CES 2022 Personal Productivity
CES 2022 saw a number of new and updated personal productivity tools announced. Here are a few of our favorites.
If you are tired of screens, but also tired of paper, you may want to consider the latest from Boogie Board. Their $29.99 VersaBoard™️ uses the same reflective bistable cholesteric liquid crystal display technology as their other boards. VersaBoard includes a stand and sports magnets to keep the pen attached to the board. Think of it as the notepad you never need to throw away. Just tap on the eraser and clear the board. No, it does not have an interface for transferring notes to your phone, but you can always take a picture of it.
I wouldn’t mind one sitting on the nightstand to capture a quick thought in the middle of the night. Turning on an iPad Pro is a bit bright and takes more time than my brain sometimes wants to give it. The new Boogie Board may be the answer.
Dimenco SR Pro Display
The metaverse had to be here somewhere. Dimenco brings the metaverse to people rather than asking them to enter it. That is probably a more likely situation in the future than everyone running around in AR glasses. This light field-based SR Pro Display brings spatial experiences through the display. This could be an example of what immersive will look like in the future.
I.R.I.S. Desktop Scanner
I have a great Epson scanner for loose documents. It’s not designed to scan bound documents, or other things that don’t feed through a sheet feeder or sit nice and flat or a flatbed scanner common on many printers.
Of course, you may not want two scanners, one for big flat things, and another one for standard documents and receipts. The I.R.I.S. software (Readiris PDF) that accompanies this suite of scanners does some cool things, like differentiating receipts in its field of view and saving them as discreet documents.
The $349 IRIScan Desk 6 Pro pictured above combines an HD lens and a microphone. Not only does it scan, but it also records demos.
I know I have a number of old books that need to find a digital home, and this may be the best bet for getting them off my shelf and into the Cloud.
We regularly review Jabra products. Most recently, we reviewed their Elite 7 series that they were showing at CES. They also announced the less expensive Jabra Elite 4 Actives that run $119.99. Like all Jabra earbuds, these can serve as conferencing portals as much as they do music support during workouts. They offer fewer features than their more expensive cousins but will serve the purpose as I have seen with all the Jabra headphones evaluated over the years.
Alongside earbuds, Jabra also showed off the Jabra PanaCast 20, which may prove to be one of the best personal video conferencing cameras on the market. It brings 4K video, AI-enabled image enhancement, picture-in-picture, and facial tracking/centering. Picture-in-picture mode supports a close-up of an object while maintaining focus on the speaker.
Latticework AmberX Intelligent Personal Cloud
For those tired of paying storage service providers like DropBox, Box, even Microsoft, Apple or Google for extra storage, consider the AmberX Intelligent Personal Cloud that takes a tiny storage device in your home and makes it securely available to you, and anyone you authorize, to have access to your content. No subscriptions, ever. Though the company will be offering an encrypted backup plan in the future.
Much of what you do with files on a PC is built into the device, including camera roll backups, PC backups, photo organizations, and duplicate photo management. It even supports casting to media devices. Run out of storage on the basic 512GB SSD, just plug in another drive and the software integrates that drive into the AmberX experience. Secure login, TLS/SSL encrypted connections, and user-controlled permission settings keep your data secure.
Available now on Amazon for $229 (and sometimes discounted).
Nanotech Energy Graphene-Organolyte™ Batteries
We have evaluated new battery technology before. My mouse is running on Pale Blue Earth batteries as I type this. Nanotech Energy enters the market with Non-flammable Graphene-Organolyte™ Batteries. These batteries are safer and perform better than lithium-ion batteries. Nanotech is the first to market these batteries. They developed a groundbreaking process that delivers 96% monolayer graphene. This will allow them to manufacture batteries at scale. The company already produces a number of other graphene-related products.
Nex Computer NexDock
I wrote about this in the late 1990s as I helped develop the Hughes Aircraft technical IT architecture. I could not imagine that as phones became more powerful, they wouldn’t eventually get to the point they could dock and transform into full computing devices. Current phones are now astronomically more powerful than the PowerBook 185C I wrote that document on, but they still don’t routinely become full-fledged computing devices.
Enter Nex Computer and NexDock, a laptop shell that transforms smartphones into laptops. They have been doing this, BTW, since 2016. At CES 2002 Nex demonstrated the NexMonitor and NexPad. NexMonitor transforms Samsung smartphones into desktop computers. It is designed to feel like a natural extension of Mac Mini, wirelessly charging iPhones on eye level for easier interaction. NexPad turns smartphones into tablets. It can also connect to laptops on the top of the screens as a secondary monitor.
Planet Computers AstroSlide 5G phone
If you don’t want to turn your phone into a computer, but occasionally want to use it as one, perhaps the £719.00 Astro Slide from Planet Computers will appeal. The Astro Slide is a 5G smartphone with a slide-out keyboard. It uses RockUp™ Slider Hinge and rocks a backlit mechanical keyboard with 24 international layouts. The phone sports a 6.39″ AMOLED display. A 48MP Sony sensor camera powers photography (we would love to see an HD front-facing camera for mobile video conferencing). The Android 11-based phone ships with 128GB of Flash memory, and includes 2 USB-C ports, Qi charging, and a standard audio jack.
obVus Solutions’ full-size wireless $49.99 minder keyboard folds up to the size of a smartphone. It offers up to 40 hours of work-time on a charge. It will simultaneously connect with up to three Bluetooth-enabled devices. The minder keyboard joins the obVus stands and apps.
OWC Mini STAX STX
OWC miniStack STX brings Thunderbolt™ 4 Certified storage and hub expansion that stacks with Apple’s Mac mini. It employs a universal SATA HDD/SSD bay AND an NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD slot to accommodate almost any volume of storage. The device also includes 3 Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports. The OWC ministack STX can be configured with up to 26TBs of storage, or owners can supply their own storage.
OWC also announced their Atlas Series media storage advanced pseudo-Single-Level Cell (pSLC) flash memory ith 276MB/s write and up to 290MB/s read consistent performance over the card’s entire capacity.
ViewSonic ELITE XG321UG
ViewSonic launched their new ELITE XG321UG gaming monitor with full mini-LED FALD with 1152 total dimming zones, 32-inch mini-LED monitor IPS with native 4K UHD (3840×2160) resolution, 144Hz refresh rate; 3.6ms response time, support for NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate G-Sync and Reflex, VESA DisplayHDR1400 for 1400 cd/m2 peak HDR brightness; SDR Brightness of 400 cd/m2, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, USB-A/B Hub and 3.5mm Audio-Out ports, and customizable ViewSonic ELITE™ RGB Lighting.
Now I know this isn’t a gaming tech list, but hey, don’t you really want a badass monitor to complement your work from home set-up? Just sayin’.
MOFT Smart Desk Mats and Cooling Stands
The MOFT Smart Desk Mat brings together desk essentials like a desk mat, stand, and a memo board. Tablets, phones, computers, and analog notes all find a home. Adjustable inclines put all devices in the place that owners feel best fits their workflow.
The company also announced a new MacBook stand aimed at reducing heat across the surface by 5-10°C by employing a graphene-mano-carbon-copper composite. They also brought their magnetic Snap ecosystem to the iPad Mini 6.
Philips Wireless Headphones
Philips introduced the Fidelio T1 High-Quality True Wireless Headphones that combine a 10mm dynamic driver with a specially optimized, small, and very efficient balanced armature module for responsive audio. The T1s will offer active noise-canceling (ANC), Bluetooth 5.2 with LDAC codec support, 9-hour battery life (up to a total of 35 hours with the charging case), and IPX4 water resistance, and audio stop on removal.
Fast charge will deliver an hour of listening with 15 minutes of charge. Three microphones in each earbud help differentiate voice from noise and inform the ANC processing. They will ship with an app to help manage ANC and on-device controls.
Philips also announced over the ear Fidelio L3 wireless headphones with 40mm drivers and a four-microphone ANC system and support for Qualcomm’s aptX HD codec. Even higher resolution audio will be available via the included audio cable.
Fairy Devices LINKLET
If I understand LINKLET it is a personal broadcasting device for people in the field to share high-resolution video with people on video conferencing systems like Teams and Zoom. In small situations, it could bring in an expert of advice on a repair. In bigger situations, you could have hundreds of people experiencing a play from the perspective of an individual cast member. Suggested use cases include infrastructure operations and maintenance, machine repair, and virtual tours.
LINKLET is worn on the shoulder, keeping hands free to react to feedback. It works with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE. It connects to other devices via USB-C. For outdoor applications, it rates IP54 for dust and water resistance.
Steambox Self-heating lunchbox
Hybrid work will mean going back, at least occasionally, to taking lunch to work. COVID drove innovation, not just in information technology, but in eating technology (well, let’s call it food storage). Evidence? Steambox’s rechargeable lunchbox will heat up to 3 meals on a single charge. And it looks debonair while it keeps your meatloaf toasty. No more fighting over the microwave (which is hard to do while social distancing).
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