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From cell-phone TVs to talking thermometers

Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 2007

RELATED LINKS:

Consumer Electronics Show

MediaFLO USA Web site (creators of cellular TV system)

Press kit picture of TV-cell phone

Verizon press release on cellular TV service

USA Today story with details on the Elvis robot

Blog site with video of Elvis robot

Garmin navigation device with gas-price finder

Bones In Motion site



KAI RYSSDAL: For the past four days, Las Vegas has been playing host to hundreds of thousands of technogeeks. Our Bob Moon, too. They've been roaming 30 football fields worth of exhibition space at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show. It's a veritable explosion of flat-screen television sets, portable music players, hi-fi speakers and digital meat thermometers. Bob spent some time searching out the more interesting gadgets and talking to the people showing them off.


SPEAKERS ON CES FLOOR: Here's an up-close look at the future of entertainment. . . . Welcome to CES 2007

BILL GANON: I'm Bill Ganon, Mediaflo USA.

BOB MOON: You have had one of the big announcements at this show: People can watch TV on their cell phone. Which raises the question for me: Who needs it?

GANON: You know, we asked the very same question, and we conducted some proprietary research, and one of the great observations that came back from that — and one that gave us a lot of confidence to move forward — is it isn't technofiles who want this service, it's not the forward necesarily bleeding-edge technologists, it's people who love television. That was the number one driver. And if it's true, and if we can deliver on that promise, we think there's a market to address here.

MOON: And what kind of channels am I gonna be able to receive on my cell phone?

GANON: We've gotten content commitment from major networks like NBC, FOX, CBS and MTV Networks. We anticipate more to come, we're always in discussion with others. But we look to replicate is a very cable-like experience. A true television quality experience with the kind of variety that we're accustomed to . . . of the major content providers.


CAR NAVIGATOR: In one quarter mile, make a left turn, approaching destination on right side.

JESSICA MYERS: Jessica Myers, and I'm with Garmin International.

MOON: A lot of us are familiar with these car navigation devices, but your company's come up with one with a twist.

MYERS: Right, we've announced that we have MSN Direct on our Garmin Nubian Street Pilot line. So with MSN Direct you can get real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices and movie times all directly on the device.

MOON: OK, fuel prices you said. So if I'm driving somewhere, I can check out where the cheapest gas is?

MYERS: Simply hit "Fuel Prices" and it'll give you a list of all the different places. If it knows how old that data is, then it'll let you know that as well. It'll color code it — red is high prices, green is low prices . . .

MOON: So we've got a price here of $2.73 a gallon. As of two days ago, it was selling at this particular address.

MYERS: Correct. So then once you decide what location you want to go to, all you do is hit "Go" and it'll give you turn-by-turn directions directly there.


SPEAKER ON CES FLOOR: . . . You just hit send. It shows all the nearby devices that are within that 30-foot range . . .

JON WERNER: My name is Jon Werner, I'm with a company called Bones In Motion.

MOON: The reason for the name "Bones In Motion" is soon to become apparent as we talk here, but I thought I'd figured out everything that you can do on a cell phone. You're about to tell me something I never imagined.

WERNER: You already take it with you basically everywhere you go. Why not add some additional value? So, when you're out doing an activity like running or cycling or walking . . . how far did I go? How fast did I go? How many calories? All that information can now be recorded and stored for you, using your cell phone.



ELVIS ROBOT: Oh yeah, you caught me at a good time. I'm about ready to sing Heartbreak Hotel. . . . Well since my baby left me . . .

ART JANIS: It's Art Janis from WowWee Robotics.

MOON: Why does anybody need a singing bust of Elvis?

JANIS: Well, what it is, is we're bringing Elvis alive. We're actually — for all the people who love and embrace him, and all the millions in the fan club and millions out there — and when he sings he's going to move just like he was really there. There's 10 motors in the face which give us actual reproduction of all his facial movements.

MOON: Yeah, you've got him right down to the sneer, don't you?

JANIS: Yeah. And he'll tell you a lot of his history, also, when he gets into his monologues.

MOON: How much is this going to sell for?

JANIS: This will be around $350.


SONG: . . . Strike it up, strike it up, strike it up . . .

DAVID FURMAN: David Furman, Oregon Scientific.

MOON: Just when I thought that I'd heard the last possible wireless product, you've come up with a wireless meat thermometer.

FURMAN: This is true. Actually, this is an expansion on an existing meat thermometer. This one actually talks. You're walking around, you're hosting a party, something like that. The audible alerts allow you to know exactly when you're meat's almost ready, so you can head over to the barbecue.

MOON: So you can attend to your guests, and watch your cooking at the same time.

FURMAN: We're trying to make for a politer nation, that's what we're trying to do.

MOON: If something's burning on the grill, do you have an urgent voice saying, "Quick, get back here!"?

FURMAN: No, unfortunately, there's no sense of urgency in the voice. It's pretty calm.

TALKING THERMOMETER: Rare. Medium rare. Medium. Well done. Well done . . .

MOON: Thank you.

THERMOMETER: Well done.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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