I believe that CES 2016 in early January 2016 was the best CES in several years, and that significant part of that was the return of interesting gadgets. Here are ten that caught my eye, in alphabetical order.
1) APC Back-UPS Connect 50 uninteruptable power supply—designed specifically to keep your home network up when the power goes out, this device also includes a mobile power pack. More information is available here. $140, available now.
2) Cassia Hub Bluetooth Router—this router uses the combination of a large antenna and some clever signal processing to significantly extend both Bluetooth range ("through three walls") and the number of devices that can be connected; up to 22. More information is available here. $100, shipping later this year.
3) Griffin BreakSafe USB-C power connector—this little two-part connector restores MagSafe functionality to the MacBook that was lost when Apple went to the industry standard USB-C connector. Because it is a Griffin product, it has their usual attention to industrial design; more information is available here. $40, shipping later this year.
4) Smarter Fridge Cam—this wide-angle camera takes a picture of the inside of your refrigerator every time you open the door, so you always have a current record of what's in there. Single folks didn't see this as being that useful, but folks I talked to with families definitely saw the application. $100, shipping later this year.
5) RCA SkyBar television antenna—as "cord-cutters" and "cord-nevers" become more prevalent, there's often the desire to get local over-the-air stations, so an antenna is needed. Somebody at RCA noted that people are used to how soundbars look under a television, so they've created an antenna that looks just like a soundbar; nothing new technically—just clever. Starting at $40, available in March.
6) Kolibree Smart Toothbrush—this toothbrush not only knows how long you have brushed for but can now make sure that you've gotten to 16 separate locations in your mouth. For children (perhaps some adults?), there's also a gamification option. More information is available here. $150, available now.
7) OneAdaptr STACK modular power socket system—for those who get perturbed that they can never find the optimal outlet strip, now there's one you can configure yourself. More information is available here. Pricing not yet available, but shipping later this year.
8) GE Vintage Style LED Lightbulb—LED lightbulbs are very efficient and the light quality has gotten much better, but sometime they don't have the right look for older houses. GE solves that problem with these very vintage looking lights. Shipping later this year, in various types.
9) WonderCube accessory kit—a one-inch cube that includes a built-in cable, charger, phone stand, LED light, optional memory, and more. Available in both Apple Lightning and micro-USB versions and currently funding on Indiegogo, starting at $55.
10) D-Toi ZCAN wireless scanner mouse—small scanners (generally intended for office use) have been around for years, but this is the first one I've seen built into a mouse; which is, of course, always right there. Compatible with OS X and Windows—more information is available here. $160, available now.
John Mulhern III, Posted 1/23/2016
For more information on CES, visit: http://www.cesweb.org