We’re camped out at the CES 2008 Bloghaus sponsored by Seagate. It’s a swanky suite at the Bellagio with the best internet in the city and an open bar. We’ll be using this as our base of operations to edit and push up all of our exclusive video but we’re getting ready to watch Bill Gates’ last CES keynote real soon now.
You can see us live on the CES Bloghaus website. Woo.
Not one to be left behind by Ugobe’s recently released, highly lifelike Pleo robotic dinosaur, Wowwee’s fired back with their announcement of their 2008 product line. Mr. Personality, pictured, features a full color LCD screen that portrays “personality” through animated facial features displayed on the screen. He’s also expandable, by virtue of USB or a media card. Wowwee also announced the plasticky, bellbottom-donning FemiSapien robot. FemiSapien can dance to music and “even speak her own language of emotive sounds,” kind of like a life-like, freakish Sim.
My experience with Wowwee is that they present the cold, dark, plastic filled and android-esque side of the robotic toy world. They last year demoed one of their robotic toys for me that had what I could only liken to an epileptic seizure, flailing around and then off the table. It was… macabre. I think that Wowwee’s going to really need to kick things in to gear in order to be able to hold their market here. The Pleo is adorable, has well painted, silicone-based skin and emotes far better than anything we’ve seen from Wowwee. They also “evolve” in their personality (or will soon, once a firmware update hits). Wowwee’s robots fall of the table and scare me.
It’s even more impressive that Pleo only cost $100 more than, say, the RoboSapien when it was initially released. Wowwee charges far too much for something that’s not damn close to the Pleo’s quality and feature set. Get ready, Wowwee—there’s some serious competition in town.
For the ultimate in convergence check out Pioneer‘s latest in-dash GPS stereo unit. Like some other units the GPS the high-resolution 5.8” screen can pop out to provide GPS and tunes on the go, but unlike the competition this new head unit keeps drivers safe with voice activated navigation and music controls. When the GPS unit is popped out you can take it on the go for directions either while walking, or when driving another car.
Outfitted with Voicebox technology the driver can give commands verbally like “Play Honeycut - Aluminum City” or “Navigate to the Space Needle in Seattle” so as to not have to take their hands or eyes off the road. The Bluetooth capabilities also allow for hands free calling to further enhance the drivers safety. Music in WMA or MP3 format can be played from SD cards, or streamed from Bluetooth phones. The AVIC f500bt also provides strong iPod integration allowing for playback and control of iPod stored music.
Available soon for a yet unknown price. For the inconvenience and high technology packed into this car entertainment don’t expect it to be cheap though.
Read More | Pioneer Press
With a standard laptop hard drive form factor and more than 500GB of storage capacity Samsung‘s new Springpoint drives are sure to make a splash. The 2.5-inch hard drive is a mere 9.5mm thick allowing for installation into most standard laptops and sub-notebooks. The new drive has three 166GB platters spinning at 5400RPM with 8MB of on-disk cache and a standard SATA3 interface.
With the drives expected to be available in March of 2008 be on the lookout for notebook manufacturers industry-wide to be releasing portables with the increased capacities in the late spring an early summer - perfect for work or play on the go with all your data, not just the measly 60-120GB you might be toting around at the moment.
Building on their line of Squeezebox and Transporter music network devices, Logitech is introducing the Squeezebox Duet. Consisting of a brand new controller with a full-color 2.4 inch LCD screen and a receiver that utilizes 802.11g, the Duet allows users to stream music from any computer to any room with an audio setup in the house, browse their music collection, and view album art.
When the Squeezebox Duet’s receiver is registered, users can even use the receiver and remote to browse Internet radio stations, subscription-based music services, and music that the user has uploaded to the open-source SqueezeNetwork, no computer required. Additional receivers can be added in order to control the music in every room in the house, separately or synced so that every room is playing the same thing. For people already using the Squeezebox (and Transporter) system, controllers can be purchased alone and integrated into an existing network.
Squeezebox Duet will be released this month and will retail for $400. Individual receivers will retail for $150, and standalone controllers will retail for $300.
Read More | Logitech Press Release
Even in the age of high-capacity SSD‘s Samsung belives in the hard drive based microdrive. The newly announced A1 features 30GB and 40GB capacities, a 3600rpm rotation speed, 2MB buffer memory, and a greatly increased shock resistance of 650G’s (650 times the gravity of a stationary object on earth).
As for how they managed to cram 40GB of storage onto a 1” platter, well, that just boggles the minds of the editors here at Gear Live. We expect to see a bevy of new handhelds, digital audio players, and cameras with built in storage with room to grow coming in 2008.
Read More | Samsung Press Release
Samsung has unveiled their new 128GB SSD (Solid State Disk) here at CES 2008. The new 1.8” drive connects to laptops via the SATA3 standard, and features a 70MB/sec write speed. These newly bumped up write speeds combined with the durability and low power consumption of SSD disks should mean a whole new crop of hard drive free laptops springing up in 2008 with stunning battery life and nearly instant-on performance.
Read More | Samsung Press Eelease
Billed as being “thinner than last month’s Wired magazine” and similarly thinner than an iPhone, Pioneer unveiled their Kuro HDTV concept model at their press conference today. The 50-inch plasma weighs in at a relatively paltry 41 lbs and just 9 mm thick. They also claim they’ve “made contrast ratios irrelevant” by eliminating ALL idling luminance, producing completely true blacks. We’ll see how it looks later this week, as they’ll have their concept on the show floor but the early photos they have are impressive to say the least.
Since these are merely concepts, they won’t be available for another year or so but it clearly shows the direction Pioneer is going with their form factors and by “obsoleting” contrast ratios.
Look forward to some video coverage on the floor unit once the show opens up.
As always Logitech has raised the bar for home media automation with the Harmony One. The CES-unveiled Harmony One shares features previous Harmony home theater remotes by offering the same easy to use action based control, wizard based setup options on your computer, rechargeable batteries, and a contextual 2.2” LCD screen.
The Harmony One has touch sensitive buttons that both look and feel far more modern than it’s predecessors. The remotes sleek new piano-black finish will be appearing on store shelves soon for an undisclosed price. Be on the look out for a full in-depth review as soon as we can get our media-loving mitts on this new remote. In the meantime, we have the full release available for you, after the jump.
That’s right peeps - the Gear Live crew has touched down in Vegas, and we are ready to rock this year’s CES out. We have our two video crews ready to hit the events, along with a few of our standard writers as well. I’m talking about Andru, Sparky, Jenny, Lolita, and Chris. We are supported by our fantastic video crew which includes hacker extraordinaire Nate True, along with Jesse and Brenda Ferguson.
So, what do you want to see? We are going to be hitting the big parties, the major (and minor) booths, and everything in between in our attempt to bring you the amazing and obscure sights and sounds on CES 2008.
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