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Accessories take control at CES
By Rik Fairlie
(January 11, 2005)
The coolest accessories to debut at this year's CES focused on letting users take control of their digital data and content--and, in one instance, their pets, too.
The Slingbox from Sling Media lets TV fans access their live television and PVR-recorded content from anywhere, anytime, using an add-on box that sits between a home router and a cable box, a satellite receiver, or a PVR. Pair it with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop, and you can watch television content from any room in the house or wherever you roam.
Complete control of in-home digital data is promised by the Nevo SL universal remote from Universal Electronics. The sleekly designed $800 (estimated) remote includes built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi, which enables it to not only control audio/video devices but also networked PCs and media servers.
For iPodders, Belkin demonstrated a prototype Bluetooth accessory that enables iPods to wirelessly stream music to home stereos and simultaneously serve as a remote control. The TuneStage device consists of a Bluetooth receiver that connects to a stereo or entertainment system and a Bluetooth transmitter that plugs into the top of the iPod.
Fossil boosts your ability to access data by putting it on your wrist. Its new Wrist PDA embeds a Palm-powered device in a watch. The interface is the familiar Palm OS, enabling wearers to access calendars, contacts, memos, and third-party Palm apps. The Wrist PDA is under the Fossil and Abacus brand names and will cost $249 and $199, respectively.
Gizmondo aims to put a lot of data--and fun--in the palm of your hand with its new eponymous portable gaming gadget. In addition to on-the-go gaming, the $399 Gizmondo delivers wireless text messaging and e-mail, GPS capabilities, a digital camera, and a portable video player. It includes an SD slot for data storage. Gizmondo says that 12 games will be available at launch.
Finally, for tech enthusiasts seeking canine control, a new company has taken dog collars sky-high-tech with a new GPS device called Globalpetfinder. It tracks straying dogs by sending location alerts to your cell phone, pager, or e-mail and IM accounts. The 5-ounce wireless device, which houses a GPS satellite transceiver and a cell phone radio, straps onto the dog's collar (it's designed to fit medium and large breeds). Once a pet exceeds a predefined boundary, Globalpetfinder begins sending alerts describing the dog’s coordinates. Globalpetfinder is expensive--$349 for the collar, plus $17.95 per month--but considering the hefty rewards dog owners are willing to pay to find missing pets, it could be good insurance.
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