Favorite promotions and products from CES 2014

January 10, 2014
Intel Smart Bowl

As the party starts winding down, we thought it would be fun to look back on the past few days and share the best promotions and products our team got to see during the four-day orgy of all things digital, dazzling, and downright dumb:

Greg Matusky

Favorite promotion: I am a sucker for anything from “Back to the Future,” and Christopher Lloyd’s appearance at the Gibson pavilion on board a DeLorean, ranks as one of the high moments of CES 2014. OK, maybe it was only a high moment for a middle-aged, tech weenie like me. But still, it was great to see Lloyd fall back into his Doc Brown persona, fake a few chords on a Gibson, and fumble with his Google Glass. His appearance was designed to remind the audience of Gibson’s more than 100-year-old history. It reminded me of all the times in the 1990s that I watched and re-watched that movie with my son as a child, and the role it played in sparking his interest in science and technology. Kudos to Gibson, and thanks to Chris Lloyd for reminding us of our past shared experience in contemplating the future.

Favorite product: I am always impressed with products that are so shockingly simple that everyone just has to scream: “Why didn’t someone think of that before now?” That was my reaction to Intel’s wireless, charging smart bowl that you can throw your iPhone, Fitbit, Bluetooth headphones, and all the other gizmos begging for power into. This one makes incredible sense, and my wife instructed me to buy one, buy it now, and not to come home without it. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available and its black design looks more like an audio speaker than something she would ever allow me to place on top of her kitchen counter. Still, the simplicity and problem-solving nature of this device makes it a must-have.

CHARGING IN PROGRESS: Intel’s smart bowl can charge multiple
electronics at one time, in one place.
Jake Tulsky 

Favorite promotion: The award for best publicity at CES 2014 goes to French drone maker Parrot. If you need any evidence, just Google “CES news” and you’re bound to see lots of coverage about Parrot’s products. But here is the interesting part. There’s nothing really special about Parrot drones, and in fact, drones were all over CES. What was special is how Parrot publicized its attendance at this year’s show. It announced it early on Sunday, before the show even opened, in order to win early coverage that spilled over to just about every round-up and highlight story written over the week. It also demoed at each and every turn during the show, providing the media with the ultimate visuals. Perhaps Parrot was just lucky, and benefited from the aftereffect of Amazon’s holiday drone story on “60 Minutes,” but its tactics were flawless, winning the company international exposure.

Favorite product: Come on, man. It’s that seemingly football-field-long 105-inch, 21:9 curved Ultra HD TV from LG. Hands down. This thing is massive, immersive, and the absolute best (and biggest) curved display I’ve ever seen. The images appear to jump off the screen, moving over and through you. Crowds flocked to it all day long, and it proved to be one of the most powerful and impressive products in LG’s warehouse-sized booth.

HOME MOVIE THEATER: Of all the curved TV displays
at CES, this one was the showstopper.

Mike Lizun

Favorite promotion: My favorite promotion award goes to Murata Electronics. Earlier this summer, the company — which designs and manufactures ceramic-based electric components, power supplies, and wireless module solutions — debuted Murata Boy and Murata Girl, two robots comprised entirely of Murata products. Component stories can be hard to tell, but Murata used innovative and creative visuals as well as solid storytelling to bring it to life. The robots were a huge hit at the show, drawing in an audience beyond the typical engineering crowd that would have normally been the only viewers at a booth like Murata’s. Pretty impressive for a company that doesn’t normally make robots.

MURATA BOY AND GIRL: Murata Electronics brought engineering
to life with its live robot show. Here we are on the controls.

Favorite product: I love to barbeque, and I am not alone. When we introduced a see-through grill top for our client SCHOTT, the media went gaga for any new product that could make the life of a weekend barbeque lover easier and more convenient. So my favorite product was the Grillbot, a grill-cleaning robot. Just turn it loose and it automatically takes care of the worst part of barbequing — de-gunking the grill top each and every time you use it.

NO ELBOW GREASE NEEDED: The Grillbot is every BBQ-lover’s
dream.

Re-chargable, the Grillbot is controlled by a chip that controls its speed, direction, and movement. The little guy even beeps when it’s done. Here it is in action:

Now where are those steaks I plan to barbeque when I return from CES this weekend?

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