CES 2013 through the eyes of our contest winner (video)

Many entered, but it was Daniel Orren who sent in a great green-screened video that snagged him a temporary spot on the Engadget crew at this year's CES. Hanging with the team in our trusty trailer, getting comped meals, roaming the floor, wearing mind-controlled cat ears -- honestly, it's probably just easier to list all of the things the photographer didn't do the other week in Vegas.

With the dust settled, we asked Orren how he enjoyed the trip. "The showroom floor was a lot bigger than I had anticipated originally, so naturally this was great as there were more gadgets." Amongst the highlights: "My favorite times would have to be hanging with the Engadget crew, it's nice just chatting with everyone about all the cool stuff you've seen that day/week and just geeking out." And as for that inevitable question, the one we ask ourselves right around this time each year, " I'd love to go back to CES if given the chance, and who knows, maybe I'll just go on my own in a few years."

Also included in the prize package was an Engadget Show segment to call his very own. When he wasn't occupied with the Steambox and 4K TVs, our film crew was following Orren around to find out what it's like going to CES as a first-timer. Check in after the break for the results.

This segment originally appeared in episode 40 of The Engadget Show.


The Engadget Show 40: The Best of CES with Kaz Hirai, 50 Cent, Ken Block and Arianna Huffington

The craziest week of the tech year is at end, and we have to say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Sure, it wasn't quite as epic as it has been in years past, but CES is still the show that sets the stage for the rest of 2013. By that measure, we may well be seeing an interesting shift. With the loss of Microsoft, some smaller companies have been using the show to make names for themselves amongst the 4K TVs released by the bigwigs like Samsung, Sony and LG. The Pebble smart watch, the Oculus Rift and the Razer Edge all scored big. We take a look at the products and discuss how things like crowdfunding are affecting the world of hardware startups.

We've also got interviews galore -- we'll be talking with Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, SMS Audio CEO (and rapper, we're told) 50 Cent, rally car driver Ken Block, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Stern Pinball CEO Gary Stern, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis and CEA president Gary Shapiro among many, many others (including a very special appearance from Gallagher -- this is Vegas, after all). Daniel, the winner of our Bring a Reader to CES contest will show you what it's like going to the show for the first time and our editors discuss how this year's event compares to years past. And, of course, we've also got lots of floor time with our favorite gadgets from the show.

Toss on a comfortable pair of walking shoes, because it's time to do CES all over again.

Hosts: Tim Stevens, Brian Heater
Guests: Kaz Hirai, 50 Cent, Ken Block, Arianna Huffington, Gary Stern, Gary Shapiro, Daniel Orren, and many, many others
Producer: Ben Harrison
Executive Producers: Brian Heater, Joshua Fruhlinger

Download the Show: The Engadget Show - 040 (HD) / The Engadget Show - 040 (iPod / iPhone / Zune formatted) / The Engadget Show - 040 (Small)

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Distro Issue 74: The CES 2013 wrap-up and the fight for the second screen

Distro Issue 74 The CES 2013 wrapup

Now that we're all back to the normal grind outside of the confines of a double-wide trailer, it's time to reflect on the last week's events in chilly Las Vegas. In a return to weekly installments of our tablet mag, we recall the high points of CES 2013 with a look at the battle surrounding second screen tech. We also discuss of all of the Ultra HD news and rundown the Best in Show items in all of the major categories. Eyes-On takes a gander at QNX's Bentley, Hands-On wraps the final two days from the show floor and travel photographer Austin Mann visits for the Q&A. The end of another week is here, friends, so grab your device of choice and cozy up for an extra helping of leisurely gadget reading.

Distro Issue 74 PDF
Distro in the iTunes App Store
Distro in the Google Play Store

Distro in the Windows Store

Distro APK (for sideloading)
Like Distro on Facebook
Follow Distro on Twitter

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Source: iTunes, Google Play, Windows Store

Black Powder Media’s Impulse Controller hands-on (video)

Black Powder Media's Impulse Controller handson video

Black Powder Media showed up at our double-wide HQ with a couple Bluetooth Impulse Controllers on hand for us to play with. This tiny Bluetooth 2.1 controller is actually a jack of all trades device as it will control your phone, tablet or PC for gaming, multimedia control, remote camera trigger and even help find your keys -- via a free app -- if you lose them.

We had a chance to play a bit of Pac Man and Temple Run on an iPad and the control was really quite good, though, the device's housing isn't complete as you can plainly see in the pic above. Button feel was great with the right rubbery click feel to the various buttons on the face and shoulder keys on the rear. The D-Pad can be flipped to the opposite side of the controller using the small mode key so that lefties can join in the fun, too. To protect your Impulse Controller while it is tethered to your keychain it comes wrapped in a very clever plastic housing that doubles as a stand for your phone while playing a game in either portrait or landscape mode. We definitely are looking forward to seeing the final polished product, but until then have a peek at our quick video tour and photo gallery.

Zach Honig contributed to this report

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Source: Impulse Controller

Sony handcrafts its CES products in reverse-teardown (video)

Sony handcrafts its CES products in reverse-teardown (video)

If you were following Sony's CES press event in detail, you might recall it launched with a quick video of a new Sony product made by hand. We now know that was to be the Xperia Z, and now the company's released a curiously relaxing video of a (largely) off-camera tinkerer crafting the aforementioned phone, a Cybershot RX1 and one of its HD camcorders. All within five minutes. We doubt this is how the electronics-maker's real production line works, but at least you get a glimpse into how Sony ensures its new flagship phone is kept 'omnibalanced'. (Hint: there's not much space left beneath that glossy back panel.)

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Source: Sony (YouTube)

IK Multimedia’s iRig HD adapter for iOS, Mac lets guitars ride the Lightning port

IK Multimedia's iRig HD adapter lets guitars ride the Lightning port

IK Multimedia spent a lot of time at CES 2013 courting Android musicians, but we neglected to mention equal attention spent on iOS at the show through the iRig HD. The company's new adapter pipes audio from a guitar or other instrument with a quarter-inch plug into Lightning-equipped Apple devices, keeping them in IK's musical world (and inviting terrible Metallica puns). It's not exclusively built to jam with an iPad mini or iPhone 5, either, as a modular approach brings the analog-to-digital conversion both to earlier iOS gear and to Macs' USB ports through relevant adapters. About the only disappointment is the absence of firm launch details, although those should be coming "soon."

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CES: iRig HD Announced

The sequel to the most popular guitar interface of all time

8 January 2013

The new iRig HD, the sequel to iRig - the most popular guitar interface of all time - is now being shown at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, at the IK Multimedia booth (located at North Hall, Booth 5625). Just one day after the show floor opened, iLounge awarded it Best of Show 2013!

With over half a million units sold worldwide, iRig has revolutionized the way guitar players jam and record, allowing them to play anywhere using their iPhone or iPad and the virtual effects and amplifiers of the range of AmpliTube apps. AmpliTube is the all-time bestseller when it comes to guitar sound processing, and includes dozens of legendary pieces of gear from world-class brands such Fender(R), Ampeg(R), Soldano(R), and T-Rex(R), as well as the sounds of iconic artists like Slash and Jimi Hendrix.

iRig HD improves on the characteristics that have made iRig the standard for connecting your guitar or bass to the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and rocking out. Together with its ease of use, plug-and-play convenience, ultra-portability and universal compatibility, iRig HD offers a superior digital sound quality that's comparable to that of high-end interfaces used in computer-based studios.

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Via: Cult of Mac

Source: IK Multimedia

Making the virtual a reality at CES 2013

Microsoft's decision to drop out of CES prompted a lot of questions with regards to the future relevance of CES, not the least of which was how much the industry really needed an in-person tech trade show in an age where business is primarily done online. Of course, there's still a fair amount of value in offering members of the media and buyers the opportunity to actually interact with the technology in person. And while software companies have long been a staple of the show, their presence is most often an acknowledgement of hardware partners.

It's fitting, then, that many of the show's offbeat highlights came in the form of companies looking to offer hardware solutions to our increasingly virtual world. Parrot's always-amusing CEO, Henri Seydoux said it best while showing off the latest additions to the company's AR.Drone on our stage. "Today, the kids have video games," he told us. "They've replaced toys, because it's a much more interesting experience. With the drone, we've tried to make toys as fun as video games." And it's easy to see how such a product can be taken as a real-world answer to smartphone gaming, with video from the built-in camera being overlaid with AR content.

Continue reading Making the virtual a reality at CES 2013

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Runbo X5 and X3 rugged Android phones moonlight as walkie-talkies, cost just $320

Runbo X5 and X3 Androids

We've seen a handful of rugged Androids in our time, but none are as affordable and as weird as these ones at CES. The backstory here is that a couple of Chinese guys in camouflage gear approached us at our CES stage, and after an awkward conversation, it turned out that they just wanted to show us the three rugged phones they brought all the way from Shenzhen. Starting from the right we have the Runbo (like Rambo?) X1 IP67-certified featurephone cum walkie-talkie, which packs a 2-inch 176 × 144 display, a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a laser pointer, quad-band GSM plus 800MHz CDMA cellular radios, 400 to 470MHz range for the software-configurable walkie-talkie, a surprisingly loud speaker and a 2,200mAh battery. This will be available for ¥980 or about $160 on Taobao online store (the Chinese equivalent of eBay) in the next couple of days, and we've been told that there will also be a variant with GPS added.

But the real stars of the show are the two brick-sized vanilla Android 4.0.4 devices. The phone pictured in the middle is the Runbo X5, a device featuring a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 MTK6577 chipset, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSD expansion, a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 IPS display, an app-triggered laser pointer, an eight-megapixel main camera, a 0.3-megapixel front camera, a super loud speaker (again) and a massive removable 3,800mAh battery. And yes, this also comes with a 400 to 470MHz walkie-talkie radio (up to 10km range; with detachable antenna), along with the additional 850/1900/2100 WCDMA radio, two SIM slots (WCDMA plus GSM), WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. These specs are the same for the Runbo X3 on the left, except for the smaller 3.5-inch 800 x 480 IPS panel to make space for the QWERTY keyboard below it. The best part here are the prices: both of these IP67-certified devices are available on Taobao or the official website for just ¥1,999 or about $320, which is a bargain for both the ruggedness and the fact that these double as standard walkie-talkies. US folks can also order directly from eBay for $380, which is also a steal. But does this surprisingly low price reflect the quality? Find out in our hands-on after the break.

Continue reading Runbo X5 and X3 rugged Android phones moonlight as walkie-talkies, cost just $320

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Source: Runbo, eBay

Editorial: TV gets prettier, smarter and dumber

Editorial TV gets more beautiful prettier, smarter and dumber

Good ideas are hard to predict, both before and after they are introduced as prototypes. The push-button (touch-tone) telephone was conceptually launched to the consumer market at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, 21 years after the device was invented by Bell Telephone labs. Another 20 years after the Seattle exposition, touch-tone phones finally penetrated 50 percent of American homes. A general lack of tech frenzy, and monopoly pricing control, slowed adoption. But it's also true that the new phones didn't solve a fundamental problem. They sped up dialing, which solved a non-essential but important user-interface problem of rotary dial phones.

Each year at CES, tech enthusiasts get a chance to glimpse prototypical ideas and guess whether they will endure. In doing so, one question should remain central: "What problem is being solved?"

Continue reading Editorial: TV gets prettier, smarter and dumber

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How hardware startups changed the face of CES

It was all bad timing, really. Just ahead of CES 2012, Microsoft announced that year's event would be its last, blaming product schedules that just didn't match up with the annual show. There was no question that the tech giant's absence would be felt the following year, the first time in recent memory the Consumer Electronics Show wasn't kicked off by a Microsoft keynote. It signaled, perhaps, a slight shift away from the days of huge companies dominating the event's headlines -- a phenomenon helped along by the recent attention-grabbing successes of a number of crowdfunded projects, many of which were present at the show.

The move from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer was one thing, but a CES without Redmond? That was just unheard of, a specter that loomed over the show, even as the CEA happily announced it had sold out the company's floor space in "record time." In the end, of course, Microsoft was still at the show, albeit in a less overt form, by way of third-party machines from Sony, Samsung and the like, and in the form of a cameo by none other than Ballmer himself -- a sort of spiritual baton-passing to the company's keynote successor, Qualcomm. Heck, even the Surface Pro reared its head backstage at the show.

Continue reading How hardware startups changed the face of CES

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