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ShowStoppers 2007 wrap up

Posted on 15-Jan-2007 10:25 by M Freitas | Filed under: News

There are many small events running parallel to the 2007 International CES, and some are open to the media only. Those events bring selected companies to meet a smaller number of media people, making it easier for people to find interesting products and services. It is a great opportunity to spend some time and establish better contacts than on the show floor itself.

One such event is the ShowStoppers, hosted in one of the ballrooms at The Wynn in Las Vegas. The organisation was great, food was nice and I had the chance to meet some old friends while walking around the floor.

Below are some of the products I had the opportunity to see and I thought would be interesting to follow during 2007:

Telenav solutions for GPS-based navigation. Interesting small devices for in-car and mobile phone usage.

Headplay Personal Cinema Display is another one of a series of devices I've seen in the last couple of years, offering a very small LCD close to your eyes, giving the impression of a gigantic display due to the perspective. According to their documentation is like watching a 40 foot screen inside your lounge. It can receive images from different sources, including the TV Out from your media player (assuming your media player has got a TV Out).

Zyxel seems to be investing heavily on media distribution. showing the NMP-1100w Wireless Digital Audio Player, the DMA-1000 Digital Media Adapter, and the PLA-400 HomePlug AV Power Line Ethernet Adapter.

The iRecord PMR-100 allows users to directly record movies, songs, TV shows, video game clips and more directly to an iPod, PS or USB storage device all without a PC. Simply plug the source, the destination and press a button. The device will use H.264 to encode the video and ACC for audio compression in real-time, with support for NSTC, PAL and SECAM.

NetStreams was showing the Streaming Music Manager, a device that when plugged to the home network will find and index digital content, enabling easy distribution to the private network. The user interface shown on the second picture is running on a Motion Tablet PC.

Memeo is a complete software for automated backup aimed at consumers. After configuration the backup is performed automatically when files are create or modified, including options for multple destinations.

The OQO Model 02, the first true ultra mobile computing device launched a few years before the UMPC concept came to the market, continues to be updated. This new version comes with integrated CDMA EV-DO connectivity through Sprint and is based on an 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 802.1 a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 and a sliding keyboard.

Seagate was present at ShowStoppers with a series of small drives for personal backup, plus the Maxtor OneTouch series of large drives, including 500GB and 1TB external units with options for RAID 0 and RAID 1.

Kinoma was present at the Palm booth, showing their streaming client on Palm OS devices - but most impressive was seeing the software running without problems on a Windows Mobile Palm Treo 700wx, thanks to StyleTap, an emulation platform that allows Palm software to execute under Windows Mobile. No word on when a native Windows Mobile Kinoma Player would be available though.

Trolltech's Qtopia Greenphone was present at ShowStoppers, and I thought it was an interesting take on smartphone devices. The Qtopia Greenphone is the hardware components of the Greenphone SDK, providing an environment for developing application soft6ware for the Qtopia Phone Edition. It just happens that we don't have the consumer version in the market yet, but developers have access to a platform. Microsoft did the same a few years back when they introduced a Windows Mobile Smartphone developer kit, and it took about two years to have the device coming to the mainstream consumer market.

The Greenphone is based on Qtopia Phone Edition 4.1, running Linux Kernel 2.4.19. It provides a touchscreen and keypad UI, QVGA LCD, Marvel Xscale 312 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM and 128 MB flash, plus Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS radios.

The IOMEGA Rev is a series of removable storage solutions including desktop and server-based devices all based on the Rev discs, which can store 35GB or 70GB. The picture shows the server autoloader, with a USB 2.0 interface and up to 8 discs for a total of 560GB storage (non-compressed).

Since I have a Palm Treo 750v and a Treo 700wx here I was curious to check the new Otterbox solution for these devices. An interesting ruggedised case, dustproof, offering drop and crush protection, but still providing access to the PDA functions.

You might remember the Orb, a device that was designed to convey information through colours, from data received through radio waves. Ambient Devices is doing it again, this time with a stand alone weather station, which is also being incorporated into a refrigerator, coming to houseware stores soon. While there, I was also shown a umbrella that will never let you get wet: a series of LEDs will make the handle glow blue if the weather forecast is for rain, so you will remember to pack it when going out. I was told the idea was inspired on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings' Frodo's sword, which glows blue when Orcs are in the vicinity.