Posts Tagged ‘ CES ’

HomeSeer: Time for a Redesign

HomeSeer is a home control system that’s been around for about a decade. It’s one of the most flexible and extensible systems available for DIY home automation, and it’s very inexpensive at just $220. It can monitor and control devices over X10, Z-Wave, PLC, IP, and a host of other protocols, and it has a significant support community building plug-ins.

All that said, HomeSeer has suffered in usability for as long as I can remember. And with little UI improvement as the product has evolved, it seems quite stale now. Some add-ons and third-party plug-ins have helped in this area, but I’m fundamentally opposed to the idea of having to “buy up” to a better user experience. The good news is that an update is in the works. The bad news is that it may be a while before we see it.

Been a Long Time

HomeSeer screen shot

As a do-it-yourself home automation hobbyist, I’ve been using HomeSeer home control software for almost ten years, and in that time the user interface has changed very little. In fact, with the decided elimination of support for a desktop client in the 2.0 product, HomeSeer took a step backward in usability, forcing all users to move to a largely-unchanged web client. Roughly five years later, it still sports the same, stale interface—now looking very Web 0.9. It’s bad—bad enough that I’ve been flirting with switching to other systems like Embedded Automation’s mControl or Perceptive Automation’s Indigo.

Designed by Developers?

With all of its power and flexibility, HomeSeer’s UI has been rough around the edges from the start, sporting a (lack of) design sense that suggested the team simply didn’t include a trained user interface designer. I’d guess that the graphic design work was done by developers repurposing freely available web images and playing around in Photoshop (or an open-source alternative).

HomeSeer's old desktop toolbar

The original desktop client mimicked Outlook’s tab bar interface effectively, but the different views were a jumbled mess of mis-aligned form elements, and there was little consistency to the application’s toolbar icons. The surviving web interface is a hodgepodge of inconsistent fonts, graphics, and colors, with nested tabs, rudimentary form elements, and dozens of objects thrown on pages using complex table “layouts”. The overall look and behavior varies slightly by platform and browser, and most pages require a refresh to show updates.

Original HomeSeer 2.0 Touchpad Interface

Over the years, many of HomeSeer’s paid add-ons have further reinforced my UI design concerns, including a (now years old) plug-in for touch screens that made me cringe, thinking, “are you kidding? HIRE A TRAINED GRAPHIC DESIGNER!”

Data-driven Workflow

User experience is about more than design, though. Workflow is a key element, and that’s another area where HomeSeer’s web interface suffers. Device and event configuration seems focused more around data collection than user workflow. And if the INSTEON add-on is any indication, that weakness plagues the application extensions, too.

There’s a Light…

HomeSeer (the company) was one of the vendors at the Z-Wave Alliance booth this year at CES, so I had an opportunity to speak with them about their product roadmap. There’s good news: HomeSeer 3.0 is in the works. It adopts a new technology platform (again), and it will offer a new AJAX UI and a robust API. HomeSeer claims the new UI will be similar in concept to iGoogle’s configurable portal pages to allow for more user customization. That doesn’t engender significant confidence, but I’ll reserve judgement until I see it.

HomeSeer HomeTroller-Mini

We should see an embedded version of 3.0 in a standalone module by this Summer. The device is similar in concept to Universal Devices’ ISY boxes, but it will use a bring-your-own-control-interface approach, so it can support any protocol. It will require no additional server hardware, it will include HomeSeer 3.0 on-board, and you can connect your third-party control interface via a serial connection. The device will also support mobile touch clients (which, today, requires the paid HSTouch add-on), and it should carry a price of just $299.

If you want HomeSeer 3.0 running on your own server, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. The upgrade for the installed version of HomeSeer isn’t expected to be available until the end of the year.

My Advice for HomeSeer

HomeSeer is obviously making strides in usability, but there’s still room for improvement. HomeSeer’s HSTouch interfaces for iPhone and iPad seem to be HomeSeer’s premier offerings now, and while they’re more visually engaging than the legacy product, they’re still a bit clunky: the design is heavy, and they seemingly ignore many iOS UI design standards and best practices.

HomeSeer, I’M BEGGING YOU to focus on improving the user experience in this next release, employing the skills necessary to design and build your new web and mobile user interfaces. One of the strengths of HomeSeer has been its install-and-go functionality. That was great ten years ago, but users expect more now. Design your system around real-life use cases and workflows, and tailor the UX to the specific devices you’re targeting.

Admittedly, the home automation market is a bit of a user experience mess right now with only a few notable exceptions (e.g., Control 4). You have an opportunity to fill a gap in the more affordable market by offering a highly-usable out-of-the-box solution with your next release. Please, please, PLEASE step up to that challenge.

CES 2011, Day 4

For the first time I can remember, I’m not completely overwhelmed and exhausted as I’m wrapping up my time at this year’s CES. I only spent a few hours on the floor today, but here are my closing thoughts:

  • Reflecting back on the past few days, I think it has been a very good show. Reports are that it might be their largest show ever, in terms of attendance. There’s a lot of good technology on the floor, and we’re seeing a resurgence in product development investment from the consumer electronics companies again. That said, nothing really knocked my socks off. There’s nothing I’ve seen or heard about that makes me want to run home and add it to my wish list.
  • Qualcom is demonstrating a color, reflective E Ink-like screen that shows we’ll see some significant progress in this area. The colors are still muted, but they’ve resolved the “flash” problem between page views. I imagine that in two years, we’ll see some very competitive products with impressive reflective displays.
  • HomeSeer is working on a much-needed upgrade to its home control software offering, and they announced that a self-contained automation controller with an embedded version of that software will be available this summer for about $300.
  • There were literally hundreds—possibly thousands—of tablets on the floor this year. How many will really gain market penetration? I’m betting on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, and Motorola’s Xoom to give the Apple iPad some much-needed competition. I continue to posit that Microsoft Windows 7 tablets won’t really go anywhere, and given Ballmer’s lack of discussion about them this year, I suspect they’re starting to believe that, too.
  • Last year, TV manufacturers were pushing 3D. And while adoption has been low and the market is still a confusing mess while the technology evolves, they’re pushing it hard. But 3D wasn’t the headline story for TVs this year—apps were the story. Apps on nearly every TV. While I’m in the wait-and-see camp on 3D, I’m firmly in the Hell-no camp on Apps for the television—particularly when they’re built into the device itself. Whether they gain traction is anyone’s guess. If nothing else, at least the manufacturers are innovating…or trying to, anyway.
  • I packed both my iPad and my notebook computer with me to Vegas with the intent of seeing if I could live on my iPad alone at the conference. I took the iPad to the floor each day, and I used it extensively, but two things kept me from using it exclusively: Watching Microsoft’s keynote required Silverlight, and the WordPress app for iPad sucks.

And finally, I’ll be tuning in this week to Verizon’s big announcement. iPhone? We’ll see. Will I switch? Probably…but not right away. Let’s see how their new network fares, first.

That said, if it’s a new iPad, I’m in.

CES 2011, Day 3

After a third day on the show floor, I’ve seen most of what I want to see at CES this year. Here’s another quick update of my thoughts for the day:

  • I was pleased to start the day off by running into CNET’s Molly Wood and catching up with her briefly. Unfortunately, I missed most of the shows on the CNET stage this year.
  • If you want OnStar’s safety, security, and convenience features, but you don’t have an OnStar-enabled vehicle, you can now buy an after-market rearview mirror replacement with many of their best features for $299.
  • LG is showing off an amazing windows-based interactive display wall targeted toward classrooms and education.
  • LG’s smart TV has a Log In link on its dashboard screen. Good grief, who wants to have to log on to their television? Even on a connected television, that had better only be for initial setup. Have I mentioned how I feel about apps on the TV?
  • I also saw an Android TV from Hisense [a company I’ve never heard of before]. That’s Android TV—not Google TV. After playing with it for a few minutes, though, I couldn’t actually figure out how to get to the TV part of the Android TV.
  • Kenmore, Samsung, LG, and a host of others are demonstrating connected appliance ecosystems that monitor and regulate power usage and allow remote control, alerts [think: the roast is done!], and diagnosis capabilities. The appliances—some real and some conceptual—will use standard home control protocols like ZigBee and Z-Wave to communicate.
  • Ford has released a developers’ hardware kit for the My Ford Touch platform. Oh great…more apps.
  • Audi showcased new car tech and a few tricked out vehicles in a whited-out booth area reminiscent of 2001’s Space Station V.
  • No word from Verizon on Thursday about the iPhone, but rumors abound as evidence is stacking up for a Verizon iPhone announcement next Tuesday.
  • If I have to look at one more tablet….

And finally, unrelated to all the gadgetry, I had the pleasure of taking lunch with a dozen or so incredible people from the Adobe development community, reminding me that meeting, connecting, and learning is such an important part of the CES experience.

CES 2011, Day 2

After my second day at CES, I have to admit that as much as I’m enjoying myself and as interested as I am in what I’m seeing, there’s no one product on the floor that has really knocked my socks off. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of interesting out there. So here are my impressions from day 2:

  • I’m so sick of seeing tablets.
  • Haier is showing off a prototype flat-screen TV with Windows Media Center build into it. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s a concept that has some potential if they don’t overbrand and otherwise cripple it.
  • Monster still creates hideous remote controls with odd ergonomics.
  • Samsung’s connected appliance line uses ZigBee for status reporting and control. They’re showing a nice sample control app on the Galaxy Tab.
  • iSys is showing off the Xi3, a mini-footprint computer with some impressive specs.
  • Silicondust’s HDHomeRun Prime network tuner is a real, working device this year, but it’s still awaiting certification.
  • The Dynamics credit card is a smart card that can be programmed to support multiple accounts, selectable at time of purchase.
  • A few vendors have interesting iPad wall mounting solutions that could be useful for turning old iPads into home control panels once new iPad models come out.
  • Creative’s Pure Wireless ziiSound T6 speaker system should give Bose some competition in the desktop computing space. They have amazing sound, and they suppor multiple, selectable external input sources, including Bluetooth audio and Creative’s enhanced Bluetooth audio spec.
  • Universal Electronics’ Smart Control remote is an affordable activity-based remote that could make the One for All remote line more competitive with Logitech’s Harmony series. It should be available in the U.S. within a few months.
  • Many vendors are showing CFL and LED lighting options, but a select few have bulbs in color temperatures comparable to traditional residential lighting. From what I saw, Solé is showing the best incandescent bulb alternative and Smart has the best LED alternative to halogen spots.
  • SimpleHomeNet has released a control module that allows your home control software to leverage X10, INSTEON, and Z-Wave devices, all with one interface.
  • Since I have poor depth perception, the whole 3D TV craze is lost on me, but Sony’s passive 3D LED theater screen had me mesmerized.
  • Roller bags are the bane of my existence. Particularly since those dragging the bags behind them seem oblivious about how their bags are blocking traffic paths and impacting others.

CES 2011, Day 1

CES seems as big and crowded as ever this year—very few remaining signs of economic difficulties here. I’ll post more commentary and photos later, but for now, here are my initial thoughts:

  • I’m already sick of tablets. The analysts and press were right on target: everybody’s showing tablets—including vendors you’ve never heard of before. Microsoft is showing tablets: Windows 7 tablets. Again. RIM’s Playbook and ASUS’s Eee Pad Transformer were the best I’ve seen so far.
  • If Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D TV is any indicator, we’re gonna be stuck with the glasses for a while. This technology just isn’t there yet.
  • Verizon’s “big reveal” today was for consumer 4G LTE service and devices. Didn’t we already know that?
  • The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic is awesome.
  • Kinect is fun—even with dozens of people watching you make a fool of yourself.
  • Microsoft’s keynote was a big disappointment. With Gates’ departure also seems to have gone the vision. Ballmer read through a deck of slides promoting all the great stuff they’ve been doing, with little talk of the future beyond the usual marketing fluff. AvatarKinect was probably the most interesting thing discussed.
  • Yamaha isn’t here. Again.
  • The AT&T service here is worse than I ever remember it being before. The Verizon MiFi is the only thing allowing me to get any reasonable data service. Meanwhile, my AT&T phone is constantly searching for a signal, can’t hold a call, and burned through its battery prematurely by trying to reconnect and resend repeated failed data exchanges. I understand that the demand at CES is extreme, but this is just inexcusable.

For some more perspective on Day 1, check out my colleague’s comments.

Readying for the Microsoft Tablet, Take 5

CES is just a week away, and the technical press speculates that this will be the year of the tablet. Last year, eBook readers were abundant, but they were largely overshadowed by 3D TV hype at every turn. But this year, Apple really stuck a thorn in the industry’s backside, and now everyone’s trying to catch up.

Microsoft has been trying to tap this market for nearly a decade now, and I’m sure we’ll see them at it again at CES. Before going there, though, let’s review Microsoft’s four previous, largely unsuccessful attempts at getting a foothold in the tablet space:

Microsoft Tablet PC

Take 1 (2002): Tablet PC. Microsoft Introduced the Tablet PC platform on a variant of XP, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Consumer devices were essentially convertible laptops with a stylus, though some keyboardless slate devices were also produced. These never gained wide adoption in the consumer space, though hardened builds for industrial applications still survive. The touch and writing capabilities required for tablets were absorbed into later versions of Windows, but otherwise this platform is largely dead.

Microsoft Smart Display

Take 2 (2003): Smart Display. Microsoft tried to tap into the casual home use market with the Smart Display, which essentially extended your existing Windows PC to anywhere in the house. This underpowered (Windows CE) keyboard-less touch panel created a remote desktop connection to your PC over your wireless B [only] network. It was hefty, had limited media capabilities, and prevented anyone else from using the PC while the display was in use. It lasted about a year until Microsoft killed it.

Ultra-mobile PC

Take 3 (2006): Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC). Intel and Microsoft teamed up to introduce the Ultra-Mobile PC, or UMPC, as an alternative to a full-fledged laptop for light-duty media, social, and gaming activities. Dubbed “Origami” by Microsoft, the devices ran Windows with an added skin layer optimized for touch on the small screen. Usability issues, poor battery life, and general market confusion prevented these devices from gaining any serious ground.

Ballmer introduces the HP Slate

Take 4 (2010): The Slate. At 2010’s CES keynote, just weeks before Apple was expected to announce their new tablet product, Ballmer tried to beat them to the punch by announcing the HP Slate, running Windows 7. It was clearly a media stunt—the device wasn’t ready for production, and everyone soon forgot about it after the iPad was announced, even though industrial devices finally hit the market by the end of the year. The general consensus from the press and the industry, as proven by Apple, was that retrofitting a full-blown desktop operating system for tablet use just doesn’t work.

So I have to wonder: what’s it going to be this year? The heat is on in the tablet space now that Apple has established the iPad as the de facto device and Android tablets are in nearly every corner store. What’s it going to be this year, Steve?

I’m hoping for a device loosely based on the (poorly named) Windows Phone 7 platform. It’s time to give up on the desktop Windows OS as a mobile platform. It just doesn’t work.

CES 2010 Wrap-up

Companies showed their wares at this year’s CES, and I spent just two days on the show floor, trying to see as much as I could. Disappointingly, I was hard pressed to find DVRs or any tru2way devices, but there were plenty of other media, mobile, and computing devices to ogle. Here are some of my favorite finds.

Western Digital TV Live

Microsoft was showing off the device compatibility and media sharing capabilities of its Windows product line. This may Western Digital box may look like an ordinary external hard drive, but it’s not. The Western Digital TV Live is a networked, DLNA-compliant device that lets your TV stream video content from the Internet or from your own home network—at 1080p. And it works as a Play To destination for media on your Windows 7 PC. Connect it to your TV and audio systems with HDMI and S/PDIF or with analog component video and audio out. You can also piggy-back up to 2 external USB hard drives for local media storage.

LG Networked Storage

On the server side, LG was showing off Windows 7 certified networked storage devices, including a new Super Multi NAS with Blu-ray re-writer drive. This DLNA-compliant, multi-terabyte server can stream media to players throughout your home, and Blu-ray storage gives you true, lifetime backups for removable, offsite archives.

Archos 9

In what clearly came across as a pre-emptive “me too” move, Microsoft showcased tablet devices—most of which don’t exist yet. This rare exception, the Archos 9, does exist. $550 gets you an 8.9″ touchscreen Windows 7 tablet running the Intel ATOM 1.1 GHz processor. It’s a beautiful device, but at 17mm thick, it seems bulkier than it should and evokes memories of Origami. This is, in fact, Microsoft’s fourth attempt at a portable, touchscreen device (following, the Tablet PC, the SmartDisplay, and the UMPC).

Sony's Dash tabletop Internet device

Sony’s new Dash is a tabletop Internet device for the home that looks strikingly similar to one of Sony’s newer digital alarm clocks (snooze button and all). It’s actually a Chumby in a new suit that—perhaps not coincidentally—can double as an alarm clock. It features a clever design and an accelerometer that flips the screen when laid on its back. It will be interesting to see if people are willing to shell out about $200 for tabletop widgets when this thing comes out.

Flipower USB charger

How do you charge your phone or portable device when you already have two things plugged into the only nearby outlet? Powertech proposes a new solution to the problem: piggy-back on something that’s already plugged in. Just slip the flip-out tongue of the Flipower USB charger over the prongs of your lamp, alarm clock, or whatever, and plug it back in. Voila! The charger pulls juice from the prongs plugged into the outlet then swivels for easy access. Innovative, eh? So much so that it was one of the Innovations Honorees at this year’s show. The manufacturer hopes to have these in retail channels by the second half of 2010.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is a beautiful, thin Android phone with an insane display resolution of 854 x 480. The interface is fluid and responsive, and the device itself fits perfectly in your hand. Communications—calls, messaging, and social media updates—are aggregated in single, scrollable timeline. Its 8.1 megapixel camera includes smile detection, flash, and face recognition software, and the media applications are just gorgeous. It uses removable microSD cards for up to 16GB of storage.

But don’t go stand in line at your local wireless service provider just yet—this baby is only going to be available through Rogers in Canada.

POLLI-Brick structural blocks

MINIWIZ built its booth with POLLI-Brick—a recycled polymer structural block created from old plastic bottles that are reformed into interlocking blocks. These blocks are fitted together and UV coated to provide a translucent, insulated curtain wall. Installed solar LED lighting adds ambient light to the space and a pleasing visual effect.

It’s not just a concept. POLLI-Brick is being used in the construction of a new building for the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition.

LG X300

LG’s X300 is a very thin ultra-portable PC with an 11.6″ display, a 2GHz Atom processor, and SSD storage. Built-in 3G, WiFi, and Bluetooth enable online access and synchronization, including specialized software that allows you to sync and reply to text messages from your netbook. When can you expect to find this on shelves? Uh….

LG thin LED TV prototype

Plenty of folks have been showing thin TV prototypes for the past few years at CES. And while last year LG was demonstrating small OLED TVs on flexible substrates, this year it’s about more practically-sized thin LED displays. Their thin LED TV prototype is so thin, you may be wondering where it is in this picture. It’s the vertical black line dead center—too thin for me to focus on it. The image on this 55″ display was bright and vibrant, but most people were mesmerized by the side angle view, as in this photograph.

Pro-Power Kit with Straight Blade Inlet

Don’t have power on the wall where you want to mount your TV? No problem. DATACOMM’s innovative Recessed Pro-Power Kit with Straight Blade Inlet lets you connect power and media cabling to your TV through the wall. At first glance, this looks a little frightening, but that male plug on the lower plate isn’t hot—it’s basically just an in-wall extension cord. The plate with the outlet goes on the wall where you plan to mount your TV. Then install the plate with the male plug near your equipment and plug it in to your surge protector or power conditioner with an ordinary heavy-duty extension cord.

HD HomeRun CableCARD prototype

Of everything at CES this year, my favorite product, by far, is SiliconDust’s breadboard prototype of the HD HomeRun CableCARD TV tuner. These guys already make one of the best home theater devices available—a network-based ATSC and QAM tuner that works on nearly every HTPC platform, including Sage TV on Linux, EyeTV on the Mac, and Media Center on the PC. This new CableCARD product will split a single digital cable input, decode it based on your subscribed services, and distribute the two signals to Windows 7 Media Center PCs in your house over your wired home network. And they expect to have a product on the market by the second half of the year, at a price point under $250. That’s two networked tuners for about the same price as ATI’s single-tuner CableCARD decoder.

My CES 2010 Posts on Twitter

It was a much busier (though smaller) CES this year. There were some notable no-shows on the floor, but overall it seemed like a much better show. Here are some of my thoughts that I posted on Twitter as I experienced the show.

WhatAnnoysMe Dear CEA: Love the free press lunch at #CES, but these cocktail napkins are useless.
WhatIveLearned Sony Ericsson’s new Xperia X10 Android phone will only be available through Rogers…in Canada. #CES #CNETCES
WhatIveLearned Pelican case for the iPhone includes a waterproof headphone jack that supports audio out, but not the mic for the phone. #CES #CNETCES
WhatImpressesMe Watching @BuzzOutLoud live on stage at #CES. #CNETCES
WhatAnnoysMe Marvel has a HUGE booth at #CES. I still have no idea what they do.
WhatAnnoysMe EHX@CES is kind of pathetic. I hope it’s not a sign of what to expect at the March expo in Orlando. #CES
WhatAnnoysMe Not sure which is more obscene: the booth babes at #CES or the attention they drawl.
WhatImpressesMe Control 4 home control has a phenomenal number of partner vendors exhibiting at its booth. #CES #CNETCES
WhatImpressesMe Silicon Dust is showing off a prototype HD HomeRun CableCARD tuner. Network-based, 2 tuners, <$250! #CES #CNETCES
WhatIveLearned Mental note to self: the pre-emptive Aleve, before hitting the show floor, worked. #CES
WhatIveLearned Apple’s Genius playlist feature on the iPhone and iPod Touch is powered by Gracenote. #CES
WhatIveLearned #CES packing tip: Don’t pack more socks than you need. They take up space, and how often do you really change your socks mid-day anyway?
WhatImpressesMe I’m onboard and ready to go. Spoke with @acedtect in the airport, and I got an exit row with lots of legroom. A nice end to a great #CES.

My CES 2009 Posts on Twitter

CES this year was exhausting, loud, and slightly less crowded, but nonetheless interesting. I used Twitter to quickly post information about my experience.

WhatImpressesMe Great seat near front center section at Balmer keynote. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe I’d be a lot happier now if I had taken time to eat before the keynote. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe First night of the show, and I already forgot to have some cards with me. #ces09
WhatImpressesMe Seeing my first SteadyCam in the wild. Incredibly cool. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Balmer announced that Windows 7 beta is now available on TechNet and MSDN. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe It occurs to me that I should have brought a better camera to the keynote. #ces09
WhatIveLearned @jimmyfallon is coming to CES. So Jimmy, are you a gadget freak, a correspondant, or a special appearance at #ces09 ?
WhatIveLearned HP is discontinuing its MediaSmart Connect Media Center Extender. #ces09
WhatIveLearned RealDVD will work on your Windows-based HTPC with a standard Media Center remote control. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Nero LiquidTV brings TiVo (for analog cable, ATSC, and clear QAM) to your HTPC and stores programs as standard MPEG-2 video. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe OK, it’s official: I hate the way the Blackberry Storm soft buttons and keys work. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe I forgot how much I hate these assholes that walk through CES with their roller-bags. #ces09
WhatIveLearned SanDisk will be selling 2.5″ Solid state drives later this year. $249 for 120GB, $499 for 240GB. #ces09
WhatImpressesMe Sexyist memory card reader I’ve ever seen. #ces09
WhatIveLearned The menus in Windows 7 Media Center now support touch gestures. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Missed the Digeo Moxi press conference–didn’t know about it. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Motorola is showing off a set-top box with caller ID and medication reminders–for the fully integrated life! #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Played with Surface a little earlier. Not exciting…it’s still too abstract. #ces09
WhatImpressesMe Insanely thin television screens at the LG booth. #ces09
WhatImpressesMe Southwire is finally demonstrating Flatwire for 120v electrical current–UL cert pending. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Should have arrived at CNET’s Next Big Thing session earlier. I’m litterally standing in the back corner. And can we have some air? #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Really? You’re going to come in late and then stand in front if us? #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Worse: most of these latecomers are leaving mid-session, lacking the stamina to stand for an hour. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Sony just seems irrelevant to me anymore. They lost me on root kits. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe Once again running late for live @BuzzOutLoud show. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll get this right. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Sony BRAVIA Link let’s you choose from snap-in modules (DVD, Tru2Way, HDMI), integrating selection and control with the TV’s menu. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Canon does optical image stabilization by moving the glass IN the lens with a gyro. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe iLuv is showing off a dummy prototype of a new iPod/DVD player; not a working prototype–a mockup like you’d find in Best Buy. #ces09
WhatImpressesMe Mattel is showing Mind Flex, a game where you navigate a ball through a maze…with your mind. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Boxee is doing a closed test of a Windows version now. #ces09
WhatIveLearned Powercast is demonstrating RF power-over-distance harvesting with lighted ornaments and lighted tile prototypes. #ces09
WhatAnnoysMe I’m calling it. I’m officially CESed out. Had a great time, but my back hurts, my feet hurt, and now I need to think and write. #ces09

Is Wireless Power Finally Here?

PowerCast demonstrated wireless power at this year’s CES, showing how up to a watt of energy can be “broadcast” and received by various devices. While this isn’t an entirely new concept, this company seems to be best positioned to do something useful with it. This is nothing like the induction charging you may have seen on razors and toothbrushes. PowerCast’s technology harnesses energy from an RF field. Their initial research is focused on delivering consumer and military applications. The first consumer application could be trickle-charge solutions for portable devices: lay your phone or personal media player on your desk or hotel night-stand, for example, and it would start charging automatically!

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