Acer, of all people -- a company that makes okay low-end computers -- bought a start-up company to sell a product aimed at pet owners, Pawbo. Basically, it's a nanny-cam type of device that let's you stay in touch with your pets. Not just watch them to see they're okay, and talk to them, but several attachments let you set up toys and play with them, as well as feed them. One attachment can be set to deliver food treats at certain times. Others will let you control a laser beam that your cat will likely try to catch, or will attach sort of antenna-like wires that you can spin around for your animal to play with. (Again, probably a cat. Dogs tend not to run around swatting at these things.) Or will pop-up a mouse toy -- okay, obviously this is for a cat, too, I finally caught on to the theme... that your pet will try to grab.
Acer's Xpolva is a sort of nice adaptation of an activity video camera. It seems made mostly for bicycle riders. It can shoot video as you ride, as well as check your heart rate, and also check the speed of your bike, and your pedal cadence.
The Miele press conference was -- well, I'm not completely sure. It was one of those in German, and it took me a while to track down a radio transceiver that they fortunately had for translations. Almost more fun than what was being said was watching the guy just slightly off to the side doing the translations. (I felt like shouting out, "Pay no attention to to man behind the curtain...") He actually was a bit hard to understand. The sound quality was weak, his English wasn't great -- an odd choice, especially given that he had a script and was just reading along, rather than really doing any translating), and the main speaker was very loud..
Okay, so you know how I just told you that they really love things like irons. I wasn't kidding. They go off into the ozone for these things. Space age devices -- yes, for an iron. This is a new iron from Bosch, and I put my pen next to it so that you can get an idea of the size of this sucker. This is one REALLY BIG iron. IAnd high-fangled and dazzling. An iron! I know there are people who dearly love ironing, but this might be a two-person job. So, find a friend and make it a group activity.
By the way, the Bosch press conference was in German, as well, and had those little radio receivers for translations; But there's were worlds better. Very clear, with crisp audio, and there was no conflict between hearing it and the main speaker. Of course there was a good reason for that -- the transceiver and headphones were made by Sennheiser.
There was a very funny moment at the Panasonic press conference. As the event began, and went on for a while, it was a bit pretentious. To be clear, most press conference that take place in ballroom-like places are pretentious, but Panasonic was one that stood out. In fairness, they were taking on a more substantive theme, having to do with their Connected Cities, using technology to literally create a few "test cities with partners to see how different types of technology can interact with one another and overcome societal problems. But still, they handled it in such an overbearing way that you felt you were at a meeting of the local government Council of Social Progress Symposium that was attempting to address society's ills and cure them. Rather than trying to find a new market to sell technology. Profit is perfectly fine, and solving social problems is great, too. But the president of the company was going on and on in this holy-minded way about how Panasonic technology was going to solve the woes of the world. And they well may. Except then, the microphone went out.
Lenovo had an event at night, and a few of the products looked very interesting. One was a mobile phone (the Moto Z, I think) that will let you snap on a camera attachment. That's not common, but not all that eye-opening. In this case it is -- the camera is made by the legendary Hasselblad. When attached, the device is bulky, but I suspect that this is one great camera for a Smartphone.
They also had to very light and portable 2-in-1 devices. One, the Yoga 910 which I liked at first glance, with a respectable keyboard. It only weighs about 1.5 pounds, and should retail for $800. The other, a Yoga Book is basically a tablet (Android or Windows) that lets you draw and has a keyboard, though an odd one to keep it so thin -- no real keys, but sort of "graphic" touch keys. I didn't like the keyboard at all, but it was a nice tablet device.
It was also a dismally organized event. They divided everyone into small groups and oddly rotated them. Also, at the beginning, they had snacks that consisted of soft pretzels and cupcakes. For the longest while, that appeared to be the dinner that was promised. Only later, after everything was over did they have actual food. Sort of -- two odd-tasting salads, and some desert. And beer, needless-to-say. Still, and most importantly, the new products were generally intriguing.
And that's the day...