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Susan Michelle's Compass

TECH BLECH: CES 2009”™s New Travel Gadgetry
Posted by Susan Michelle on Jan 18, 2009 - 7:07:39 PM

Either I’ve gotten jaded, or tech’s gotten boring.  As I perused the bevy of new electronics at the 2009 Consumer Electronic Show last week, I couldn’t help but think, “Whoop-dee-doo.  Another cell phone, another mini-laptop, another camera, another GPS thingeemabob”¦Where’s something REALLY new and exciting?!”  I felt like, instead of being truly innovative, manufacturers are just taking the products they already have, sticking a new number on ”˜em, adding another, completely unrelated, already-existing-elsewhere function from another product, and calling it a day.  Every gadget can seemingly do everything now—your camera can email your pictures, your telephone can play your music, your camcorder can map your way through Russia, and your MP3 player can order pizza...

Needless to say, after just three years of following this show for the hottest, new travel gadgets, I had a hard time finding much to get me excited for ”˜09.  But I did come across a few cool travel items.  Here’s the best of the lot.  Let’s hope for better next year:

BLACK & DECKER’S REMOTE ACCESS CONTROL SOLUTIONS:  Ever leave for vacation, only to find yourself wondering if you really locked the front door?  Spend your trip wondering if the house sitter remembered to lock the door?  Had someone need to get into your house when you’re 2000 miles away with the key?  Problem solved.  These new electronic deadbolts can be locked and unlocked remotely via mobile phone or the web.  Cost: $250-300  Available: Summer 2009


RAND MCNALLY-NAVIGON PARTNERSHIP: Rand McNally City Guides and Scenic Routers will soon provide data packs for Navigon GPS units that will provide over 250 pre-planned trips across all 50 states and Canada.  Cost: $19.99  Available: Spring 2009

SAMSUNG HZ10W: 10x megazoom, 24mm, wide-angle lens.  Manual settings allowed.  Uber-compact”¦Canon’s PowerShot A IS line finally has some competition!  Cost: $300  Available: March 2009


SAMSUNG HMX-R10 HD CAMCORDER: What’s so different?: 1) An angled lens that allows for easier gripping and less stress on your wrist; and 2) It not only shoots HD video, but also 9 megapixel stills, so you only need to shlep one kind-of camera when traveling instead of two.  Cost: Unavail.  Available: Summer 2009


GIGATRIBE: If you don’t have time to upload, email, or burn CD’s of pictures for folks after a trip, GigaTribe’s for you.  This free software allows you to share your photos and videos with family and friends without uploading or emailing—just make your selected files “visible” to your “tribe,” and they can download the original, uncompressed copies straight from your computer to theirs.  In other words, selective peer-to-peer media sharing.  Stellar!  Cost: Free  Available: Now

PICTURE PORTER 35: From Digital Foci, this little (5.4” x 3.8” x 1.2”) device has a memory card reader, 3.5” viewing screen, and 160 GB hard drive, so if you’re planning to take a lot of pics or vids on your trip, you can leave the laptop at home and just download to this along the way.  Cost: Unavail.  Available: May 2009


About the Author: A former Hollywood producer and now 2nd-generation travel professional, Susan Michelle travels the planet as the “face” of the fashion-forward Compass travel lifestyle brand. For more articles, tips, and hot spots from Susan, and community with fellow Cosmopolitan Travelers, visit Or write her directly at


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