It's Personal: 10 CES 2012 Products That Showcase The Individual3:40 PM EST Tue. Jan. 17, 2012
Personalization was a big theme at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and signs of it were to be found all over the exhibit halls. iPhone and iPad accessories are a huge and lucrative market, and we're starting to see ergonomic companies moving in with products designed to make mobile devices not only easier to use, but also more reflective of their owners' personalities.
The accessory market is catering to individual tastes, but the personalization trend is evident also in customized cars, individual transportation devices, and other products. CRN roamed the CES 2012 exhibit halls and here presents 10 notable examples.
Express' BulletTrain keyboard platform is a cleverly engineered accessory that enables personalization of Apple's wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. Here we see one that would appeal to fans of the long running subversive U.S. cartoon comedy South Park.
"We don't see ourselves as simply a tech company or an accessory manufacturer. At BulletTrain, we see ourselves as enablers of dreams," the company says on its web site.
iWave, a New York City based company, showed off its glittering array of iPhone and iPad cases, some of which are covered with Swarovski crystal. These sparkly items brought quite a bit of attention to the company's booth on the CES show floor.
They're not cheap though -- these accessories range in price from $60 to $200, or more than one third the cost of a new iPhone 4GS. But if you're the type of mobile user who cares what other people think, you might find this sort of thing to have an irresistible allure.
Pioneer demonstrated MIXTRAX, a technology that takes music from iPods, iPhones and MP3 players and weaves it together into a non-stop dance mix format. The idea is to create a club-like atmosphere inside of a vehicle, and the pounding beat emanating from this pimped-up 2012 Toyota Sienna SE made it one of the top attractions in the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall.
Camas, Wash.-based Inventist showed off Solowheel, a gyro-stabilized, single wheel, electric unicycle, at CES. Solowheel is capable of speeds up to 10 miles per hour and can run for 15-20 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. Users steer with their feet and accelerate by leaning forward. And like hybrid cars, Solowheel recharges its battery while slowing or moving downhill.
At $1,795, Solowheel is still on the pricey side, but it's a more compact alternative to the Segway that will likely come down in price as the technology matures.
Do you suffer from iPhone separation anxiety when taking a shower? Are you the type of power user who'd like to listen to music on your smartphone at all times, even while bathing? If so, then a company called iDevices can help. At CES, it showed off iShower, a $100 Bluetooth enabled speaker that provides 15 hours of streaming audio on 3 AA batteries.
iShower is water resistant and can be used just about anywhere within 200 feet of a user's mobile device. It's also easy to install and detachable, which means a user could bring it to the beach during windy conditions and not risk getting their mobile device sandblasted.
Houston-based Hub Innovations had some of the flashiest iPhone cases at CES, which is saying a lot given the volume of companies that were displaying these products this year. Its Couture line had to be seen to be believed, with embossed crosses, fleur de lys and other designs that say, emphatically, 'This is how I roll.'
Trikke, based in Buellton, Calif., unveiled a fitness-oriented electric vehicle called the Tribred Pon-e Lite at CES. The company describes the product as "a skiing experience on wheels" that gives users a vigorous, full body workout. The Tribred Pon-e Lite is powered by a 36-volt, 180-watt front wheel drive 'engine' that runs on a swappable lithium-ion battery. It's priced at $1,299.99.
Elvis fans, take note: A Piscataway, N.J.-based company called Section8 has "high performance" in-ear buds (Sounds Insane!) imprinted with images of The King himself. And that's not all: Section8's collection of custom earbuds on display at CES also included Michael Jackson, Tupac, Sex Pistols and Notorious B.I.G., to name a few.
Schick wasn't just demonstrating its new Hydro 5 Power Select razor at CES, the company was also giving attendees free shaves at its booth.
The Hydro 5 Power Select is no ordinary razor: It vibrates at three adjustable speeds and includes a silicon chip, along with a water-activated gel reservoir that lubricates the skin during each shave and prevents razor burns.
Apple wasn't at CES, but it was difficult to walk more than a few feet on the CES show floor without seeing some company selling shiny iPhone cases. Here the China-based Guangzhou Yicai Craft Factory displays its collection of cases that add a touch of personalization to the smartphone experience.