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CES: No Gadget Left Behind

Senior consumer reporter and “Deal of Day” columnist Kelli B. Grant travels to Las Vegas to find the best, the worst, and the most hyped gadgets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Join her as she roams the exhibit floor for three days, with dispatches here and on Twitter @kellibgrant.

Kelli B. Grant

Travelers who get that sinking feeling that they have forgotten something often discover later that the something in question is the cable for charging their laptop, smartphone or other devices.

The mountain of cable cords at Loss Prevention Systems’ booth speaks to the issue: several dozen chargers, all collected from a single Manhattan hotel over the course of several days. The company’s new $10 device, Perch, aims to eliminate the problem.

Users plug Perch into an electrical outlet and then plug their device into Perch. The device senses when someone unhooks the gadget but not the cord, says chief executive Michael Andrews. It periodically illuminates and chirps until the Perch and charger are unplugged too or until the user presses its button to silence the alarm. The hope is that it reminds the user — like a audio string-around-the-finger that pinches from time-to-time. The hope is not that doesn’t become part of the room’s white noise along with the couple arguing in the next room.

Experts say the device could also be an energy saver at home, preventing consumers from leaving chargers plugged in unnecessarily. By Department of Energy estimates, such vampire power costs the average U.S. household $130 per year. Some Perch units have two prongs, however, and other have three, so users may need to invest in several to cover their needs.

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    • Interesting, going back to Steve’s original post he uses a time hoirzon that begins in 1971, long after the advent of America’s “Great Society” programs. Which, of course, makes us look much more like a European style welfare state. Lucas uses a 100 year time hoirzon, in fact starts in 1870. Cherry picking data sets proves nothing. In fact, I think Steve makes Lucas’ point by picking those years.

    • Dave,you are on the right path with us here at perch. The product you describe we have under development for hotels. We couldn’t agree more and hope to have perch outlets in every hotel room in the years ahead
      thanks
      perch team

    • I could see this making a bit more sense if the hotel had this capability in a hard-wired outlet above the desk/nightstand. I’m not sure when traveling I’d really want one more thing to bring along. Besides, almost everything charges via micro-USB these days, so if I forget the AC-to-4x-USB adapter ($10) and cable (@$3.50), I’m not really out that much and they’re easy to replace.

      Maybe Apple users with their proprietary dock-connector USB cables ($19) and overpriced wall adapter ($29) would be more interested.

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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