The Consumer Electronics Show has officially kicked off with CES Unveiled, a chance for the assembled tech reporterati to get their hands on a selection of products showcased in Vegas. Crave was there, braving the enormous queue and assembled throng, and elbowing our way to the front of each stand. We barely got out with our clothes still on, but we did capture a memory card full of eye-catching, cool products.
Not many of the big guns were plying their wares at the relatively intimate event, held at the Italian-themed Venetian Hotel. This means many of the real treats are still to come, hurray! But until the show proper opens on Monday, Crave brings you a selection of the more interesting products from CES Unveiled.
Click through the links for docks with a shock, diamond-encrusted cats, a Shrek-themed laptop and much, much more. -Rich Trenholm
Imagine if, in The Matrix, Keanu had decided that he wanted to take a more pacifist stance, and attempted to resolve the human/machine dispute through the healing power of music. He might have said, "I want docks. Lots of docks."
Judging by the number of Vestalife Ladybug, making its debut at CES. With a built-in subwoofer, the Ladybug is a cute little ball of fun that does...docks on show at Unveiled, the organisers of CES might well have said the same thing. This particular dock is the
...this! The Ladybug comes in lots of colours, if grey isn't your thing. This includes some spiffy tie-ins with skateboard makers Element, such as a none-more-black skull 'n' crossbones design that would give your nan nightmares.
More audio for you speakernuts, sorry, I mean speakernauts out there. Described by Eclipse's insanely tall PR chap as "the music player for the autophile audiophile", the CD7200 car stereo impressed us simply by having a front bit that folds out so CDs can emerge like butterflies from a cocoon. That's a bit shallow, isn't it? Hey, don't judge us! It's also HD Radio-ready -- more on that later -- and includes an iPod-friendly USB connection.
The Yanks may be totally different to us when it comes to mobile phone use -- no txting, r they cr8zee? But there's still a few mobiles, sorry, cellphones here at CES. Samsung is showing off a line that was nominated no less than 13 times in the CES Innovations Awards.
Pictured are three of said honorees, from left to right starting with the red and black one with all the buttons, called -- appropriately enough for Sin City -- the Blackjack, the SCH-u620 and the Blast.
If you've ever wondered where your jetpack is, or hankered after a silver jumpsuit as a viable alternative to jeans and trainers down the Wetherspoons, you'll probably be keen on the idea of videophones. They've never really taken off, largely due to being rubbish. Perhaps the Viable VPAD will change that.
You don't need another VPAD to make a video call: the software can be installed on any computer with a webcam. The twist behind Viable is that the company is driven by people with a real understanding of visual communication: deaf people. In our picture, the nice chap demonstrating the VPAD has given up trying to teach us sign language and has instead lowered his horizons to helping us to count to, er, three? Hmm, still needs some work.
Moving from phones with screens to good old-fashioned screens, we meet one of the first televisions of CES. With rumours rife of a Panasonic TV bigger than the bed we Cravers share at Crave Towers, it seems screen inches will be grabbing all the column inches here in Vegas.
HANNspree's Xv series are among a raft of HD screens vying for position at the show, with the German company making a point of showing off the gaming qualities of the HANNspree and budget HANNS-G range.
Speaking of products hogging the column inches, say hello to the OLPC. That's One Laptop Per Child, a laudable project that involves giving lime-green laptops to Third World kids. Y'know, like the ones on Children In Need. Because food, water and Nike trainers aren't important: we need to get these kids on Facebook.
This particular OLPC is being shown off by AMD, because that's who makes the world-saving laptop's Shrek ears. Or something.
Also on the AMD stand is an NEC product that illustrates one of the three universal truths: cab drivers don't give a satnav about the rules of the road; girls can't throw; and, if you can buy it, you can buy it with a Hello Kitty logo on it.
Not only is this a pink laptop with Hello Kitty on it, it's a pink laptop with a diamante-encrusted Hello Kitty on it. For prices and availability, email Crave with your address so we can come round and punch you in the face.
It seems like only five days since digital music Cravera 'save for later' feature in iTunes. Oh wait -- it was. Fortunately, the likes of Polk have thought outside the box with an Innovations Award Honoree called the I-Sonic ES2, an iPod dock and so-called 'HD Radio'. When the I-Sonic ES2 plays a song you like, you just hit the big blue Tag button. Your docked iPod remembers the tagging details so when you next plug your scroll-wheeled wonder into your computer, iTunes launches with those pesky tunes you just can't get out of your head front and centre.
Sounds great for this song we heard the other day, it goes, "Never Gonna Give You Up, something something something..." If only we knew what it was called!