This remote control unit from Griffin Technology plugs into iPods and costs under $40.
By Columnist
updated 1/7/2005 9:37:07 PM ET 2005-01-08T02:37:07

Now I’ve seen everything.  A year and a half ago I was in Las Vegas when it was 116 degrees in the shade.  Today it snowed here.  Didn’t stick – but it was snowing nonetheless.  I guess the city's public relations people are right - Las Vegas really does have it all!

Most of the day though it rained really, really hard.  And Las Vegas found out that its spiffy new monorail system doesn’t work so well in the rain.  There were delays of up to 45 minutes during the storms.  When it does work, it’s the best way to get around town, and to the Convention Center.

One of the main themes for this year’s show is what to plug into your iPod.  There were boom boxes of all sizes and shapes; ways to connect your iPod to your car stereo, or home stereo; and there was my favorite -- a cute remote control unit from the iPod accessory wizards at Griffin Technology.

Owner Paul Griffin was nice enough to let me tell you about the device a week early.  Its formal introduction will be at MacWorld Expo next week in San Francisco.

A small unit plugs into the top of your iPod or Mini and the diminutive white remote unit lets you control playback of the songs and their volume.  There’ll be an armband to attach for when you’re jogging – and a little cradle and strap to hand the remote from your steering wheel. Retail price is $39.99.   It’s very cool.

Oregon Scientific
The MP120 comes in black and bright orange.
Speaking of portable music, Oregon Scientific was showing an interesting item for athletes.  Their MP120 portable MP3 player looks conventional enough –- until you realize that it’s completely waterproof.  That means the player is waterproof and even the headphones are waterproof.  As you might imagine it’s perfect for swimmers and really anyone else who has had a set of headphones ruined by sweating during exercise.

The MP120 also has a built-in FM radio and a USB 2.0 port for fast music downloads.  The 256MB model sells for $169.95.  The 512MB model goes for $219.95.

Oregon Scientific also has an interesting line of heart rate monitor watches.  The SE112 lets you know when your heart rate is ‘in the zone’ by vibrating instead of beeping.  That way you can listen to your favorite music through headphones and monitor your exercise progress at the same time.  Prices start at $129.95.

Digital cameras, WiFi everywhere

Concord Camera
Concord's good looking 6 MP camera sports a great price.

Digital cameras were everywhere.  But the one that caught my eye was from Concord.  It’s the firm's 6.1 megapixel model –- the 6340z. 

It’s a small digital camera in a lightweight metal body –- with a 3x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom. Maximum picture resolution is 2848 by 2136 pixels.  There’s a good-looking 1.5-inch LCD screen on the back.  It’s capable of taking MPEG-4 videos with sound.  It comes with 16 MB of built-in memory and an SD card slot for more storage.

So what caught me eye?  The price.  Concord has set the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $229.  I can’t wait to get my hands on one for testing to see just how good a picture it takes.

And the WiFi networking and storage wizards at Buffalo Technology have a very interesting new product.  They call it the LinkTheater High Definition Wireless Media Player.  If you think that’s a mouthful -– it’s also known as model number PC-P3WG/DVD.

Inside this box is a progressive scan, high definition DVD player which lets you distribute just about any audio, video or digital photo file over your home 802.11g wireless network.  It also up-converts your DVDs to 720p/1080i –- which the firm says improves the video quality.

It supports 5.1 Dolby Sound and DTS as well as being able to handle Windows Media Video 9 and Windows Media Video High Definition, DivX, DivX HD and Xvid files.  Buffalo has priced the box at $349.

There are also some interesting cell phones I’ve seen here –- including one that will redefine the word high when it comes to high speed data on a portable handset.  Details tomorrow.

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