CES was full of fantastic accessories I’d probably never buy, but there were a few gems that stood out and begged for me to track them down after the fact.
Samsung had a great showing at the show, and its various tablet and phone speaker docks really struck me as a marvel of old-fashioned quality design. While I couldn’t get a clear sound profile with all the hubbub around me, but with dedicated woofers and tweeters, and what looks like a tube amp design, sound is sure to impress.
A more modern-looking variant is this curved log design with large woofers on either side. It’s got a dedicated spot for the Galaxy phones, but I’m not sure a tablet could fit in there. Definitely a looker, though.
I couldn’t get model names or price points, but will update I have them.
Next up was iLuv, traditionally an Apple accessory company, they are branching off to create Android docks and power accessories, too. The above photo combines the iPad 2 ($79.99) and Galaxy Tab 8.9 (unreleased) Folio cases with separate Bluetooth keyboard for a lapt0p-replacement scenario. I liked the build quality of the cases, the feel of the keys and the overall laptop-like look of the combination.
iLuv’s WorkStation ($149) is a cool concept: it docks your iPhone iPad in place while keeping it at an (adjustable) height that suits most viewing and typing styles. Its integrated wired keyboard docks easily but provides a desktop-like typing experience, though it was a little smaller than I would have liked compared to full laptop keyboard. The docking arm pivots and rotates, and there is a dock connector at the back to plug charge and sync your device.
There is an iLuv app free in the App Store which turns your iDevice into a fully-fledged bedside or office alarm; there is an internet radio with snooze/sleep options, and four “unique” clock styles.
The iLuv DreamTraveler ($69.99) is a great example of a subtle design triumph. Along the back are three non-opposing power outlets, and on the right side two USB 2.0 plugs. At the centre is a slide-out iPhone dock connector. The cord has a built-in clip for easy carrying, and it provides surge protection for electrical spikes.
Also shown is the CuteSync ($19.99), an iPhone/USB multi-charger, and the MobiAir ($119.99), a multi-alignment microUSB speaker dock for Android devices. Its dock connector can twist and pivot to support most Android device layouts.
I really enjoyed Scosche this year as they tried to answer a lot of needs for practical, design-focused smartphone users. The company has so many products, it’s hard to really get a grasp on their focus, but they take care of portable charging (flipCHARGE rogue) to cases (SwitchBACK flip) to headphones. Their ClipSYNC keychain or carabina charging cords are genius, and the perfect gift for emergency charging situations.
Check out Scosche’s full line of cool products.
Otterbox had an awesome showing at CES this year, with cases for most popular Android devices and for every style of iPhone.
Two standouts for me were the Commuter Case for the Galaxy Nexus (review soon) and the LiveStrong iPhone 4S case which was just beautiful and is raising money for Lance Armstrong’s foundation.
And a couple of our favourite “robust” iPhone cases over the past year have been the two-part Otterbox Commuter and snap-on Reflex cases for the iPhone 4S. The Reflex case, especially, is extremely sturdy but form-fits to the iPhone by sliding on in two pieces. It also doesn’t obstruct any charging ports, which is an annoyance for some with the Commuter series.
Definitely one of the cooler booths at the show, Cygnett‘s iPhone cases are some of the most well-constructed and uniquely-designed we’ve seen. I’ve had a Cygnett case on my iPhone for a few months, but when I was shown the Icon Art Series by Nathan Jurevicius, an Australian graphic novel artist, I was blown away. Not only are the cases sturdy and fit well, but they feel fantastic. Though I’ve never read Nathan’s Scarygirl series, I am very intrigued.
Cygnett offers cases and accessories for most high-end Android devices, too, but they do iPhone and iPad cases best.
There were a lot of other fantastic accessory vendors at CES this year, but we’re going to narrow down just a few more. X-Doria is a new company that is trying very hard to make its name in North America with some pretty innovative stuff.
Its Widge (above) and Campfire protective cases for iPad 2 are fantastic traveling and media consumption companions, while its Engage Form and Cubit series for iPhone 4S left me smiling. I look forward to trying them.
And, as you’ve already seen, we’re big fans of Speck Products‘ array of iPhone and iPad cases.
With some truly innovative stuff coming out of various accessory makers at CES, there is no doubt that iPhone and iPad owners, despite the “same-same” look to every device, have plenty opportunities to be creative and make them unique. The industry is enormous; you should have seen the number of dedicated iDevice vendors on the show floor.
The above are just a glimpse of, and some of our favourite, accessories we saw this year at CES.