We learned all about Microsoft Sync at CES, and have lots to share. Sync is integrated software that’s factory-installed in certain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars. It allows you to control your cell phone and music player via voice recognition. Once your cell phone is “synced” with the software and your contacts are transferred, just press the button on the steering wheel and speak your command, such as “Call Mom.” Mom is immediately dialed, and you can talk to her without ever touching your phone. What’s also cool is that you can control your entire music library via voice as well, just by saying the name of the artist, song, album or even playlist. Just sync up your iPod (except the Shuffle), iPhone, MP3 player or even a thumb drive, and you’re good to go.
We visited Sharp at CES and checked out their TV specifically for gamers. It’s the GP3 Series of 1080p LCD TVs, with a 6 millisecond response time, which reduces lag time between your beloved console and the TV. It’s even available in 3 cool colors: Red, White or Black. Available for $1500. We also checked out their D64 Series of 1080p LCDs, 20% lighter and thinner than the previous D62 Series. Sizes range from 32” - 65” and are available now.
We loved AquosNet, an internet service in which up-to-the-minute, customizable information (weather, stocks, sports, traffic, Hollywood news and more) appears on the side of the TV screen at the push of a button. AquosNet is free with the SC94 and D74 Series.
New to the videoconferencing market is Creative‘s new inPerson videoconferencing device. The inPerson, which has been in development for four years, is an ethernet-enabled high resolution videophone that will work on cable or DSL connections from 256k to 1 megabit up. It functions on both 802.11b and 802.11g standards, and at 7.5” x 6” x 1” and 1.6 pounds is small and light enough to bring on the road for conferencing while traveling.
The inPerson features dual microphone, a speaker and input jack. The seven inch 640x480 VGA screen can be output to an HDTV or projector for meetings with multiple people on either end. Video calls can be placed to Internet users who don’t have inPerson devices. The telephone keypad dials like a regular phone, and the inPerson stores contacts in an internal contact list.
Creative’s inPerson is available now for $699 and a $10 monthly subscription fee.
HP’s Kevin Wentzel gives us a look at the HP and MTV Take Action Make Art winning notebook design, as well as a first-look at the TX-2000 tablet, during CES. Kevin goes into the HP Imprint process, which is how they get their notebook finishes looking completely fantastic. He also goes into the different specifications that you can get on the new HP notebook computers, which can really be powerhouses if you need them to be. We can expect to see the Artist Edition available this Spring, which will be a limited run. Definitely a collector’s item. Check the video for the full scoop on the latest on HP notebooks.
The Gear Live crew got the only private listening session of the newly-announced Beats by Dr. Dre headphones during CES, and our thoughts are in this episode. Be sure to check out our other Beats by Dr. Dre video, and our Beats by Dr. Dre photo gallery.
We got a private demo with Monster and had the opportunity to listen to what’s amounted to more than two years of obsessive research and attention to detail. All the materials, the drivers, the amplifier and more are clearly thought out and it shows. The response from these is absolutely incredible. Their intent was to allow you to listen to the music as the producer intended and dare I say it’s as faithful reproduction as you’ll find on a $400 set of headphones. It’s enough that I would buy these before buying the nearest-priced Logitech system for my computer. The bass response was impressive to the Nth—low bass held its tonal quality through a great deal of dynamic range, something not usually seen. The midrange was rich and warm and perfectly presented and the high ends came out just as well.
I’m sad because I really want these. I mean, I was upset that I had to go home tomorrow to my sound system, and that it’s nothing close to how these performed. They were comfortable, sexy, and sounded absolutely incredible.
Try these when they come out in June. But only if you’re prepared to buy them.
We saw some fascinating cell phone innovations from Motorola at CES. First was the ROKR E8 phone, with its Modeshift technology. The phone doesn’t have keys. Instead, when turned on, “virtual” keys appear. When pressed you actually feel a vibration, confirming you‘ve pressed the button with a bit of tactile feedback. When you switch the mode to music player, all the cell phone keys vanish and a whole new set of buttons appear, specifically for the player.
Very impressive. Pricing and carriers are not yet available.
When talking to Motorola during CES, we liked the Moto Z10 cell phone, currently only available in Europe. Made specifically for the YouTube generation, the Z10 has a video camera that allows you to crop, add transitions, add a soundtrack and even credits. When done, you can immediately upload your masterpiece to YouTube or fave social networking site from the phone itself. Unfortunately, the Z1- is currently only available overseas.
Okay, PSP and PS3’ers, take note…and start saving your pennies now. Why? Because at CES, Sony announced that their 16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo will hit stores in March. That’s right, 16GB, four times more the highest capacity Pro Duo currently available. That’s way more photos, music, videos,
movies and pure fun than ever. The downside? The storage card will cost a whopping $300 USD—more than a PSP itself. Worth it? You make the call.
Somehow we managed to overlook this rather unique ornithopter from our CES reports. Interactive Toy’s i-Fly Vamp is less than 10-inches, will soar both indoors and out, and is recommended for those over the chronological age of 8. It features a built-in lithium polymer battery that can last up to 30 minutes. The controller itself need 6 AA batteries. We have to admit the kewlest feature, however, is that glowing red eye. The Vamp is available at Radio Shack for $35.99, recently marked down $5.00. Here’s looking at you, kid.
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Sony showed up in force for CES 2008 with a bevy of Blu-ray players in tow. Check the video above for a good run down of the Blu-ray technology. Some of the new interactive features are sure to impress, although many of the features have been available within HD DVD for some time.
Take note of the awkward cut that occurs when we ask them about the whole format war thing and the fact that studios are jumping over to Blu-ray left and right. That is when they stopped and told us they didn’t want to talk about that subject. We pushed the issue a bit, but they wouldn’t budge, so we just cut that portion out. Not sure what the big deal was though, I mean, it seems victory may be at hand for the Blu-ray side of things.
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