January 19, 2006

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Techie: The Worst of CES

Annual convention has its share of duds

By John “jaQ” Andrews  jandrews@hippopress.com

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, new gadgets are paraded before credulous media folk, corporate executives and resale buyers.

Lots of oohing and aahing goes on, especially in front of live video streams watched by millions of techheads across the globe.

Hippo wouldn’t spring for me to go earlier this month, of course, but a thorough database at www.cesweb.com catalogs more than 2,000 products introduced at the show. Rather than look at all the cool stuff I missed, I decided to console myself by collecting the cream of the crap.

Arkon Windshield PSP Mount

Stick your portable gaming system to your car’s windshield via a suction cup. What could possibly go wrong?

Arkon makes mounts for all kinds of car electronics, from CD players to GPS navigation systems, so a PSP mount is a logical extension of their product line. They promote this for use with PSP movies, not actual gaming, but that’s not that much better.

Can You Imagine products

They say that the most creative among us also have the greatest tendency toward mental illness. Can You Imagine exemplifies this axiom to a T.

“Can you imagine the coolest wind-up toy ever?” they ask rhetorically of their new Hatchables line. “Can you imagine a toy penguin that bursts out of its egg and walks straight to you? We did!”

And good for you. Can you imagine a toy that is specifically designed to come violently apart causing more than one choking or slipping accident?

The company also exhibited Light Show Concert Binoculars. There was no description or picture available for this product, but other Light Show products feature flashing LEDs. If some dude next to you at a respectable classical music concert had flashing LEDs on his binoculars, wouldn’t you smack him?

ViaCube

Apparently no description is necessary, because this is all the manufacturer offers:

“ViaCube is intelligence for life: an innovative lifestyle product that consolidates and enhances essential technologies and embraces the need to access information and communication from virtually anywhere using any device. It will transform how you live, how you work, how you play, how you communicate, how you collaborate.”

OK.

WowWee Alive Chimp

From the folks who brought us the obnoxious RoboSapien and the admittedly badass RoboRaptor comes this bust of a chimpanzee with realistic hair and skin. Of course the thing changes expression and reacts to external stimuli.

As if that weren’t creepy enough, the thing has four distinct moods: Curious, Fearful, Happy and Angry. Excuse me, Angry? WowWee, you’re creating an automaton and you specifically gave it Anger? Out of only four emotions? Are you trying to kill us all?

 

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