The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has come and gone. The show took place during one of the toughest economic climates in years, but that did not stop major companies from making new product announcements for items that could help you on the road.
Our friends at Engadget were the “official blog” of the CES this year, which is both an honor and probably a major hassle, as it means keeping up with the 1000’s of announcements and hand picking the stuff that is worth reporting.
I’ve gone through all of the products they talked about in the past week, and have picked a couple that I feel could benefit travelers (or are simply so cool I had to mention them).
The Palm Pre (pronounced pree) was without a doubt one of the biggest hits of the show. Palm has been in a bit of a rut for several years, and I’d almost given up hope of them ever recovering.
With just one product announcement, they went from zero to hero. The Palm Pre is an absolutely gorgeous phone, with all the features you’d expect from a high end smartphone. Powering the machine is a brand new operating system, so their dated PalmOS is finally making room for something fresh.
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Palm, I was carrying the original Palm Pilot when it came out, and it saddened me when they started to go downhill in recent years. With the Palm Pre, they seem to be back with a vengeance, and that really does put a smile on my face.
The Palm Pre will be out later this year, pricing is currently unknown, and it will launch on Sprint (CDMA). A GSM version is currently being developed and should be out several months after the Sprint release.
Sony Vaio P
Rumors of a new and amazing Sony ultra portable computer had been floating around the web for about 2 weeks before the CES. So, when the machine was officially announced it was not much of a surprise. That does not make the new Vaio P that less impressive. Sony have taken a Netbook style machine, and turned it into the kind of ultra portable only they can make. In fact, the Engadget editor was so impressed with the Vaio P, that he featured it in his own uncut video clip with Jimmy Fallon.
Inside the P is a very high resolution screen, GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G and all the usual bells and whistles you’d expect to find on a premium netbook.
The Vaio P is available for pre-order directly from Sony, and prices start at just under $900.
LG Watch Phone
Watch phones are nothing new, Chinese mobile phone makers have been churning them out for several years. In fact, the concept of a watch phone has been around so long, I’m amazed it took a major manufacturer this long to finally bring one to the mainstream.
The LG Watch phone is a quad band GSM phone, and comes with pretty much every feature you’d find in a normal mobile phone. Calls can be made using the integrated speakerphone, or with a Bluetooth headset.
The device is expected to go into production later this year, but pricing is not available yet. Engadget posted a short video review of the LG Watch Phone on their site.
Clickfree Transformer USB cable
The Clickfree Transformer turns any portable USB hard drive into a fully automated backup device. I think we all know that the majority of us absolutely suck at making regular backups. When I travel, I even carry an external hard drive, but I still don’t always make backups when I should.
The Clickfree Transformer cable goes between your PC and your hard drive, and turns the combo into a fully automated backup solution. You just plug, and backup. At $59.99 it’s about the same price as many software backup solutions, so it’s fair to say that the cable gives you great value for money.
The Clickfree Transformer cable is available on the Clickfree site, and costs $59.99.
Novatel Wireless MiFi
The concept behind this gadget is brilliant – take one part Wireless router, add one part 3G mobile broadband card, and combine the 2 into a sleek and portable personal hotspot. We’ve covered a different personal hotspot in the past, but the MiFi is the first to include the 3G modem inside the unit.
The Novatel Wireless MiFi should be available on a currently unnamed CDMA carrier later this year (my guess is Sprint), and as with many other new products, nothing is known about the price just yet.
Callpod Chargepod V2
Have I ever mentioned how much I love it when a company takes an award winning product, and improves it even more? That is what Callpod did with their Chargepod device charger. The current Chargepod is designed to charge only small gadgets, like mobile phones. The new Chargepod V2 adds laptop charging as well as a 3 port USB hub.
What you end up with, is a single charge that powers your laptop, 3 smaller devices and connects 3 USB devices to your computer.
The device seems relatively pricey at $199, but when you can switch from 8 chargers to just one, you’ll probably find it worth the money.
The Chargepod V2 will start shipping in March.