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Technology Today - February 2016 - More CES Press Events
By Robert Sanborn

Lite-On and Plextor are two names that most people associate with their computers and in fact, have had several people tell me that they have a Lite-On computer on their desk. Technicians and people who build computer have long known for years that these names are synonymous with the CD and DVD drives that have been installed in computers for many years and in fact, they still enjoy a 25% market share of those optical drives. But I have seen over the years as the drives installed in computers have shrunk, that this company is also redirecting its focus to the world of solid state drives or SSD. These are the drives that are showing up on everything from tablets to notebooks to netbooks to desktops as a means of allowing you to start the machine much faster and get to your data much faster as these new all electronic drives are so much faster than the spinning platter drives that we have used for years. And besides being much faster, they are more reliable. The annual failure rate of a spinning hard drive is around 5% while it drops to 1.5% for solid state drives and Lite-On’s drives failure rate is nearly half that at 0.8%. you can learn more about these drives at their SSD’s site

The companies are both part of the same parent organization at www.liteon.com which is a huge company based in Taiwan. They have over 40,000 employees in 48 factories around the world and so while we may have thought of them just for the disk drives, they make all sorts of components for notebooks including power, cameras, keyboards, and enclosures. The two brands are separated by the target market with Plextor more for the consumer and gamers while Lite-On is more for Enterprise, data centers, and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).

It is the gamers that will get into the specs of some of the new drives as it gives them flexibility to change how it operates which means you can push faster response time out of it depending on your needs. Lite-On is also getting into the automotive market as more and more cars get smarter and need to store more information onboard.

So what is here is the Plextor M89Pe and it is fast!  Reviews are everywhere on the net and worth taking a look at.

Plextor SSD

I have written about Pepcom’s Digital Experience and ShowStoppers is another event like that where you get to meet a number of companies and get a very close look at what is new and exciting from them. I didn’t get a chance to go to it this year but I did manage to stop into another of their events; ShowStoppers Launch It. This is also pretty cool as the goal here is to let new and untested companies show off their new ventures in a five minute pitch to a number of both press and investors to get feedback on what they have.

Showstoppers

At their event, I sat in on a number of the presentations and here is a couple that I liked. Seven Hugs has created the contextual remote control unit for everything in your home. I shudder to think how many remotes I have already and with the new connected home products hitting the market, will we soon get into double digits of remotes? What I like is the nice centralized interface that interfaces with all these devices.  Seven Hugs

Skreens is a product that turns your large television or display into a device that you can watch multiple things at the same time. Imagine picture in picture on steroids. Not only multiple programs but multiple devices like gaming consoles, blue-ray players, Roku, a computer; all at the same time. Just plug each HDMI cable into the device and you are on your way. Screens is still on Kickstarter.
They did have a number of VR (Virtual Reality) companies showing off their stuff including the next one below. what you have to see it for yourself is the Freefly VR head set that uses your smartphone as the audio and video generating app to make it all work. You need to see the website. Go look for the video. The headset is only $79 but you need to check to see if it will work on iOS devices (iPhones). Another I liked is VirZOOM that is for use on a stationary bicycle to let you “ride” your way through different adventures. You can preorder it from the website for $199.

Skreens

And the winner was CleverPet, Inc. it provides your dog with a daily mental and physical stimulation.  It is a $299 device that sits on the floor and interacts with your pet and entertains them through puzzles that combine lights, sounds, and touchpads. See their website about the CleverPet game console for dogs.

Xcyte Cables I went into the next press event because I can appreciate how reducing noise in cables makes a huge difference in the quality of sound and music you listen to. I am also constantly searching for something that will remove the constant noise around me especially when I am sitting on a plane for many hours so Xcyte Cables sounded like a good place to stop in.
What they have done through a patented process is to remove more noise and interference from cables than anyone else has done and it is quite impressive. I took a pair of the earbuds home with me and could instantly tell how much clearer the sound is and how little outside noise I was hearing. In fact, I received a call while working with them and with the built in microphone, worked like a charm in a noisy room. Their patented processes use better alloys to remove sound interference and according to him is a 99% EMI reduction. Xcyte will also be coming out with power cables later in the year and hope to be working on high power appliances for the home.  I also got a chance to use one of their USB charging cables and I definitely like the sturdiness of the cable and how well it charges my new smartphone.  Look for these cables later in this year. From Xcyte.

The next two products come from the same company and it goes to show what happens when a very creative person is running things. CielPUR www.cielpur.com and ClikRnext, www.klikr.mobi are two unique devices that are part of the internet of things that diverge quite a bit.

CielPur is the first portable and connected air quality monitor that is small enough to take with you when you travel which is why I can’t wait to get my hands on one.  As a stand alone device, there is an LED light that shows you the different levels of air quality in your room. It measures the most essential elements of what is needed for air quality: Fine particles, small particles, volatile organic componds, carbon dioxide, temperature, and the relative humidity. If you see green on top, you are good to go. With the battery onboard, it will operate on its own for up to a week. For better tracking and measuring, pair it with your smartphone (iPhone or Android) and the app gives you visual and detailed information. Light weight, small (34x64x70mm), it will travel well with you. Available after March for around $149.

CielPUR
KlikRnext

KlikRnext is a small device that can allow your smartphone to take over for the remote control for that device whether it is a VCR, TV, Cablebox, Air Cleaner, Air Conditioner, and the list goes on and on. It is taking smart remote controls to a different level by allowing your Smartphone to be that universal remote. What you do is to stick this tiny box (32x32x9mm) next to or onto any remote controlled device you have. Then you pair it with the smartphone and within a couple of minutes are controlling that device. So sitting in my comfortable chair with three remotes and the phone next to me, I can get rid of all the remotes and just use the phone which is usually the handiest thing around anyways. What is even better is that they use a standard CR2032 battery which is easy to find everywhere. The devices will cost you around $25 each. So if you have devices in each room, you can organize things on the smartphone by room so use as many of them as you need. Hmmm, wonder if a dozen will be enough.

ViewsonicMany of the companies I visited were not on the show floor but had suites in hotels around Las Vegas which meant a lot of taxi and Uber rides around the strip area. One of these that I visited was Viewsonic and they had a very nice suite on one of the top floors of the Encore. It was a long walk up there and was beginning to wonder if it was worth the effort. What they had to show off was mostly gaming monitors and had several people there to talk about them including one chap (who unfortunately I forgot his name) that was a computer gaming champion but since I am not into gaming, we chatted anyways about all sorts of things from travel to photography to science and had a great time. But back to monitors and I am impressed with the monitors. They look really sharp, have very fast refresh rates, support high definition, have some surprisingly good prices, and what is best for me is that the warranty on them is three years.  Like to see what they showed off see it here.  So next time you need a monitor, check out Viewsonic

More from CES later.

Robert Sanborn

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