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Consumer Electronics Show - All posts tagged Consumer Electronics Show

  • Jan 11, 2012
    3:59 PM ET

    CES: Two Cents on 50 Cent’s Headphones

    Kelli B. Grant

    “I was trying to create something I would like to wear,” says 50 Cent of his new “Street by 50” and “Sync by 50” headphones from SMS Audio.

    The professionally tuned sets — $300 for the wired Street, and $400 for the wireless Sync — offer studio-quality sound that he says helps listeners experience music the same way he does while creating it in the studio. (Check out our video clip for more on his vision and the headphones’ design.)

  • Jan 11, 2012
    1:18 PM ET

    CES: A Conversation With the TV

    Kelli B. Grant

    Ask, “What’s on tonight?” and the TV may soon be able to provide an answer — without even putting down a bowl of chips and reaching for a single button on the remote.

    Voice command technology has popped up repeatedly at CES — manufacturers including Lenovo and Samsung plan to include it in some of their latest models, and startups are lobbying for their own licensing deals. Among them is Vlingo, a virtual assistant for the TV capable of processing requests like finding movies currently playing that feature action movies with Angelina Jolie or romantic comedies with Jennifer Aniston, and setting an upcoming Simpsons episode to DVR.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    12:47 PM ET

    CES: How to (Not) Lose Friends & Alienate People

    iStockphoto

    An informal voicemail greeting like “you know who this is, and you know what to do at the beep” might work for friends, but it’s not exactly one you’d want the boss to hear.

    Enter ON voicefeed, a free iPhone and Android app that lets users customize greetings to specific groups or individuals in their contact list. The app also transcribes voicemails and has an instant messaging feature. Users can also see what a caller has been up to, with incorporated Facebook and Twitter data.

    “I’m really excited about this technology,” says Todd Day, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. He expects the carriers themselves to introduce similar features in the coming year.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    11:50 AM ET

    CES: The World’s Smallest Washing Machine?

    iStockphoto

    Roughly the size of a countertop bread machine, this minute washer is maybe big enough to contain two adult T-shirts.

    Manufacturer Haier introduced it in China a year ago, and is currently market testing the $100 device for possible U.S. sale. When we (admittedly, incredulously) asked who’d want one, a spokesman said they’re targeting a growing green movement among parents who use cloth diapers. Most parents, he says, send the soiled diapers out to a specialized cleaning service to avoid tossing them in with the rest of the laundry. He speculated that the device could also be useful for cleaning chlorine-logged swimsuits, delicate items or even regular laundry — in small doses — for RV travelers.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    11:21 AM ET

    CES: Like Santa, It Knows When You Are Sleeping

    iStockphoto

    It may not give its users sweet dreams but, in retrospect, the new Sleep Clock can tell whether they had some.

    Yet another new entrant to the growing body- and activity-monitoring space, the $199 Sleep Clock by Gear4 is unique in that it tracks sleep patterns without requiring the user to head to bed garbed in a sensor-equipped wristband, headband or other gear with wires attached. Instead, says a spokesman, the clock’s sensors quietly monitor the micro movements of the person nearest it — breathing as well as any untoward twitches, tossing or turning. (Sleepyheads will need an iPhone docked into the clock to record the data.) Users can set a wake-up window instead of a specific time, and the alarm will ring when the sensors determine he or she is in a light sleep stage and can be easily woken.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    10:50 AM ET

    CES: Get Your Piece of a $20B Pie

    iStockphoto

    By the National Retail Federation’s estimates, consumers left a whopping $20 billion on the table last year in missed price adjustments.

    A new web site and app called Savvy tracks store prices and price adjustment policies — letting consumers know if that pair of sneakers has suddenly gone on sale shortly after they’ve just bought them. Upload a picture of a recent receipt to the site, or to the free app via an Apple or Android smartphone, and Savvy will send an alert if the price drops within the retailer’s window for adjustments. Users can also track prices of items they want, and get alerts when the price has dropped below a pre-designated level.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    10:24 AM ET

    CES: Instant Video Editing for Dummies (And Busy People)

    Kelli B. Grant

    Camcorder sales have taken a nose-dive since the advent of the smartphone and its built-in video-recording capability, but so far, experts say, few people have unleashed their inner director to do anything with those clips.

    “People take video but don’t share it because it’s 20 minutes of their son learning to ride a bike. No one wants to watch that,” says a spokesman for new site Magisto.com. But a pieced together clip of 30 seconds to a minute? Much more manageable. Free editing tools on Magisto’s site and iPhone app allow users to edit videos with just a few clicks — pick available clips from a phone or computer, select a background song from your library and add a title. Within a minute or two, the site has cut together the clips into a short movie.

  • Jan 11, 2012
    9:44 AM ET

    CES: A Thermostat that Adjusts to Your Schedule

    iStockphoto

    By Department of Energy estimates, just setting a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature during the hours you’re usually asleep or at work can net savings of roughly $180 a year. But what if the thermostat was smart enough to know when you’re nipping out to the store for a carton of milk?

    The $349 EverSense unit from Allure Energy uses GPS to note the proximity of family members’ Apple and Android devices, automatically adjusting the temperature up or down to preferred settings as people leave home or return. Connected apps let family members make adjustments remotely. A spokesman says estimated savings could vary widely depending on the family’s schedule, and that there’s a setting to notify the unit if say, errands will keep someone near home. That way, it doesn’t keep adjusting the temp as Mom passes home on her way to the dry-cleaners, and again on her way over to the supermarket.

  • Jan 10, 2012
    4:31 PM ET

    CES: A New Trick for Old Dogs — GPS Tracking

    Kelli B. Grant

    Pet owners must often rely on scannable microchips and the kindness of strangers to reunite them with a lost pet. Now, a new device uses GPS tracking enabling Fido to automatically text his whereabouts if he gets lost or simply needs to hot-foot it home for his supper.

    A $99 Tagg kit comes with a GPS-enabled chip (“basically, a mini cellphone,” says a spokeswoman) that snaps on to your dog’s existing collar, as well as a charging station. The first month of service is free, and costs $8 a month thereafter.

  • Jan 10, 2012
    3:43 PM ET

    CES: A Lighter, Cheaper Segway

    Kelli B. Grant

    Remember the Segway? Back in 2001, analysts hailed the two-wheeled electric vehicle as the next big thing in personal transportation. But at 100 pounds and a price tag of more than $5,000, it didn’t roll with most lifestyles.

    Inventist is taking another stab at the category, with the new Solowheel. Here’s how this 21st Century unicycle works: Users zip along on the battery-powered device’s single wheel with their feet on pedals to either side. (OK, “zip” is relative. It goes 10mph, max.)

About Pay Dirt

  • 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.