I recently came back from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Besides being bone tired, a little dizzy from all the educational sessions and new product reveals and having caught the famed CES cold that everyone reportedly gets, there are a few products that as a lawyer I thought were particularly interesting.
The first is a keyboard developed by Brian Potts for lawyers called LegalBoard. Much has already been written on this product which has function and number keys for the symbols and words that lawyers often use. Having just prepared a document needing the symbols ¶ and § many times, having this real short cut (not one I had to keep looking up) would have been quite helpful. Not sure why no one thought of this before. Bob Ambrogi and others have extensively reviewed this so I won’t plow new ground. But this one is a winner in my book, especially at $65.
A second device I liked is called Dart and is made by FIMSix. It's a portable laptop charger that allows you to dispense with the power brick all laptops seem to have. If you’re like me and hate to check bags, any way to save room while traveling is a plus. This device is as small as they come (3.66x1.33 inches, weight 0.2 lbs). It comes in various colors and has nine different tips for connection with various laptops. It can charge a laptop and a smartphone and tablet at the same time. (It will not work with the Microsoft Surface). Since power bricks take up a lot of room, this is a real plus for travelers; it will easily fit in a briefcase, backpack, purse or pants pocket. It doesn’t yet work with the USB C connection the new Macbook Pro has but I’m told that’s coming soon. The cost is $99.
Next is a USB-C dongle for use with the new MacBook Pro and Macbook Air called HyperDrive. This comes in colors to match the new MacBooks and plugs into the two USBC slot on the side of the MacBook. It has seven different ports you can plug your devices into and make them work with the MacBook. Its small and light and is made by Sanho Corporation. I have been told that it will be available for purchase in the next couple of weeks. You can also back this product still on KickStarter.
Next, on a more expensive size, is a product called Beam made by Suitable Technologies. The Beam combines video conferencing with mobility so the person calling can be seen on a video screen and can move about via a small robot. It gives a much more realistic experience than a normal video call. So how could this be useful? Your clients can call and see you and even take a tour of your office, meeting your personnel. You can use the device to tour other remote sites, the scene of an accident for example. You can let others move around and see boards and demonstrative materials in other places. There are two versions, the Beam with a 10 inch screen size which is 55 inches high and the Beam Pro with a 17 inch screen which is 62 inches tall. The Beam starts at $1995 and the Pro at $ 13,950. Yes its pricy but I think the height and mobility of the device are what provides a more realistic experience with whom your communicating. Here's a photo:
And finally, while the number of drone exhibitors at CES was probably only exceeded by automobile exhibitors, one drone stood out. The Star Wars drones made by Propel are small-a couple of inches long-and very maneuverable. They come in three models: the 74-Z speeder Bike, the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter and the TIE Advanced X1. The can fly at close to 35 mph, perform aerial tricks and provide hours of fun. What’s this have to do with the practice of law? Nothing but they sure looked fun. We get to have fun occasionally, right? Price is $99.
Yes, tons of other products could be mentioned. Most of these are associated with drones, smart homes, the connectivity of IoT devices, augmented and virtual reality and TVs. And like last year, there was a huge emphasis on devices that will enable autonomous and semi-autonomous cars. Although I am not exactly sure with all the new technology we can use in our homes, where there will be left to go in all the new driverless cars. But that’s a discussion for perhaps another day.
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