In Pictures: Gadgets galore - 8 digital products from CE Week
CE Week, a New York City-based exhibition from the same folks who bring you the huge CES show in Las Vegas, attracts vendors who are showing new, innovative or just-plain-weird products. Here is a sampling of what we saw.
Want to know what gadgets have just come out or are soon going to be available? CE Week is a conference and technology showcase put on in NYC by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association -- the same folks who put on the Las Vegas CES trade show). It features tech products from mainstream companies, smaller vendors and individual entrepreneurs who are just past their Kickstarter phase.
The credit-card-sized Thinium Charge can charge a smartphone directly from a wall outlet or from the nearest convenient computer. At 3.3 x 2.2 x 0.35 in., you can carry it easily in your wallet.
Then, if your phone's battery starts to drain, you can pull out the retractable AC prongs (or the pull-out USB connector) on one end and the micro-USB or Apple Lightning connector (depending on the model) on the other. Just plug your phone into the nearest available power source and you're good to go!
TrewGrip Mobile QWERTY keyboard
If you want to type a long message on your smartphone, you can do a hunt-and-peck, use voice recognition (and then correct all the mistakes) or sit down with a Bluetooth keyboard. Or you can try the TrewGrip Mobile QWERTY.
You attach your smartphone to the center via a mild magnetic force and hold the grips in each hand. You then type (with all your fingers except your thumbs) using keys on the bottom; on top, an LED of each key lights up as a guide. Sound weird? I thought so, but after a couple of missteps, I was typing at a fairly good clip. Not something to carry in your backpack, but may have some interesting industrial uses.
You're doing some last minute emails in the airport while charging your phone -- oops! Your flight is boarding! It's not until you get to your hotel room that you remember that you left your charging cable behind.
The folks at ChargerLeash say they've solved that problem. The ChargerLeash cable is a standard micro USB or Apple Lightning cable with one important difference: It has a small built-in alarm that will sound five seconds after you unplug your device -- reminding you to take the cable with you. (There is a button that you can press to prevent the alarm from sounding.)
Henge Docks docking stations
When I used a Windows-based laptop, I had a handy docking station that let me pop the system out when I was traveling and then pop it back in when when I returned. These days, with a MacBook Pro, I have to unplug and replug five cables.
Henge Docks offers attractive vertical docking stations that let you dock and undock a variety of MacBooks. The initial setup may be a little bothersome -- you have to thread your cables through the appropriate openings -- but once it's done, you can slip your laptop into the dock, click it into place, and be ready for work in seconds.
Samson Go Mic Direct portable USB microphone
There are a number of portable microphones out there for folks who want to create a podcast, record a lecture or just Skype with better audio. The Go Mic Direct from Samsung is an especially compact device, though, with a built-in USB connector.
The omnidirectional mic can be used with both Macs and Windows-based PCs; with downloadable Samson Sound Deck software, users can take advantage of noise reduction and cancellation technology to keep background sounds in the background.
The Polaroid Cube is a tiny (about 1.4 in.) 3-megapixel camera with a 124-degree wide-angle lens capable of shooting 1080p HD video. It has 2MB of internal memory, or you can store up to 32GB of images on a micro SD. According to Polaroid, the Cube will record up to 90 minutes on a single charge.
Not sure where you'd put it? The water-resistant Cube has a magnet on the bottom so you can stick it on any metal surface -- like your bike handlebars or refrigerator. A variety of accessories will also be available separately, including a case that will make it waterproof and another that will accommodate a tripod.
Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 photo lens
Smartphone cameras are nice for taking general photos, but if you want something special -- a wide angle, for example, or a magnified close-up -- you may want to check out one of the iPhone lenses offered by Olloclip. For example, the $70 Macro 3-in-1 (pictured here) lets you photograph your subject close-up at 7x, 14x and 21x magnification; while the 4-in-1 (also $70) offers fish-eye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x views.
Unfortunately, these lenses are only available for iPhones (the Macro only for the iPhone 5/5s). However, tablet users take heart: A version of the 4-in-1 for iPads will be shipping soon.