CES 2012: A grab bag of tablet enhancers, accessories & new models

January 11, 2012

LAS VEGAS — TabTimes attended the Digital Experience event to find out more on the latest tablets and accessories which will soon be heading your way.

Tablet printing – here at last

Apple’s iPad and iPhone are probably more responsible for the consumerization of IT trend than any other devices. But as the iPad spreads through the enterprise, many users are finding there’s one bothersome problem — printing. Since many company’s networks don’t support Apple’s Airport for printing, there’s no way to easily connect to the corporate network to print from your iPad.

Lantronix showed off one solution, its $149.95 xPrintServer device that lets you print from the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Scheduled for availability next month, according to Senior Director of Marketing Mark Tullio, who said typically each xPrintServer should be able to support up to ten Apple devices for printing. 

Touchy feely Immersion

Immersion is not necessarily a company consumers know, but it’s been one of the main suppliers of haptic touch technology to device makers for years. The Galaxy Tab Android tablet uses Immersion technology to provide touch feedback on the tablets virtual keyboard, for example. The technology also provides the vibration and explosive impact feel in many video game systems. 

At Digital Experience, Immersion was showing off some of its latest work in tablets including a simulated pinball game that had the feel of the real thing. Steve Kingsley-Jones, Immersion’s Director of Product Management, said the advent of the iPhone was incredibly helpful in opening doors to for the company to new clients, though it doesn’t count Apple as among them. 

“Apple’s success forced these other companies to compete and spend time on design and that’s where we were able to give them something that could add value,” said Kingsley-Jones. He says Immersion already has licensing deals with half the Android handset market including new models like the Pantech Element

Pandigital tablets

Pandigital was one of several tablet vendors showing off its tablets. Although it offers a range of sizes, Marketing Manager Michael Gorman said the new 8-inch Pandigital SuperNova, priced at $199, is by far their best seller. “We sold 100,000 in one day on QVC," said Gorman. “We’re finding people love the 8-inch size.” He also said new models in additional sizes would be available later this year. 

Earbuds fall out? Try yurbuds

Finally, ever get frustrated by earbuds that are always falling out of your ears? A company called yurbuds says it’s developed a solution, with a specially-designed pair of earbuds, or yurbuds, that stay in the ear. In fact, the company had a gymnast doing flips on hand to show how the yurbuds stayed in place. 

“You can have them in for hours and they won’t fall out,” said yurbuds president and CEO Seth Burgett. The company says yurbuds are more effective than traditional earbuds because they “twist lock” into place in the ear.

Though the $59 yurbuds are certainly appropriate, if not pricey, for mobile workers and consumers of all stripes, the company’s slogan is “developed for athletes, by athletes.” Burgett for example is an active triathlete and his COO is a 22-time marathoner. 

After noticing his iPod earphones were painful and often fell out while he was training, Burgett said he used his background in minimally invasive surgical devices to develop yurbuds along with his team that includes audiologists and industrial design specialists. 


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