It’s that time of year again, where manufacturers try and strut their stuff in an attempt to woo geeks and non-geeks alike at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Newer, better, faster… that’s typically the name of the game.
The party is all over, but we’ve seen a lot to whet the appetites of travelers. Let’s get to it.
Mobile Phone Gadgets for the Traveler
What traveler doesn’t carry a smartphone (or even a basic mobile) these days? Answer, not many, and if you’re reading this, probably not you.
Admittedly, there wasn’t a whole lot on the mobile front at CES, at least from the big guys like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. What we did see were a few cool accessories that could be making their way into your luggage in the near future.
Charge Your Phone (or Tablet) Faster
Hate having to carry that tablet power brick with you since you can’t charge your iPad via the USB on your computer, or with your mobile phone power adapter? Us too, check out the name of the site you’re on.
The problem is that your tablet wants more power that your laptop wants to give it. Same as when you try to use your phone’s wall charger. It just doesn’t work.
The ChargeDr from Digital Innovations is a USB thumb drive-sized adapter plugs into the USB cable from your device. You then plug it into either the wall adapter, car adapter, or even your computer’s USB port, and presto, it charges… and fast. They say up to 2x-4x faster.
It works by knowing how much power your device can take, and then requesting it from the wall adapter or computer. They say it won’t damage your tablet or phone because of the built-in circuitry. Handy to get the most out of those quick power top-ups at the airport lounge.
The ChargeDR will sell for $29.99 in March.
Your Phone, as a Camera
If you have a smartphone, chances are it has a pretty good camera on the back. So good in fact, that many people are leaving their regular cameras at home.
Grip it with Snappgrip
The Snappgrip is a hefty attachment / case for your iPhone 4, iPhone 5, or Galaxy S III that adds some hardware camera buttons to your phone. It’s made of two parts: a regular looking case, and a camera grip unit that slides on the back of it.
The grip has a zoom control, mode switch, and of course, a shutter button. You’ll even find a tripod mount on the bottom. And when you aren’t taking photos, slip off the controller and pop the phone back into your pocket, bulge free.
The Snappgrip will sell for $99 when it goes on sale in February, or cheaper if you back their Kickstarter now.
Snap-On Lenses for Your Phone
Mobi-Lens has two one-size-fits-all lens options that clip onto your phone (any smartphone) using a clothespin-type clip to hold on. The two lenses available are a wide angle / macro lens, and a fisheye lens. If the photos on their website have anything to show, it’s that the fisheye could be particularly fun.
Mobi-Lens are on sale now for $39.99 each or both for $64.99.
Save Your Life, or Read a Book
While the Sony Xperia Z we mentioned last week was the best phone in the show, we have two more unique ones for you.
More Battery Life Than You Could Ever Want in a Phone
The SpareOne emergency phone is essentially the anti-smartphone. Meant for worst-case type scenarios, this small mobile phone is powered by a single AA battery that can last up to 15 years. It makes emergency calls without a SIM card, and comes with a waterproof bag and built in flashlight. I suspect you might find this in emergency medikits in the near future alongside the band aids and Benadryl.
The SpareOne comes in two versions (depending on where in the world you will be traveling) and sells for $99.99 each.
Flip Over Your Phone and Ditch Your Kindle
One of the most talked about products at CES this year was the Russian-made YodaPhone prototype. It looks like a regular smartphone, until you flip it over and find an e-ink display, like the one found on e-readers such as the Kindle.
Being the first of it’s kind, there are many possibilities for how the 2nd screen could be used. Pass info from one screen to the other, check out notifications, or read the news on a more pleasant, and lower powered e-ink side.
The Yodaphone will likely be on sale (in one way or another) in the 2nd half of 2013.
We’ll have more of what’s to come from CES in the next few weeks.