colour images and produce an instant scan.
The pen can store hundreds of images, which can then be downloaded onto a PC and sent via fax or email or simply kept for personal use. This could make a great gift for a college student looking to grab tons of text without running back and forth to the copy machine.
The device should go on sale at CompUSA in February for $299. You can find more information on the device here.
We recommend giving it a test drive, if possible, before you buy, as performing the scans takes a delicate touch and there is some lag time when storing large color images. Still, this could be the device for you. ®