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Consumer Electronics Show notebook

Some of the products on display at the CES are high-tech Kenmore washers and dryers, portable Bluetooth speakers, a video camera with a built-in projector and a personal tracking device.

January 07, 2011
  • A man wearing 3-D glasses reaches for a ball while being filmed by a 3-D camera at the Panasonic booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The show ends Sunday.
A man wearing 3-D glasses reaches for a ball while being filmed by a 3-D camera… (Justin Sullivan, Getty…)

Sears showed off its Kenmore Connect feature on high-end washers and dryers to help people fix a malfunctioning appliance without having to wait (and pay) for a technician to visit.

The appliances gather diagnostic data electronically, but to transmit it to Kenmore the owner has to call a customer service line, press a button on the machine and hold the phone close enough for the noisy data pulse to be understood by a computer on the other end of the line.

The company is expanding the feature to enable remote control of some functions — for example, the ability to preheat an oven via the Internet, and notifying the consumer by text message when it's ready. It also is building in the capability to monitor and manage energy use — for example, by tracking the number of times the refrigerator door is opened.

Also, LG Electronics Inc. was showing an oven that can download recipes and a refrigerator that can send shopping lists via text and keep track of the expiration dates of the food it's storing.

— Jon Healey

• Mobile phone boombox

Jawbone, the maker of Bluetooth hands-free headsets for mobile phones, has come out with a portable Bluetooth speaker that puts out a whopping 85 decibels. Just pair your Bluetooth-enabled smart phone with the Jambox and you can listen to your music anywhere without plugging anything in. The Jawbone Jambox also works as a speakerphone. It retails for about $199.

Jambox offers a case for the device that lets you wear it around your neck. Maybe Flavor Flav will have to keep up with the times.

— Tim French

Video camera/projector

3M demonstrated its Shoot 'n Share CP40, a compact video camera with built-in projector. At about 5 inches tall and weighing just over 5.5 ounces, it can easily be carried in a pocket or purse, yet it can project an image as big as 65 inches (diagonal) from up to 6 1/2 feet away.

The video records at 720p resolution, but the projector resolution is only 640 x 480 (VGA), so if you want to see your video in high definition, you will have to use an HDMI cable (not included) to hook it up to your HDTV.

But the next time you record one of your friend's embarrassing antics on a night out, you can project the footage for all in the vicinity to see.

— Tim French

Secret GPS tracking

Garmin unveiled a personal tracking device with downright Orwellian capabilities. The GTU 10 is small — 3 inches tall and weighing 1.7 ounces — and can be tracked live through a smart phone or computer.

The device allows you to set up "geofences," or virtual borders, around any location. The unit will let you know whenever it passes into or out of the designated area.

The device has a suggested retail price of $199.99, and comes with one year of standard tracking service complimentary. For an additional $4.99 a month, it can be upgraded to the deluxe tracking package that provides additional information.

— Tim French

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