I told you that the TAO XM2Go device got me pretty excited yesterday when I met with them so I then went and chatted with the XM Satellite people yesterday afternoon. I then found out they were offering the $350 device for only $199 at CES with only 5,000 or so units available. After comparing the XM service to Sirius, I decided the XM Satellite service was a much better fit for me since they have the Fox News Channel, 3 Christian stations, conservative and Christian talk, Radio Disney and other stations I like. They also don’t have an idiot like Howard Stern promoting their product so that helped my decision as well. Thus, I was the first in line at the CES Store on Friday morning and bought the Delphi MyFi XM2Go device. The Delphi unit is almost exactly the same as the TAO unit except for the color, the Delphi is silver and the TAO one is black. I will be doing a full review for Geek.com.
I was supposed to meet with Fossil in the morning, but the rain was messing up traffic and so I had to bump my meeting back later. I did get a chance to meet with Aura Communications who I met with last year to talk about the foneGEAR wireless headset that uses magnetic induction technology. Aura has now developed the technology for wireless stereo communications and Creative appears to be the first that will be coming out with wireless headphones that work with the Zen Micro. I used a prototype and the sound was excellent and the headphones were very light. This is a great use of this technology since there is no steps for pairing, etc. and a user can just pick them up and go. The headphones connect to the Zen Micro via a holster that holds the magnetic radio.
I then met with GN Netcom to discuss their product lineup and future products. I am evaluating their latest GN 6210 right now and had a couple questions answered regarding this product. They also showed me some of their other office products and their future office wireless headset. GN Netcom is targeting the business community while their JABRA division focuses on the mobile user and consumer.
Before my meeting with Fossil I had more time to wander the show floor and tried to find more cool things to check out. I stopped by the Samsung booth and found their upcoming i730 Phone Edition and Smartphone devices. Their Phone Edition has a slide down keyboard similar to my PDA2K, but it is narrower and the keys are more like a Treo 650 keyboard. Their flip form factor Smartphone looks like a nice product as well.
I met with Fossil in a suite in the Bellagio hotel/casino. The Bellagio was definitely our favorite place on the strip and the suite was quite nice. We first chatted about their SPOT MSN Direct Wrist Net devices, which I knew much about already since I am a huge SPOT watch fan. They are bringing out 2 new models in the spring and may even have different color bands for them.
The big news was their announcement of the Palm Wrist PDA, which I found out is available now for $249. An Abacus version can be found for $199. The Wrist PDA has been rumored for quite some time and they had problems with the LCD display last year and had to scrap the whole design and start over. This latest version sports 8MB RAM, 66MHz processor, Palm OS 4.1, and a 160×160 mono display. It uses a mini-USB connector so that is one great standard they chose to cover. The device is a solid metal with the stylus in the band. While the display and text is quite small, it worked well when I tried out the model they had available. This thing has more power than the Zire and comes in a watch form factor. It will be interesting to see how well this does in the market, but I think geeks like me will have fun with it. I am getting one to review and can’t wait to push the envelope to see what it can handle.
WinBook was my last meeting on the schedule and I wanted to meet with them since Joel always has so much to say about their products. Their new large LCD displays were very impressive and priced much lower than competitors. Joel is reviewing one of these and I will be keeping them in mind when I am ready to upgrade my old TV system. I don’t watch much TV so it isn’t a priority for me right now.
I never spent much time in the press area this trip since I was too busy meeting with companies and checking out the show floor. Next year I need to set aside a larger block of time just to check out the show floor. I did better by slimming down my appointments and made it to every one this year, but they were still too spread out for me to get much show floor time in.
We went to a comedy show at the Riviera Comedy Club and the headliner stunk. The host and the warm-up comedians were much better and pretty funny. The crowd in the theater was also quite negative and many seemed politically correct. You just can’t be politically correct and get offended if you plan to go to a comedy show and I don’t know why those people even came.
Today was the day to spend with my wife since I brought her down with me and she was patient with my geeking out. We finished going through almost every major hotel/casino on the strip, shopped in many of them, and had a nice day. The new Dishes buffet at the Treasure Island hotel was INCREDIBLE! I ended up doing quite well at Blackjack so we ended up a few dollars ahead for the entire trip. I should have stayed playing for a while since we got stuck in a transportation snafu where we went almost all the way down to the other end of the strip and back again for only 15 minutes or so of time at the other end. Traffic and transportation is quite crazy on the strip, but I think the city buses are the best bet for getting around. Actually, a Segway or inline skates would be even better and faster.
We wanted to do something a bit different so we went to the Blue Man Group show at the Luxor. Luckily we bought the cheapest seats, $63 each, since it was not that great of a show. They played the drums well, but some of the other stuff was rather stupid. We will pay to go to someone we know about, like Rita Rudner, next time we go to Vegas.
We got up and ate at the Riviera buffet and the omelettes were awesome. We then packed up and headed home to see our girls. It was nice to get home and hug them again after walking way too many miles down in Vegas.
A full report with photos and focusing on the things I saw will be posted on Geek.com this week if you want to see a bit of what I talked about in my blog reports.