you can't see how crowded it is in this pic....

Niche Tech at CES 2012

you can't see how crowded it is in this pic....

Innovations at CES Unveiled 2012

A mere 3 hours after my plane landed, I squeezed into 2012’s CES Unveiled Exhibition : the show before the Show, as it were. In fact, the word ‘squeezed’ might be too understated; the place was utterly rammed with jetlagged journos hungry for good food and good stories.

A chap got his wristwatch caught in my rucksack! Cue awkward but funny unentangling

The CES Unveiled Zoo

This year’s theme focused more on household tech rather than ‘bling’ toys.  A cleverly designed flat plug which gives wall outlets USB charging facility prompted me to wonder why it wasn’t done before. Another retailer a few metres away had a slightly different, cleverly designed flat plug which did the same thing.

If the Unveiled show was the precursor to CES 2012 proper, then niche-tech i.e. ‘doing one thing well’ looks to be next on our consumer tech lust list. Take Qooq, for example – a recipe-centric tablet. (More info on Qooq from Cnet)

actually, the spicy ahi tuna sushi was lovely.

Qooq Recipe Tablet with plates

It plays movies and music, like a lot of the other tablets on the market. But its makers have stuffed the tablet full of High Definition video of ‘gourmet chefs cooking stuff’, and made it more rugged, i.e. ‘kitchen-friendly’. $399 gets you around 3,000 chef-demonstrated recipes, sitting atop a Linux-based OS. The tablet’s been around since 2009, and already sold over 15,000 units in its native France. Further recipes can be streamed from the internet (for a subscription, of course).

Bodymedia's FIT kit.

Heart-rate monitors, pedometers and other body-sensing kit has been around for a while. For a TV feature a few years back   for the BBC, I wore a then-new device from Bodymedia that measured calorie burn-rate. At the time, I had to download my device manually every few days. But the 2012 reboot uses the owner’s smartphone to update results in real time on the web. And, like the designer USB wall plug, competitors aren’t far behind, with another company showing a similar device.

Zensorium's Tinke

Another sensor, Tinke, comes from Zensorium – plugged into an iPhone, it takes your pulse and measures oxygen saturation and respiration levels. Fitness console games have proved there is a market in this area – and the makers are keen to ‘upsell’ the lifestyle aspect of tech like this. Of course it tracks your progress, and gives you the option to compare your score with other users.

Bikn's Tag

Treehouse Labs, a wireless sensor company, showed Bikn (pronounced ‘Beacon’).  Remember those old keyrings you had to whistle to find? The modern version uses an app and custom-made iPhone case to trace tagged precious items to within 30 metres or so – a  small but significant move toward the inevitable ‘Internet of Things’ that everyone keeps talking about.

What do I think these devices have in common?

Most of these devices focus on just one thing, and base it on something else’s power. The USB Charger uses existing wall sockets, the cooking tablet plugs into the net, the body-sensing and tagging devices tap into the processing power of a smartphone. Each product stands a chance of being successful in the market place because it fulfils a specific need that our ‘do everything’ smartphones can’t quite manage yet. Specialist add-on gadgetry is emerging.

More ClickBits

They say work expands to fit the time available – and in this case, the 3 minute tech round up on the BBC’s website takes the better part of a day to make.

This post is really to chronicle the 3rd and 4th episodes so I can remember where I put them on the internet…  Click on the picture to get re-directed to the BBC’s site.

Clickbits Episode 4  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits004

The really bonkers one to do was Episode 3 which I pushed down from Las Vegas during an evening where every other technology person there was also trying to send video.   Once the video was sent back to the UK,  Zoe and Gary put the pictures together on the other end.

It was very strange sending down raw material and seeing a put-together programme emerge at the end of it.

Clickbits Episode 3  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits003

These links were filmed next to the Intel touch-wall, which was a giant interactive cube pulling pictures down from flickr. It was being run on what looked like a normal laptop – which surprised me – the graphics card in there must have been rather tasty.

If you want to see some pictures from CES 2010 , pop over to my flickr site here for a look round some of the weird and wonderful gadgets on display here.

CES 2009 – more pictures

A few pics from the last few days at CES – I’ve got a couple of great interviews in the can including one from a guy at Microsoft who was on the development team for Windows 7, and Akon – although I’ll edit these on the plane home tomorrow (if I don’t sleep, that is).

fatal1ty at the creative stand ces 2009

Fatal1ty kicking butt at the Creative Stand CES 2009

 

look at the thickness of those babies!

Said like Comic Book Man from the Simpsons: thickest.... cables.... ever!!!!!

 

where all the proper work gets done

CES 2009 Networking centre

 

ces 2009 - after closing!

Emptying the floor at the end of the day, CES 2009

 

bbc click shoot the stevie wonder interview at ces 2009

Stevie Wonder and the BBC Click team - shooting the interview

 

diana ross singing at the monster party ces 2009

Diana Ross singing at the Monster Party, CES 2009 - I'm at the front!

 

lamborghini on a stand at ces 2009

Lamborghini at CES 2009

Las Vegas CES 09

Good morning  – at least, it’s morning here in Las Vegas.  It’s the day before CES 2009, the world’s largest trade show for Consumer Technology, and the largest annual trade show in the USA according to the data sheet next to me. 

070120091224 by LJRich

Las Vegas CES 2009

Apparently, people from over 140 countries attend the show, and its popularity is reflected by the packed plane I arrived on yesterday, where, believe it or not, the person sitting in the seat next to me ate my food whilst I was asleep – why? Because apparently, she didn’t like the chicken. 

here comes the monorail! Las vegas

Las Vegas Monorail - $5 a ride

CES debuts from years past include the VCR in 1970, the Camcorder in 1981, HDTV in 1998, Microsoft’s XBox in 2001 and OLED TV in 2008.  Consequently, this morning I awoke with 2 intentions – 1) get up early and have a look round and 2) hit the all-you-can-eat buffet with a vengeance.

all you can eat at las vegas buffet - 1st one to explode wins by LJRich

There are more stations behind me - a shrine to gluttony. Yippee!

So, after a filling meal of pancakes, french toast, potatoes, eggs, fruit and a cinnamon bun, I’m ready for some serious gadget input. 

lj rich blogging in the press room at ces 2009, las vegas  blogging this in the Press Room!Tonight’s party is the Pepcom Digital Experience, where many exhibitors are showing off their new stuff. I shall be bringing my trusty camcorder with me to record anything utterly bonkers or incredibly useful.

 

Please let me know if you’d like me to look up something for you.

Nicole Cooke, Gold Medallist, shows me her medal!

… it’s heavy for its size, like a good bit of electronics.

Here’s a video of what happened when I met Nicole Cooke, the person who brought back the first gold medal for the UK in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.  She won the Cycling Road Race.

(Rss readers / can’t see the link? click here )

I turned up at an out-of-the-way studio, and fought my way through rails of incredibly fashionable sportswear accompanied by pumping loud music, gigantic umbrella flash reflectors, and lots of people.  This was a photoshoot for Nike’s Here I Am campaign featuring women in sport,   

Nicole was refreshingly down-to-earth about her impressive win, and when I asked where she kept her Gold Medal, she replied that when she wasn’t carrying it around for worky things like this, it was in a pouch at home – she only gets it out when people want to see it!  She talks about her training regime in the video, which sounds (unsurprisingly) punishing; obviously she looks great on it – I must admit being inspired to get in shape and eat less chocolate as a result of meeting her and the other ladies. 

Note: This video was meant to be released ages ago, however, a funeral, the flu and then all this new stuff at the BBC kind of got in the way.  Thank goodness for the xmas break, which meant I could finally get to work on these projects!  There’s one more vid post coming up before CES 2009, which couldn’t be more different from this video, it involves a sweary heavy metal band being interviewed in the back of a van.

And next week, I’ll be blogging from Las Vegas with all the latest gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show.

Back in Blighty – Back to Work

So I’ve finally returned back to the UK, absolutely tired out, and completely and totally culture shocked by the craziness that is Las Vegas and the ridiculousness that was CES.

I found out that there were 2 million square feet of exhibition space of which I probably only managed to get across a fraction- and even then that was with incredibly hard work and very, very, very comfortable shoes.

For now I’m back in the UK – once I’ve finished unpacking and sorting through my email, I’ll be spending time getting ready to talk about JVC’s MG330 HD camcorder on QVC UK . For the purposes of this blog, and for general curiosity, I’ve found out that a) QVC is the biggest electronics retailer in the world, b) Marco Polo House, where the studio is, was named after real broadcasting Satellites in Space and c) the UK arm reaches 21 million households, which explains why people come and chat to me in really odd places like Milton Keynes British Rail Station.

Actually, it’s great fun when people come and say hello most of the time – although I once got recognised at a certain large 24hour supermarket at 3am buying Imodium – that’s the not-so-glamorous side of life in the public eye – “Hi LJ, how are you? Oh, not too well I see” was the gist of that particular conversation.

On the plus side, when I was flown over to QVC in America, where it’s the 5th most watched channel in the States, I went to the mall the day after the show, and someone came up to me and said “Wow, you’re that videogame girl from England!” – that made my week!

So I’ll be broadcasting live for 24 hours on the 27th January and it will feature JVC’s hard drive camcorder that I took around CES with me to Vegas. So that should be quite fun. It’s still quite surreal chatting away to my phone and I really am enjoying this blogging service, it has to be said. SpinVox might even come over and film me doing this which should be even more fun, although I don’t think it will be very telegenic to have SpinVox film me doing what I’m doing right now which, at the moment, is my laundry 🙂

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through January… I’m in the studio with Graham Wood working on some exciting music projects, and this week I’ll pop over after the initial recording session to do what is known in the trade as “Tweakage” – I’ll also be composing a mini ident (that’s about 3 seconds of music) for a digital device, which is always exciting, as I love to take into account the acoustics of the device, and what it looks like before working out what tune it should have!

spoken through SpinVox tweaked by LJ

Lost at The Venetian in Vegas

Take a look at the picture on the left – what really got me is that I wasn’t outside, I was on the 3rd floor of the gargantuan Sands Expo / Venetian Mutant-Sized Hotel Complex.

So I spent today at the Billboard Digital Music Seminar at CES. If you add 8 hours of interesting interviews about the state of the music industry, together with (for some reason) air conditioners in the conference room set to “superconducting”, and a quite frankly impressive amount of coffee, I was not just disoriented, I was M&S disoriented.

Just to give you an idea of how odd it is to happen upon a mini Venice, this is the back view that I came from. It’s not enough that you’re wandering around St Mark’s Square, eating gelato and hearing opera music piped through the hidden speakers – to make it even more italian, the gondoliers are all accomplished singers, warbling sweetly as they punt you around the man-made canal.The more I see of this city, the more I’m falling in love with it. It’s so bonkers, I feel more normal.

Last night, I bumped into a whole bunch of female gamers, one of whom had the same birthday as me. We’re chatting in the taxi queue, and then we’re in a taxi to Caesar’s Palace, where we go to a place called Pure, a very exclusive club. I wish I could have stayed there, but, dear reader, I had to get back to do some editing, dedicated as I am to the cause.

I tried my hand at Craps tonight, and appear to have quite the knack of throwing the dice – I’m still amusingly foggy over the rules of this baffling game, but I put 20 bucks on the table, and walked away with 32 – yes, the last of the big spenders, but I’d rather spend my money on the coffee so I can make the most of my last few hours here. By the way, today’s vid is TV with a twist. Catch it at www.virginmedia.com/digital, or type “LJ Does Vegas” into Youtube and do please write something nice after you’ve seen it!

p.s. Here I am at 2am watching FileZilla do its thing from the hotel. I love the fact that because there are over 180,000 geeky tech folk converged in one place, myself included, we’re all trying to get online, all the time. The internet connection is pitiful 🙂 I also love the fact that the queue for Starbucks downstairs in the morning is amusingly long – every time I stand in it, I wonder if there would be the same queue for coffee if there was some kind of holistic health show on instead. I swear, caffeine is the drug of choice for the tech industry. Apparently, the coffee place in the convention centre actually ran out of beans on the first day of the conference, they’d underestimated the caffeine consumption of a bunch of techies by quite a large margin ! Right, I’m *really* going to bed now. Goodnight.