Consumer Electronics Show 2013
by Douglas Black, January 9, 2013
Here are a couple of things you can expect to see a BUY! button near soon.
I can think of nothing worse on a trip than lost luggage, especially when you are wearing your stinky travel sweater and the cool Calypso shirt is among the AWOL. No worries, just track it down with your smartphone.
Trakdot is a relatively simple device that connects with any mobile Apple, Android, or SMS-capable device to alert the user to its current location. It’s designed for travelers to keep track of their bags as they shuffle through different airports, and ensure that their luggage is passing through each city along with them. The Trakdot gadget itself is just slightly larger than a deck of cards and powered by two AA batteries, so it can easily fit inside a bag and remain charged for a long period of time.
Once users have registered their device on the Trakdot website, all they have to do is toss it in their bag, and it will deliver location updates via SMS texts or email. One device can be linked to multiple phones and, conversely, one phone can be linked to multiple devices, if needed. Users can also monitor its location in real time from either the Trakdot website or with a free app. With an additional app, the Trakdot will even alert users when their luggage is moving closer to the airport baggage claim.
At the CES Unveiled event, a rep with Globatrac told us the device uses a company-owned GSM frequency to detect its location and has already been approved by the FAA. The rep also noted the Trakdot could also be an effective security measure in case someone grabs your bag from the baggage claim by mistake.
Anyone who has gone through the painful process of recovering their bag after an airline loses it knows how handy Trakdot could be. If an airline loses a bag, for example, the owner usually has to rely on the airline staff to locate it and send it to the correct destination. If they have Trakdot in their bag, however, they can know exactly which city it’s in and pass that information along to the airline to speed the recovery process.
Considering the number of features and uses it has, Trakdot is priced surprisingly low. After purchasing the device itself for US$49.95, there’s just a one-time activation fee of $8.99 and a service fee of $12.99 per year. As someone who’s lost their fair share of luggage while traveling, that seems like a small cost for some real peace of mind.
Trakdot comes bundled with a luggage tag and two batteries and will be available for purchase in March 2013.
And when you get back to the office do you leave the smartphone in your pocket? Under a ton of paperwork on the desk? Charging at the plug next to the Mr Coffee? How about a docking system that works as a good old desk phone. Remember them? They are kind of convenient, actually.
French tech firm invoxia has attempted to blend the benefits of smartphones and desktops, with its New AudiOffice phone.
When the user receives a call on their iOS or Android smartphone, they just place it in the New AudiOffice’s phone dock, then pick up the attached handset and use it to answer and proceed with the call. It’s the type of thing that some people might not care about, but for others, a traditional ergonomic handset is far preferable to the flat surface of a smartphone.
Mobile devices such as phones can also be wirelessly paired with the AudiOffice via Bluetooth, plus tablets can be physically docked using an integrated cradle.
While there are other gadgets that let you handset-ize your mobile phone, the New AudiOffice does offer a few other features. For one thing, its four microphones and six speakers allow for hands-free conversations and conference calls, with better sound output than would be possible using the smartphone on its own – the previous AudiOffice model had two mics and four speakers.
It can also be hooked up to a PC or Mac, allowing users to record conversations, or to play audio from their computer over the New AudiOffice’s speakers. When the phone conversations are over and users want to kick back a little, music can additionally be played from a docked or paired device.
Check out the video http://youtu.be/EGSB14YqodQ