Gadgets: Trade shows bring new tech innovations

Another Consumer Electronics Show and MacWorld trade show have passed and with that brings a host of announcements of new products to hit the shelves at retail outlets.

My inbox was filled with announcements of the electronic gadgets and many of them are gimmicks or flat out useless. Here is a sampling of some "useful" announcements that caught my attention.

Scosche Industries, a manufacturer of mobile electronics and iPod accessories, has several new products for this year.

Among them are three products to its "listen" line, which include the HZ5 tuneSTREAM Bluetooth Headphones, and the IDR400M and IDR600 earphones.

The HZ5 tuneSTREAM Bluetooth Headphones gives iPod/iPhone users 30-feet of wireless range, along with pure digital quality sound. Phone calls can also be answered hands free and users get up to 8 hours of continuous playtime.

The noise isolating IDR400M and IDR600 earphones include a hands free cell microphone, oversized 10mm drivers, and single and dual flanged soft silicone inserts for performance and comfort. They also feature a 24K Gold plated 3.5mm audio jack and a sliding magnetic cable management system.

Pricing (MSRP) tuneSTREAM Bluetooth Headphones $99.99, IDR400M earphones $79.99, DR600 Earphones $99.99.



For external hard drives, Western Digital (WD) has two new external USB hard drives; the My Passport for Mac portable drive and the My Book Mac Edition external hard drive.

Both come pre-formatted for Mac and are designed to work seamlessly with Apple's Time Machine backup software, included in Mac's Leopard (10.5) operating system or other backup.

The My Passport for Mac drive comes in a portable, resistant enclosure in capacities of 320 GB and 500 GB. This is truly a portable drive, as it doesn't need any outside power sources; it's USB-bus powered.

The My Book Mac Edition comes in a 1TB capacity and is equipped with power-saving WD hard drives with GreenPower technology. This savings feature allows it to turn on and off with the user's computer. It comes Mac-ready for an easy plug and play setup.

Both drives are available and pricing has the MSRP for My Passport for Mac with 320GB for $129.99 and $179.99 for the 500 GB unit. The My Book Mac Edition is $179.99.



Verbatim has a new 8GB Store 'n' Go retractable USB drive for Mac OS X systems.

The storage unit has two features that make it stand out. It has a retractable design, to fully protect the USB connectors without a cap, which is easily lost in most cases.

Also included is "intelligent" security so users can freely access and share data without having to log in. They have a password-controlled access to the drive's private zone from any OS X-equipped Mac. A write-protect feature is also included to help users prevent an accidental erasure of data in both areas.

A blue LED light on the drive signals when data are being transferred. It measures 2 { inches long and weighs less than half an ounce. Expect it available later this month with an estimated price of $59.99



The iLuv i1166 is a new portable multimedia player for iPod and DVD/CDs.

All iPod models with video capability works with the widescreen unit along with most DVDs and CDs

Features include Video output for TV connectivity and a 3-way power source (AC, DC car adapter or built-in Li-Polymer Rechargeable Battery). It also acts as a portable digital photo frame to view photos from built-in memory, memory cards, USB, or DVDs and CDs.

The built in iPod dock will also charge the iPod when docked and comes with a remote control to access all features.

A price on this is not available, but expect one before its March release.



The Logitech G19 Keyboard for Gaming is the first Logitech keyboard to feature a color GamePanel LCD built into the keyboard.

Gamers will like the tiltable 320-by-240-pixel display, which provides in-game information for over 60 games. In addition to the gaming information, it can display a clock, pictures or videos without leaving your game.

It features 12 fully programmable G-keys with three macros per key, giving users 36 timesaving commands per game. A multi-key input-functionality feature allows users to engage up to five keys at the same time.

The new keyboard works with both Mac and Window systems and is expected to be available in March for a suggested retail price of $199.99.



PPC has introduced the first HDMI locking cable called the Locking HDMI Cable.

This is an industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface to provide a connection between any audio/video source with a single cable. It features an exclusive patented technology to lock it into the HDMI port.

With the lock, users get the highest quality and maximum resolution with 1080P HDTV. Users will find it easy to install with PPC HDMI Locking Cable's Perfect Flex jacket and flexible cable, which provides a push button operation without the need for tools.

It's designed with 100 percent foil coverage and braided shielding to eliminate interference. Pricing has a 3-foot cable for $48.99, 6-feet $59.99 and $72.99 for the 12-foot version.



If you have an older iPod and want to trade up to one of the newer ones, but don't want to have the added expense of getting new extra charging devices, then look for the new FireWire to USB Charge Converter from Griffin.

This will allow older charging units will work with the new players including the new iPhone 3G. It's simple to use, just connect it between the dock connector and the charging device.

Expect it out later this month for $29.99.



Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman(at)


(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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