By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The sun may have been shining here in the desert, but one couldn't help pining for a little rain to test the new weather-forecasting umbrella recently launched by Ambient.
Through a partnership with AccuWeather.com, the company has devised an umbrella that receives local weather information from the Web site, causing the umbrella's handle to illuminate when rain or snow is in the forecast. The umbrella is available now for a suggested $124.
According to Lisa Ferrante, senior coordinator at Gartner, Ambient was only one of an estimated 110 vendor companies who participated in the show, held here Sept. 4-7. Up to 160 different retail companies were also said to have been present. Ferrante estimated that all told, the bi-annual event saw between 600 to 700 attendees.
In addition to the smart umbrella, vendors showcased a wide range of products from a variety of CE and IT categories. Following are a few of the highlights:
GearHead displayed four new Mac compatible accessories, all of which are set to launch in the United States at the end of October. The line includes a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and optical mouse combo that carries a suggested retail of $119, a 1.3-megapixel Mac Web cam and headset with a suggested retail of $79.99, a Bluetooth wireless laser rechargeable mouse at a $69.99 suggested retail, and a wireless optical rechargeable mouse for $39.99.
Nokia used the show to shine a spotlight on two new products for fall. The N81 is said to be an unlocked "entertainment-oriented" phone featuring 8GB of internal memory to accommodate its music and gaming functions. The device features a slider form and offers dedicated music and gaming keys.
The company also showcased its new Bluetooth headset BH-902. It has multi-pairing capabilities. Its design features in-ear earplugs and and an OLED screen that indicates battery power status, caller ID, clock and received messages.
Both Nokia products are set to launch at retail in the fall and prices are yet to be determined.
Sungil Telecom used RetailVision as an opportunity to unveil its new NOVA5000 digital broadcasting converter box. The box is designed to meet the needs of consumers who will be affected by the upcoming Feb. 17, 2009, government-mandated cease of analog broadcasting. A company spokesperson said he expects the box to be available at retail in mid-January 2008 and that it will carry a suggested retail between $59 and $69.
Iogear showcased its new Digital Scribe, a digital pen said to be able to capture natural handwriting from any surface for storage on a PC. According to the company, the pen requires ordinary ink refills and can be used with any paper. The pen can be used in place of a keyboard for text input and can also be used as a substitute for a mouse. The Digital Scribe is available immediately at a suggested retail of $79.95.
Digistore Solutions showcased its new Centurion disk hub. The automated CD/DVD storage device with a built in read-write drive holds 100 CD/DVD discs, which the company estimates is equivalent to about half a TB of storage capacity. Digistore Solutions suggests "daisy-chaining" the units, which can be stacked up to 10 high, in order to increase storage capacity as necessary. According to a spokesperson, the storage device will soon be available for a $499 suggested retail.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.