At CES and holidays I am always excited to head to Pepcom events to check out the new technology related products out. On the night of the World Series I braved the traffic to head to San Francisco for the Pepcom Holiday Spectacular. Because the holiday season is so busy I have not had a chance to review any of the products but here are some of the interesting ones in the family technology area.
2014 Pepcom Holiday Spectacular! Exhibitors:
24/7 is a medical grade sleep and activity tracking application, their new new features include giving users more insight into their sleep than ever before.
ArcSoft will be showing Simplicam powered by Closeli, a home monitoring solution with facial detection. They also had information on Perfect365 – which uses Face Detection technology to scan a photo and automatically map a person’s eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and hairline. Then photos are treated with touch-ups, using nearly 20 tweaking tools that whiten teeth, brighten eyes, remove blemishes and other editing. They can also choose from dozens of pre-set makeup templates.
Belkin International showcased a great selection of holiday tech products from its three brands, Belkin, Linksys and WeMo. I was especially interested in their WeMo family of products that offers home automation, such as in a remote controlled Crock Pot!
I also learned about their Linksys Dual Band WiFi router and how I could possibly swap that out for the default router my home WiFi provider gave us to help power up our wireless reception (and maybe also using a WiFi extender to help rooms far away from the router).
Belkin also had some gift guide suggestions:
GIFTS UNDER $50
Metallic Lightning Cables
$24.99 – $29.99
Vent Mount $24.99
$24.99 – $34.99
GIFTS UNDER $300
Thunderbolt™ 2 Express Dock HD
with Cable $299.99
Linksys WRT1900AC $249.99
Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router $299.99
GIFTS UNDER $150
Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo® $129.99
QODE™ Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air $149.99
WeMo® LED Lighting Starter Set $99.99
Mr. Coffee® 10-Cup Smart Optimal Brew™ Coffeemaker with WeMo® $149.99
Linksys Dual Band Wireless AC Range Extender RE6500 $99.99
Chamberlain Group – MyQ Garage
Chamberlain Group showed MyQ Garage, the connected home device for controlling home entry. “A smart home with MyQ ensures people never forget to close the garage door and can open, close and monitor it from anywhere in the world from a smartphone. MyQ is integrated with Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, multiple home devices through the WinkApp, and other popular connected home apps.”
Channel Master debuted new features and services for the DVR+ platform, as well as a new ultra-low-cost outdoor television antenna. They were also the most popular table because they had the World Series on! Channel Masters new features for its subscription-free DVR+ include YouTube access and an enhanced DVR feature to record only new episodes of a series. The company also added the new low-cost STEALTHtenna to its metro/suburban-centric Everyday Series antenna line along with a consumer-friendly Antenna Selection Guide. Coming in November, the YouTube streaming feature will appear in the DVR+ program guide.
Cobra Electronics showcased “the addition to the company’s Drive HD Dash Cams series, Cobra CDR 825, utilizing a 2.7 inch screen, the largest in the dash cam family, along with the ultra-compact Cobra JumPack, a pocket-sized, portable charger for mobile devices and vehicle jump-starter.” Cobra also displayed some Walkie Talkies that I know my boys would have loved to try.
Creative Labs has home, mobile, and gaming audio products. I was especially interested to hear about their E5 product that can be used an microphone to capture audio for me when I do video. Here is more information from their press release:
“Their Professional-Grade Sound Blaster® E5 is a “24-bit/192kHz 120dB High Resolution USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier for Smartphones, Tablets, PCs & Macs:
- Digital High-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to PC/Mac as a powerful external Sound Blaster
- Digital USB Host connectivity to select iOS/Android models for direct high quality, lossless audio streaming*
- Built-in rechargeable 3200mAh lithium polymer battery provides users up to 8 hours^ of playtime while on the go
- Features wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for one-touch Bluetooth pairing and control
- Supports HD audio codecs such as aptX® Low Latency and AAC for a wireless connection as good as a wired connection
- Connects to entertainment devices such as televisions and game consoles via the optical input jack
- Features a line-in option for analog connectivity to other various audio sources
- Dual headphone jacks allow for simultaneous audio listening
– iOS devices using Lightning connector (iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, iPad Air, iPad Mini)
– Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, Note 2, Note 3; Google Nexus 5, Nexus 7; Sony Xperia Z Ultra; Xiaomi Redmi, Redmi Note, Mi 3; LG G2)
**Actual battery life will vary with usage scenarios, settings and environmental conditions
The new flagship product is an extension of Sound Blaster’s E-Series line of compact portable USB audio solutions. Launched in May 2014, the Sound Blaster E-Series includes the Sound Blaster E1 and Sound Blaster E3.”
ecoATM showed their “automated e-waste recycling kiosk that accepts cell phones, tablets and MP3 players from consumers in exchange for instant cash.” Listed below is an image they shared on what you could buy for holiday gifts from what you get back from trading in specific devices. I have not tried the service but I think trading in old devices are a great way to earn money to buy new devices instead of them sitting in a cabinet collecting dust! ecoATM, the nationwide network of 1,510 automated recycling kiosks, give’s users instant cash for their phones, tablets and MP3 players.
Fitbug Orb is a fitness, sleep and activity tracker. They unveiled Kiqplan, a library of interactive coaching programs that use activity data from almost ANY activity tracker, smartphone or watch to build actionable 12 week plans around specific wellness goals.
Fujitsu showcased their ScanSnap product lineup, including the new mobile and completely wireless scanner, the ScanSnap iX100. Included in the ScanSnap family line is the ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner.
Kensington has USB Hubs, Adapters, USB Chargers and Universal Soft Sleeves as well as new iPad Air™ 2 Keyboard Cases. Their PresentAir Pro Bluetooth® 4.0 LE Presenter “offers three different function modes to support different types of activity presenting, controlling media, or editing and offers one of the slimmest presenter designs on the market. The free downloadable companion app, PresenterWorks, allows users to set buttons to the functions of their choice for greater flexibility and efficiency.”
Kingston Technology showcased holiday gifts ideas including the MobileLite G2 wireless media reader, SD and Micro SD cards and a HyperX Cloud gaming headset that offers extended hours of game play.
KODAK PIXPRO featured cameras and wireless devices including the new SP360 Action Cam, an HD action cam designed to capture 360-degrees of video without the need for multiple cameras.
Lenovo had a few tables filled with their newest devices.
Some of the devices I spent time looking at where the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro, B40 All in One, Y50 Touch mobile gaming and multimedia notebook. But the one I drooled over was the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro because it has powerful features but is thin, light and so fancy!
LifeTrak showcased their line of wearables, including the new LifeTrak BRITE R450, that features light exposure monitoring, smartphone notifications, advanced sleep monitoring and fitness tracking, is waterproof and requires no recharging. The battery used for the device is a watch battery!
Logitech will be showcasing its latest in gaming, music, tablet, Harmony and PC accessories.
The new iOS app TWINE “makes short split-screen videos. Capture opposite or parallel moments in time and TWINE automatically stitches them together“.
OtterBox will be showcasing protective cases for the recently released iPhone 6, GALAXY Note 4 and more.
Parallels Access app (for iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones plus Kindle Fire) “lets you access everything on your PC or Mac just like it was made for your touch-based device (a way to run Windows on your Mac without rebooting).
Plantronics will be showcasing its new line of consumer, stereo and Bluetooth products including the new BackBeat PRO – wireless, active noise canceling stereo headphones with mic.
RadioShack has the latest in sound, toys, power and smart tech for gifting or for upgrading your own tech this holiday season. I went to the press event to celebrate the interactive remodel of San Francisco Bay Area (and other locations) Radio Shack stores. I was really impressed with the selection of tech in the new design. Especially their DIY section that had so many DIY tech projects that my boys could keep busy for a long time!
Here is information about the Radio Shack store redesign:
- “Innovative products from startups and inventors, such as mobile device-controlled robot ball Sphero, educational magnetic circuit boards from littleBits and Lively’s activity sensors that create a smart home for older adults to log daily routines
- An interactive speaker wall where customers can shop and compare different speakers using music installed on in-store tablets
- Experiential displays that enable shoppers to find and compare products, including headphone demo stations where they can listen to leading brands like SOL REPUBLIC, Skullcandy and Beats by Dr. Dre; in-demand devices from Apple, Samsung and HTC; a remote control (RC) toy exploration center; and a GoPro camera display demonstrating the capabilities of several models of GoPro cameras
- Technology that makes shopping interesting and playful, like touchscreens and apps that help shoppers understand the benefits of products
- Full mobility offerings from top mobile carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon with flexible financing plans available all under one roof
- Helpful, informative RadioShack staff who can answer shoppers’ questions about hundreds of products and services and direct customers to the items that meet their specific needs.“
S+ by ResMed: a non-contact sleep system that monitors, analyzes and provides personalized feedback to help improve your sleep from the first night.
Ring Video Doorbell “lets you answer the door from anywhere using your smartphone. It features an HD camera with night vision, providing a clear view from your front door, day and night.”
simplehuman builds smart home-tech that is “simple, functional, and built to last“. I tested the sensor trashcan they had on display and it really was able to tell the different between me waving my hand to open the trashcan versus just walking by. The other brand sensor trashcan I tried kept opening up when I would just walk by it.. Next time I will try simplehuman!
As a leader in slim protective cases for mobile devices, Speck will be showing its latest bulk-free cases in smashing good looks. Their candy shell smartphone cases have been great protection in the past when I dropped my phones (just a few times…).
TiVo showcased the TiVo Roamio OTA, the over-the-air DVR and TiVo Mega.
Totspot is a mobile shopping app for moms to buy and sell gently used kids’ clothes. I think this is a great tool for families to control clothing budgets for their kids – who grow out of clothes so quickly. And also to find great clothes for their kids! “Totspot solves the age-old challenge every parent faces when outfitting their growing soccer stars and fashionistas – kids grow, clothes don’t. The free app has an intuitive interface designed to be simple and fast, and supports easy mom-to-mom mobile retailing, giving families a simple way to cash in their kids’ closets and keep little ones toddler-trendy and fashion-forward. Totspot (http://www.totspot.me) is currently available as a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android.”
TripIt booth is a trip planner keeps travel plans in one spot with features such as custom itineraries, sharing features, travel alerts, alternative flight info, flight refunds and a travel dashboard.
Velvetwire showcased the Powerslayer Blu – an Bluetooth-connected charger with built-in software that “reduces energy waste and promotes battery health”.
ZAGG Inc highlighted their newest accessories for protecting and enhancing handheld electronics.
“InvisibleSHIELD GLASS and HDX: Features HD clarity and 3X greater shatter protection for even industry-leading smartphone glass.
- GoLite power series: A family of portable batteries will charge any device that utilizes a USB, including smartphones and tablets.
- iFrogz InTone earbuds: Feature a smooth surface which rests comfortably on the ear while their 14mm driver delivers vibrant sound.”
Disclosure: This is coverage of a tech press event.