Some up-and-coming products expected to stand out among consumer electronics accessories were highlighted at Fall RetailVision 2008 which drew about 550 industry participants to the Manchester Grand Hyatt here last month.
Highlighted products included a voice-activation module for an iPod from Innotech Systems and a tiny wireless DVR that can be placed anywhere as a "nanny cam" from DMTechnology. Also showcased was a keyboard with a built-in scanner and a laptop stand with an iPod dock.
Best of RetailVision Awards were given to standout vendors and retailers, determined by votes from their peers and Everything Channel magazine editors. Overall "best product" winner for the show was Vuzix for its iWear video glasses that provide a viewing experience similar to watching a 44-inch to 62-inch display.
Neat Receipts won "best peripheral" for its Neat Receipts scanners with software that lets you scan your receipts, bills and business cards into a simple database on your PC, which may be organized for tax purposes.
Also honored were Iogear for "best accessory" and Sling Media for "best digital home product." Three merchandising awards were given to CPG/Woot!, while the "best new technology" award was given to Kotra.
Following are some other products showcased at RetailVision:
Accenda Voice Control for iPod by Innotech Systems: It lets a user control iPod volume and switch tracks with his voice. The iPod can be placed in the user's pocket with the Accenda controller attached to his shirt. The matchbook-sized controller has an earphone jack. It is expected to be available in September for $99.95; an iPhone version is being developed.
Compadre real-time language translators from SpeechGear: The company 's laptop software uses military technology to instantly translate whatever users say or type for $995. A PDA/smartphone version translates semi-canned phrases for $59. The PDA would offer select phrases such as "Which way to the …" and then the user can type in a word such as "beach" for instant translation.
The "world's smallest" GPS tracker from Gilsson Technologies: According to the company, it is a device about the size of a pager that requires no monthly service fees for basic use or extra equipment such as an antenna. The tracker can be placed on a person or thing. For spot tracking, the owner calls a given number and receives the device's latitude, longitude, direction and speed, which can be located then on Google Maps. For continuous tracking, however, a monthly fee is required. It also offers a red panic button for kids or the elderly that automatically sends a text message to up to five people. When the device is placed in a vehicle, if it moves beyond a certain area, a text message is also sent. It carries a retail of $399.
The "world's smallest DVR" from DMTechnology: A wireless camera about the size of an eyeball, it can record up to six hours and can be mounted on a headband for sports filming or placed behind a teddy bear as a nanny cam. It also has a motion sensor so it can start recording when someone enters a room. It accepts SD cards, has a USB port and carries a suggested retail of $249.
A keyboard with built-in scanner from KeyScan: The KS810 keyboard has a built-in 600 dpi scanner with OCR that imports documents to many types of files, creates a PDF of the image and allows cut and paste options of the scanned image. Color images can be scanned in 15 seconds. The keyboard is available now at a suggested retail of $159.
Keyboard with an iPod dock from Lifeworks: Startup Lifeworks has licensed the iHome brand name for close to a hundred products to be offered by early next year, including a high-end keyboard with an iPod dock and a laptop PC desk stand with an iPod dock and built-in speakers, it said. The keyboard has a suggested retail of $129 to $149. It can charge the iPod and has illuminated touch-sensitive keys for controlling iTunes functions. They keyboard also has two built-in USB ports and a headphone jack. The $149 laptop stand has speakers that are three-to-five times better than those of a laptop for an improved music listening experience, according to the company. It also has built-in USB ports and a cable management system. It may be used with an optional 2.4GHZ wireless keyboard and mouse.
Fuel Cell Power Pack from Medis Technologies: Billed as the first "green" fuel-cell pack for portable devices, it resembles a small plastic box the size of a thick deck of cards. When squeezed, the fuel cell is activated and can provide up to eight charges over a three-month period. Before it's squeezed, it can sit on a shelf indefinitely without losing power. The unit comes with plastic tips that work with leading portable devices, including cellphones and portable game machines. The charger is available now at a suggested retail of $34.99. Additional refills may be purchased for $19.99.
Many of the above technologies were part of technology showcase at RetailVision called "Fresh." The showcase was hosted by The Sightline Group, which specializes in identifying emerging technology companies.