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Prepping for world's biggest gadget jamboree

Maggie Shiels | 11:39 UK time, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Consumer Electronics Show is humungous. There are 2,700 exhibitors this year launching 20,000 new products, and displaying them across 1.6 million square feet of space.

Room at CES being set up


On offer is everything from connected cars and TV's to tablet computers and smartphones. There are also connected fridges, robots, kids games and technology to give your body and your brain a work-out.

If someone can stick a sensor on it and hook it up to the web, it's most definitely here on display at CES.

The big show doesn't officially get underway until Thursday, but preparations are in full swing with crews working through the night to get everything done in time for the hoards of press and bloggers to descend.

The press-room looked weird, devoid of sweaty bloggers, journalists and the hubbub of news in the making.

Last night I attended an event called CES Unveiled that claims to offer a glimpse of some of the gadgets we may be buying throughout the year. Let me rephrase that - gadgets the makers hope you will fork out for.

It was a mixed bag and all very random. Lots of offerings to power up smartphones, laptops and tablets to storage devices with 64mb of space, paper shredders, scanners and a watch with a camera on it.

The device that ticked myself and my friend from NPR radio off was called SeekerPND by pipSqueak because it was apparently developed to give women time to rummage around their purse to find their phone. The way it works is it actually answers your phone for you and tells the person calling that you will answer shortly and to stay on the line.

Another weird but interesting device looked like a bicycle pump that harnessed kinetic energy when you walked around and used that energy to, say, charge your cellphone.

The nPower PEG's internal battery receives a charge from both plugging it into a USB port and through the energy you generate, whether or not you sling it in your backpack or executive briefcase. The device harvests and stores the kinetic energy that you're already generating and converts it into usable power for recharging over 3,000 hand-held devices such as your cell phone, MP3 player or camera.

One fun project on display was sponsored by computer manufacturer Lenovo. It challenged case moders to rethink the way its devices can be displayed.

Dean Liou


Dean Liou bought a game cabinet to display a laptop in a way that might appeal to gamers in particular. He called his creation the Arcade Dock.

"My inspiration was taken from the street fighter games that I grew up on," said Mr Liou.

Jeffrey Stephenson went old school. His computer was encased in an expensive shell made up of birds' eye maple and teak.

"I hate computers and the way they look and I wanted to turn it into a piece of furniture that would fit in a living room and not stick out like a sore thumb," said Mr Stephenson.

He has been a case moder for nine years and prefers art deco and mid-century modern for his design aesthetic.

James Fislar is at the other end of the artistic spectrum and going for something a little more modern. He turned his model into a block of ice using resin.

"There aren't too many blocks of ice cases out there and I just thought this would capture the imagination."

It certainly worked where the judges were concerned and Mr Fislar was made the winner ofLenovo's Mod building contest.

Music also made a big play at CES Unveiled with a host of exhibitors displaying digital radios and fancy headphones. The company that got the most attention was House of Marley. And if you are thinking surely not THAT Bob Marley, the answer is yes.

Rohan Marley


The company is run by his 11 children and at the event was son Rohan Marley who said "it was important we were able to create something that not only speaks Marley but represents the music genre as a whole in terms of superiority and quality."

The headphones, boomboxes, iPod docks and the like are made using sustainable and recyclable materials from hemp, leather and plastic.

"Anything you see that says 'Marley' has to represent the earth, charity, giving back and being socially conscious. Our father left us a message, on your way up - take us up. On your way down - don't let me down," said Mr Marley.

Check in with this blog, the Click team and the BBC News website's technology section for more gadget craziness throughout the rest of CES.


  • 1. At 12:32pm on 06 Jan 2011, E6BadBoy wrote:

    64mb of space? Sure this isn't 2001?

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  • 2. At 12:39pm on 06 Jan 2011, Adam K wrote:

    "Lots of offerings to power up smartphones, laptops and tablets to storage devices with 64mb of space"

    Are you sure? Might be able to put a whole album full of photos on that! GB maybe?

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  • 3. At 3:37pm on 06 Jan 2011, E6BadBoy wrote:

    Even 64GB isn't much. Can already get USB drives with 256GB or HDD with 3TB!

    My Nokia N97 which is over a year old can take a MSDHC to increase the memory to 64GB.

    Set your sights a bit higher.

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  • 4. At 6:36pm on 06 Jan 2011, Tams wrote:

    Despite the 64mb, oversimplification and some errors in punctuation, this is actually a fairly good report Maggie, at least in comparison to some of your others. An Apple product was only mentioned once and in an appropriate manner (there was no reason for it not to be there) and rightly so as Apple don't go to CES. More happy with the lack of comparisons.

    Yes, I know I shouldn't have gone on about the above, as many of you are sick of hearing it, but I thought I'd give some praise where it is due (even if it should be expected) and I know I should get onto the actual topic at hand...

    My opinion of CES so far, is just shut the hell up about 3D. It won't happen, but I can only hope. The highlight so far for me has been the Fujifilm HS20EXR, as I have been anticipating it, as well as the Fujitsu Lifebook T901. Can't seem to get that much information on products from small companies though, which is a shame. The worst product? I think it has to be that iPhone neck strap/balance "thing".

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