CES 2012: 10 Gadgets That Will Launch In The US By Year End

Posted by · January 13, 2012 3:39 pm

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) boasted super, ultra, no-compromise devices on display at every corner.  But once you pushed past the hyperbole, it was difficult to find products that will actually launch in the United States by the end of 2012.  While it was impossible for me to visit every booth at the trade show, I tried my hardest to see as many demos as I could and attend as many press events as time would allow.

Below, you’ll find my list of 10 gadgets from CES 2012 that will actually launch (or have already launched) in the US by the end of this year:

10. AR Drone 2.0

I know. I know. These aren’t really that new, and that’s why they are number 10 on my list. The first version of the AR Drone has actually been out for a few years.  However, version 2.0 looks even cooler than the original. And by cooler, I mean that it will let you be a more effective spy.  The Drone 2.0 comes equipped with a 720p camera that takes both video and still photos and delivers them to your phone or tablet automatically.  Its flying control has been improved in version two, so it’s much responsive to the commands you make from your iPad or Android devices.  There are a slew of other improvements that have been made to the AR Drone 2.0 and as I did in an earlier mention of the Drone 2.0, I will point you all to Mashable editor in chief Lance Ulanoff’s review, as it is very comprehensive.

9. EXOdesk

If a 10-inch tablet screen just isn’t big enough for you, EXOdesk might be your solution.  The 36-inch system agnostic device is similar to Microsoft Surface, but retails for almost $7000 cheaper.   It hooks up to your regular computer and lets you run multiple apps on a much larger surface, which is great for playing games or doing real work where you have multiple windows open while still wanting to monitor all your social media sites (via notifications on the left side of the EXOdesk).  I’ll be honest, the picture doesn’t seem to be as crisp as the Microsoft Surface, nor does the touch capability seem to be as sensitive, but for a $1300 versus $8400 retail price, it’s well worth the investment if you need the space.  EXOdesk is due out in September.

8. XO 3.0 Tablet

The real reason this tablet makes my list is not because of the specs it boasts, but because of the initiative behind it.  One Laptop Per Child has partnered with Marvell to create tablets with low power requirements that can be charged by a hand crank or by the four watt solar panel cover.  While the tablet is customizable to customer’s needs (you can choose your display resolution, how big of a battery you want and whether you want 800Mhz or 1GHz, it comes standard with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of NAND storage, USB and USB On-The-Go ports. The company is hoping to retail the tablets for around $100 and will produce them as soon as there is sufficient demand.  On the other hand, if you’re looking to get rid of your old laptop, Labdoo (I know it’s not technically a gadget, but it’s philanthropic, so hear me out) can help you donate your laptop to a child in need and ensure it reaches that child in an environmentally friendly way.  Check out Labdoo.org for more information.

7. HTC Titan II

I’ll admit: having an HTC Incredible II myself makes me a bit biased towards HTC phones in the first place.  They are fast, easy to use and have an Apple-esque interface (maybe that’s why Apple sued them over patent infringement).  While the HTC Titan II is a Windows Phone (the Incredible II runs an Android OS), the phone boasts a 16 mega-pixel camera that takes panoramic photos.  As someone who takes lots of pictures on my phone the Titan II’s camera blew me away; and the fact that it will run Windows 8—which is a very socially savvy OS—makes me seriously consider an upgrade. The phone will launch on the AT&T network in March.  You can take a look at a video demo here.

6. Sesame Street Kinect

Parents: this is the ultimate educational time waster for your children.  With Sesame Street Kinect, Microsoft has taken episodes of the beloved children’s show and made them interactive.  Through a series of voice and gesture commands (using the Kinect software), Big Bird and co. can interact with your children and your children with them.  In the demonstration I saw, Grover dropped a box of coconuts and asked the child watching to pick the coconuts up and throw them back.  When the child made a throwing motion, Grover ran to catch the coconut in his box—even reacting to the motion and trajectory of the child’s throw.  In addition, Sesame Street Kinect lets your children “go inside” the TV show and see herself walking around on the screen and interacting with Sesame Street characters.  Sesame Street Kinect is set to launch in the US this year and other television partners are already rumored to be on board for similar offerings.

5. Xbox voice recognition

While it’s not on a mobile phone, this is the first legitimate rival to Apple’s Siri that I’ve seen to date.  Microsoft is marrying Xbox and Bing later this year and the result will be a search engine that responds to your every voice command.  Honestly, Xbox voice recognition worked so smoothing in the demonstration that I swear it was rigged—which it might have been—but I certainly hope it wasn’t.  I have numerous friends with an iPhone 4S and have seen them use and used Siri myself quite a few times.  Xbox voice recognition blows Siri out of the water.  Xbox voice recognition will be available later this year.

4. Samsung SmartCam 

I already proclaimed my love for the Samsung wifi video monitor on my inaugural CES 2012 post, so I won’t bore you with too many details here.  There are a few other competitors already on the market (Dropcam) but the ease of use in Samsung’s peer-to-peer technology makes the device work with literally a click of a button.  Video from the surveillance camera is streamed directly to your smartphone or tablet without having to go through a remote video server.  Additionally, the camera uses non-visible infrared LEDs to take video footage in the dark.  According to Samsung’s director of product management Henry Kim, the SmartCam will hit the US in March.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Ultrabook

Truthfully, Intel’s convertible ultrabook was the coolest one I saw at CES, but since it’s only a concept piece right now (and I’m trying to find things that are actually ready to go to market), I can’t officially list it in this article. The Yoga Ultrabook has all the specs of other ultrabooks (17 mm chassis, around 3 lbs and a sleek design) but unlike traditional ultrabooks, the yoga can do a downward facing dog pose.  The key here is the hinge which lets the Yoga lay flat and bend around and upside down to be used as a touchscreen tablet or a regular laptop, er, ultrabook.  The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga will ship as soon as Windows 8 does, which I’m hoping will be later this year.


There’s a reason CNET awarded LG with their top honor of “Best in Show” during their annual Best of CES awards presentation.  The 55-inch TV is only .16 inches thick and uses organic lighting diode (OLED) technology to produce the most beautiful display I have ever seen.  There’s no word on the retail price at this point, but the TVs are expected to hit the US market by the third quarter of 2012.

1. Dynamics credit and Life Code cards

Apparently, Dynamics Inc. has been around for a while, but I think this year’s CES was the first time that many people heard about the credit card manufacturer and it certainly won’t be the last.  Dynamics creates ultra-secure, theft-proof credit cards by actually installing a computer inside of each card.  Each card is currently being used by several US banks (Citibank is one that I know of), so watch the video demo here and then ask your bank if they offer Dynamics credit cards.  In addition, Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen said that the company will be launching their direct-to-consumer Life Code cards in the US this year.   Life Code cards fit behind your driver’s license (which EMTs are required to take in an emergency) and give EMTs access to a one-time use number that they can plug into the Life Code website and access your medical information.  This allows EMTs to treat you on the spot (rather than just sustain you until they reach the hospital) and potentially save your life.