Top 10 Gadgets at CES 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

As expected, there was a lot to see at CES this year. No one can see it all in four days, but here’s a list of the Top 10 gadgets that caught my attention.


A quadcopter flies at the booth for dji, surrounded by safety netting. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

1. dji’s Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera. This flying camera takes photography to a new level. It comes with a high-performance camera that takes still photos and records video with a radio-frequency remote controller that controls the quadcopter much like a flying model airplane. Camera settings can be adjusted using your smart phone or tablet. The photographer/pilot on the ground has a “first person view,” meaning the view is from the camera, not from the ground. It retails for about $1200.

2. HISY. This Bluetooth remote camera shutter works with your iPhone or tablet and allows the picture-taker to snap a photo from 30 to 90 feet away from the iPhone. It is the size of a ping-pong ball and can be attached to the headphone jack for easy carrying and access. The picture-taker can get into a group photo without rushing to beat a timer, and HISY makes a “selfie” easy to take without awkward physical contortions.


A Kenwood display shows HDMI or MHL reciever connection to smart phone. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

3. Kenwood’s eXcelon In-Dash Receiver. Auto makers are beginning to provide in new models full in-dash connectivity to and display of the driver’s smart phone and all of its apps, with touch-screen control. If you would like this now, but do not want to buy a new car, you can buy this receiver and have it installed, just like upgraded radios used to be installed. There are HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) receivers for iPhones and MHL (mobile high-definition link) receivers for Android-based smart phones. You can connect your smart phone wirelessly or use a short cable that also charges the phone and makes the connection more reliable. JVC, Clarion, and Dual offer similar receivers.

4. MakerBot Replicator 2. More than 25 exhibitors showed 3-D printing technology. For an enthusiast interested in 3-D printing, the MakerBot desktop printer is a good choice. It has a 410 cubic-inch build capacity and retails for under $3000, although you can find 3-D printers for $500. 3-D printing requires input of a computer-generated design and is very useful for prototype design. Next year there will be 3-D printers from large electronics manufacturers like HP.

5. iFi Systems’ SmartCharge Bulb. This recently announced LED light bulb will have lower power consumption and longer lifetime without the toxic mercury of CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. Plus, unique to the iFi smart blub is its patent-pending technology that will enable turning on the light using the wall switch, even though the power is off. The exhibitor rep said that the iFi smart bulb will cost about $30, maybe higher, and this price will discourage LED bulb use. The iFi smart bulb was developed with “crowdfunding” via Kickstarter.

6. LG’s 55” Class Ultra High Definition 4K Smart TV. This list has to contain a 4K TV because the picture clarity is amazing. Many other manufacturers also displayed 4K TVs (including Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, and RCA), and there are many 4K TVs larger than 55 inches. They are all pricey, however; LG’s 55” retails around $4000, give or take. You may want to wait until the price goes down.

Sony Vaio

Sony’s promotes a Vaio Flip PC in tablet configuration. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

7. Sony’s Vaio Flip PC. Yes, the laptop is alive and well, but it is changing. Sony’s Flip PC is a laptop (naming it a PC, go figure!) that provides the work productivity of a laptop and can be flipped so the screen lays flat on top to become a useable tablet. Regardless, it folds like a laptop for carrying and safekeeping. This laptop won an award at CES 2014 for innovation. Alas, it does not have a CD/DVD drive, as even the laptop world is abandoning these drives and moving into the cloud.

Innovative Technology

Innovative Technology displays music centers at CES 2014. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

8. Innovative Technology’s 6-in-1 Wooden Music Center. This is a last-century vintage wooden case that contains a 3-speed turntable, CD player and recorder, AM/FM radio, cassette player, and stereo speakers, with remote control. Its description may sound low-tech, but the unique feature is that it records vinyl records and cassettes to CD. There are still several generations around that know vinyl records and cassettes contain some good music worth preserving for later generations, and that requires going digital. This product does it, and it likely would look good somewhere in your home.

Panasonic V550

Panasonic’s V550 Camcorder stores video, copies to media, and transmits wirelessly. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

9. Panasonic’s V550 Series Camcorder. This camcorder provides three ways to handle your videos. You can save the video to the hard drive in the camcorder, or save it onto a SD card, or send it wirelessly to another device. It retails for $400, a reasonable price for ground-level, high quality video recording.

Sleep Number

Sleep Number promotes a bed that allows for headrest adjustment via smart phone. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

10. Sleep Number x12 Smart Bed. Well of course a bed is not a gadget, but this bed won an award at CES 2014 because it has some gadgetry designed for smart phones. Most people have heard of the Sleep Number bed and the separately adjustable sleep numbers that provide ideal comfort for each person. With SleepIQ technology, the x12 Smart Bed goes beyond sleeping comfort. It has sensors that monitor heart rate and sleeping habits (restfulness, leaving the bed), and it allows one sleeper to use a smart phone to adjust the head rest of the other sleeper in the hope that a change of position will end snoring. Much better than a midnight elbow in the ribs! The x12 is not yet on Sleep Number’s website, but will be eventually.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

Trends observed at CES 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

No one would dispute that change accompanies new technology, but early detection and implementation of the changes that technology eventually demand are not easy. If you fail to detect and implement the required changes, it can be fatal to your business. At CES, this is called “disruptive innovation.”

CES 2014 is the forty-seventh gathering of persons and businesses involved in consumer electronics. One of the main reasons they have been coming over these years is to see the technology, compare it to their own, predict the coming changes, and decide what steps are needed to adjust and go forward successfully. Here are some consumer electronic trends resulting from new technologies, evident at CES 2014, which are already changing the industry.

1. Automakers Race into Connectivity

Driving is an entirely different experience from what is what just ten years ago. In-car navigation systems, videos in the back seat for kids, and cell phone calls through the “radio speakers” are now commonplace. The arrival of smart phones, however, has provided the impetus to dramatically change the opportunities and experience for the driver.

Automakers are equipping their new cars with Bluetooth and wireless high-speed communications capabilities and touch-screens that allow the driver to connect as she would with an iPhone, hands free. The primary design criteria for these in-car connectivity systems are minimal driver disruption.

The effects of these developments were evident at CES 2014. Chrysler, which was out front with its Uconnect system in 2010, is now providing voice texting/dictation and direct connections to 911 and roadside services. General Motors and Audi have teamed up with AT&T to provide drivers with AT&T’s built-in 4G LTE (long term evolution) wireless service; new Chevrolets are expected to be selling with this capability in the latter part of 2014. Ford displayed its proprietary in-dash wireless connection system called “Ford Sync TDK.” BMW permitted CES attendees to test drive its all-electric i3 vehicle, but this was more about performance than connectivity.

A favorite at CES 2014 is the Driverless Car Experience sponsored by Bosch and held on the lot outside the Convention Center. Sometimes called “autonomous/automated” driving, the experience includes parking assist, collision avoidance, and emergency braking. California, Nevada, and Florida have indicated a willingness to permit driverless cars.

2. TV’s and More TV’s – Yet Higher Resolution

Curved TVs

Curved televisions tower over a display at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, Nev. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

The biggest buzz this year, however, was about TV! The surprise is that TV’s continue to draw such overwhelming attention. CES 2014 has bigger TV’s up to 105 inches (8 feet and 9 inches), curved TV’s, and 4K Ultra HD TV’s.

The “4K” refers to resolution of the picture. It is the same resolution as “Ultra HD.” In past years, resolution was measured by the number of pixels in the vertical resolution. Now the manufacturers have switched to promoting horizontal resolution, and a 4K TV has a horizontal resolution of nearly 4000 pixels and a vertical resolution of 2000 pixels. The clarity of a 4K screen is impressive and is equal to cinema quality. LG, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic are displaying KK TV’s.

The TV’s were also curved (as were some of the smart phones). Some TV’s have fixed curvatures; others are flexible in that the remote can activate the sides to pull inward about 15 degrees. The curved TV’s bring all the light and color toward the eyes of the viewer, but video gamers may give the most enthusiastic reception to curved screen because it enhances peripheral vision.

Combining all of these features is Samsung’s 105 inch, curved, 4K Ultra HD TV – the largest of its kind in the world. No one knows when the “push” (more than a trend now) for bigger and more resolution will end.

3. Electronic Sensors

Many of the products at CES 2014 incorporate sensor technology, which has been become one of the most important technologies in consumer electronics. Digital health and fitness products rely on sensors, and home security devices and even some TV controls rely on sensors.

A leading sensor technology is MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems), and a wide variety of MEMS have been developed. Advances in sensors technology were highlighted in the MotionTech zone.

The combination of improving sensors, internet connectivity, and wearable are resulting in a wide range of new products. Some fashionable tech gadgets have been worn on bodies over the years, but it is the advancements in sensor technology that is expanding the wearable device market.

4. Altering the Business Model

At CES 2014, you can see new technologies altering the business models of some very successful companies.

Microsoft once dominated operating systems and business software. Competition and technological changes in the internet, mobile communications and access, and delivery of content now have Microsoft moving rapidly to change. For example, Microsoft’s Xbox One now has apps that are used to connect viewers to video streaming and downloading services, such Hulu Plus, ESPN, Univision, and others. Microsoft is also moving into content creation with an agreement to work with Steven Spielberg on production of a TV series. (Microsoft’s Surface tablet was nowhere at CES 2014!)

Bosch, a Germany-based engineering and electronics company, was the world’s largest supplier of automotive components in 2011. Bosch may be changing this behind-the scenes approach to automotive electronics. This year was Bosch’s second appearance as an exhibitor at CES. With consumers looking for in-car systems that work with their smart phones, and automakers now developing in-car systems around smart phones, it makes sense for Bosch to be out front with the consumers who are demanding connectivity in the car.

Sleep number

Sleep Number’s booth marks the bed company’s first appearance at CES. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

The New York Times, American Express, and Sleep Number Beds (making its first appearance) are other examples of exhibitors at CES 2014 promoting their businesses in ways you might not have expected.

5. Mobile Device Security

As businesses and individuals continue to do more on mobile devices, security becomes more important. At CES 2014, Samsung promoted its mobile device management (MDM) system called “Samsung KNOX,” a welcome but unusual step because mobile security has not been a front page concern for the consumer electronic industry.

KNOX is an Android-based collection of apps that can be installed by an IT administrator of a company or by an individual on her own mobile device. Presently, it is only offered for Samsung’s high-end mobile devices. It allows the user to separate (or to layer) personal data from business data. The business data can be in an encrypted state while it resides on the smart phone or tablet. It remains encrypted until it reaches the company’s server, where the data is un-encrypted. There are other security features as well, such as preventing the capture of a screen shot.

For sure, KNOX is not the only MDM that can provide an enterprise or an individual mobile security. Apple’s iOS is reportedly provides more security than Android. Microsoft offers MS-MDM, but most mobile devices do not use a Microsoft operating system. There are relatively unknown MDM providers that began providing MDM’s before Samsung, such as Divide/The Secure Workplace, Mformation, and Absolute Manage. Enthusiasm for MDM’s can wane in the face of the prices charged by Samsung and other providers for the system.

Samsung, however, has detected that the mobile landscape is changing and that the importance of mobile security may be increasing. Perhaps not a brilliant detection (just read about Target and other commercial security breaches), but Samsung’s promotion of mobile security may spur the entire industry.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

2014 Consumer Electronics Show overview

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Given the deep freeze back East, the first thing you notice upon arrival in Las Vegas are the near-60 degrees temperature and the palm trees. At the Las Vegas Convention Center, more than 150,000 persons are gathering this week for CES 2014, where you are quickly consumed by the vast array of exhibitors, technologies and products.

There are 3,200 exhibitors filling almost 2 million square feet of space at the Convention Center, the adjacent Las Vegas Hotel and the Venetian. Most of the major players in consumer electronic products and services are here – Samsung, LG, Intel, Sony, Verizon, DISH, Yahoo, Monster and automobile manufacturers, to name a few. Several majors are absent, notably Apple, Microsoft and AT&T. The bulk of the exhibitors are smaller developers, manufacturers and sellers of everything from batteries to electronic guitars, satellite systems to sensors. There is a lot to see.

Jefferson Graham, Tim Westergren and Tom Conrad

Jefferson Graham, left, of USA Today interviews Pandora founder Tim Westergren, center, and Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad. (Photo by Frank Gorman)

CES 2014 is organized around 27 “techzones” that feature emerging products, services and companies centered in new technology markets. The new techzones this year are 3D Printing, Driverless Cars, FashionWare, Wrist Revolution and Academia TECH. Also, there are conference programs on a variety of topics including broadband, robotics, digital health and connecting to the cloud. With some advance planning, you can be sure to see and learn about the technologies and products of interest.

The keynote speakers on Tuesday were Kazuo Hirai of Sony, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo and John Chambers of Cisco. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will speak on economic growth and spurring innovation and research in the digital economy.

Most exciting was Tuesday’s presentation by Mayer and her team at Yahoo. She announced bold new plans for Yahoo, including a smart phone app that automatically brings up information tailored to the user and a twice-daily news feed (Yahoo News Digest) compiled by computer. Mayer is remaking Yahoo’s internet business and positioning Yahoo to compete with Google’s mobile search technology.

Finally, behind CES 2014 is the strength and scope of the Consumer Electronics Association located in Arlington, Virginia. Gary Shapiro has been president of the association for many years. The association promotes the consumer electronics industry, develops technical standards that insure products work and are compatible with other devices and takes on controversial issues like patent suits brought by “patent trolls.” The association has a staff of approximately 100 employees.

The next dispatch will address some of the market trends evident at CES 2014.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

Evidence suggests potential snags in forensic use of social media

Paul Grimm

U.S. District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm

It’s one thing to hear lawyers talk about the “CSI effect,” where jurors expect to see prosecutors present the high-tech evidence that regularly cracks cases on television.

It’s another thing to hear one of the foremost authorities on evidence and discovery say it.

“It’s more powerful than a great opening statement or a tear-inducing closing,” U.S. District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm told a packed seminar during the Maryland State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City.

The Criminal Law and Practice Section’s panel mixed a discussion of the newest technologies with references to Popeye, Mr. Peabody and several utterances of the phrase “if you are of a certain age.”

Those of a certain age could recall where prosecutors needed someone on the witness stand to identify the suspect as the person who committed the crime.

Now, “cell phones are the new, best way to solve crimes,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger. The first three questions investigators ask a suspect is for his name, if he has a cellphone and if he always has his cellphone on him, he added.

Shellenberger described a case where four people were convicted in connection with a murder based on a suspect’s cellphone address book and recent calls. Surveillance cameras helped corroborate the defendants were at the scene of a crime.

In another case, Baltimore County prosecutors were able to obtain a murder conviction by mapping the victim’s and defendant’s cellphone “pings” to cell phone towers to prove they were in the same location at the same time.

“Technology not only solved the crime, it proved the crime,” he said.

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How cheeky

butt-dialFirst, the serious part: Nicholas Walker, a 33-year-old Miami man, was shot and killed while driving his car onto Interstate 95.

Now, for the slightly humorous part: Scott Simon, 24, was charged with first-degree murder in Walker’s death after he accidentally recorded a phone call, via a butt-dial, saying he was going to follow Walker home and kill him. Police believe Simon coordinated the shooting but did not pull the trigger, according to the Miami Herald.

Finally, for a funny story about tapping keys with your tuchis: A 911 operator in California received a call with no one on the other end. Rather than hang up, the dispatcher stayed on the line and heard two men discussed wanting to do drugs and breaking into a car.

The dispatcher heard a window shatter and the two people saying they found prescription drugs.

Police arrested the men a little while later.

“Damn,” one of the suspects said upon learning a butt-dial led to their arrest.

Well said.

The Top 10 gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show

Bone Conduction EarphonesFor the third consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams graciously offered to write a few blog posts while in Las Vegas for last week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show. In his final post, he gives us his Top 10 gadgets from 2013 CES.

CES 2013 ended Friday. There was a lot to see and more buzz about new electronic technology than in other recent years. Here’s a list of the Top 10 technologies and/or gadgets that caught my attention.

1. Samsung’s Flexible Display

Samsung’s president showed off this prototype device during his keynote address. It was not on the exhibitor floor at 2013 CES. Instead of the rigid screen of your smartphone, imagine rolling up the screen like a dollar bill. In the future, you may be able to roll up your 65-inch flat screen like a rug and store it in the closet until the next use.


All the major electronics manufacturers at CES 2013 promoted OLED TV’s. (Here’s LG’s, for example.) OLED TVs were promoted last year, but today’s price puts OLED in the premium TV category, inhibiting consumer acceptance. OLED stands for “organic light emitting diode,” a solid state material that is also behind flexible screen displays. OLED technology is an improvement over liquid crystal displays (LCD) by producing higher contrasts, less energy consumption and thinner screens. A fixed but curved OLED TV screen was exhibited by Samsung. OLED is the next generation of screens.

3. Casio Lamp Free Projector (Short Throw)

This projector makes giving an audio/visual presentation a lot easier. You lose the lamp and the need for replacement lamps, can project a 60-inch image from only two-feet away and can connect wirelessly to a mobile device or laptop as well as hard connect through USB, HDMI, and RJ-45 ports.

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Trendspotting at the Consumer Electronics Show

Samsung phone

Samsung displayed a phone made of plastic that bends at 2013 CES in Las Vegas. (AP Photo)

For the third consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams graciously offered to write a few blog posts while in Las Vegas for last week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show. Here, he writes about the trends to watch out for. On Tuesday, he’ll share his top ten gadgets of CES.

The thousands of products and services on display at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show can crowd out perspective, like so many trees that you cannot appreciate the forest.

But attending a keynote address or an informational program or two brings larger perspectives to what one sees at CES. I attended a Q&A with Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and the keynote address by Stephen Woo, president of Samsung, which ended with a surprise address by former President Bill Clinton.

Here some of the trends in consumer electronics shown by 2013 CES.

Everything on mobile devices

Manufacturers are convinced that consumers want their mobile devices to do everything. Today’s mobile devices are smartphones and tablets. As a result, manufacturers are committed to developing smartphones and tablets with ever-increasing capabilities.

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Surveying the lay of the land at the Consumer Electronics Show

2013 CESFor the third consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams has graciously offered to write a few blog posts while he is in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show

The weather is beautiful in Las Vegas as nearly 150,000 registered attendees flock to the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show. Products and services are displayed over 1.8 million square-feet of floor space at three primary venues: the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center; the Las Vegas Hotel next door (formerly the Hilton); and The Venetian about a mile down the Strip. The show runs through Friday.

Smartphones, tablets, and large TVs dominate 2013 CES. The iPhone remains the standard against which all smartphones are compared. Manufacturers exhibiting at CES are showing thinner and larger smartphones. Tablets are incorporated into ultrabooks and hybrid PCs, with some designs using hinges and others with tablets that snap on and fold over a keyboard. There are cinema-quality flat screens TVs that can be controlled by voice commands and gestures. Manufacturers are still promoting 3D TVs and the high-picture-quality OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs.

2013 Consumer Electronics ShowSamsung is the most prominent exhibitor this year. As the Apple-fighter, Samsung seems to have extra panache this year setting it apart. The Galaxy Note tablet and Galaxy Note II smartphone are attracting lots of attention.

If anyone at CES is missing Apple and Microsoft as exhibitors, I have not noticed. The iLounge area of the show contains hundreds of accessory products for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, demonstrating Apple’s huge impact on the industry.

Microsoft, incidentally, is absent from CES for the first time in 14 years. Its software operates many of the products on display here but its own hardware products, such as the Surface tablet, are not a factor at CES.

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Law blog roundup

facebookHappy Cyber Monday! No holiday specials in the law blog roundup, just our usual mix of news and comment. For instance:

– Ron Miller discusses a phone scam that was new to him you might want to be aware of

– It’s a serious topic that deserves serious consideration, particularly since it appears to be the way warfare is heading. But it had me at “Killer Robots” in the title.

– One law school has come up with a response to decreasing applications: voluntary buyouts.

– If you’ve declared a personal copyright on what you post on Facebook, I’m sorry to break the bad news to you…

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

A new survey found 90 percent of in-house counsels found useful computer coding used to sort through legal documents. Of the 24 attorneys surveyed, however, the results were mixed as to how much money using such coding saved their companies.

The predictive coding technology uses specific case searches to find legal documents related to litigation. Many said the coding was helpful in that it sped up the process of reviewing documents and was helpful in big cases when sorting through thousands of documents.

Many general counsels were worried the technology would replace human review and were concerned how the courts viewed using this technology. About 27 percent said they were not sure how much the technology saved the company, but another 27 percent thought it saved more than $500,000. Another 27 percent thought the technology saved between $25,000 and $250,000. About 18 percent thought it saved between $250,000 and $500,000.

So, here’s our question for you:

Do you use predictive coding at your in-house jobs? If so, how much does it save your company?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

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