Courtesy of HAPILABS
The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show came and went a few weeks ago, but, as always, Techeye is dragging it out as long as possible. Some might call that laziness. We prefer to think of it as meaningfully retarded coverage.
Anyway, for our final column about CES 2013, we're looking at some of the show's quirkier gadgets. Not the dregs, but rather curiosities and technological arcana. Things that are unlikely to set fire to consumers' hearts and wallets.
Here's an example of what we mean: behold, the HAPIfork from HAPILABS (Hapilabs.com), a maker of lifehacker gadgets.
The HAPIfork keeps track of your eating habits and "al-erts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast." It's just like Techeye's Mum, in other words, except it has a pointy head and ... oh wait, it's exactly like Mum.
There's more to the HAPIfork than is evident at first glance. For example, you can track your eating speed over time via an online dashboard and/or mobile app. It's also equipped with bluetooth and is dishwasher safe. And did we mention that it vibrates? You get all that for just $99.
Still, there's something disconcerting about the HAPIfork. The marketing pitch reeks of emotional derangement, with numerous blandishments to "love your life," to "share with the community" and to "review all that made you feel good today!" This makes us want to call up HAPILABS to remind them that they're selling a fork, not a 12-step program.
Courtesy of Mpowered
In comparison to the HAPIfork, the next gadget on our list suffers 100-percent fewer First-World problems. Luci is an inflatable, solar-powered lantern from Mpowerd (Mpowerd.com) that's designed to fight energy poverty.
The lantern has uses in developed countries - it might have come in handy after Hurricane Sandy hit the United States, for instance - but the idea is to provide cheap, dependable light for people in developing countries.
Luci contains 10 white light-emitting diodes that illuminate an area of over four square meters. The device charges under sunlight or incandescent light, with a six-hour charge yielding light for up to twice that time. Uninflated it looks kind of like a squidgy disk, standing just 2.5 cm in height, for easy packing or practicing for the discus throw.
Mpowerd's Luci lantern has a "minimum lifespan" of one year and costs $15.99. That seems a bit pricey for the developing world, but it's cheaper and more useful than a beeping fork.
Courtesy of Yota Devices
The last item on our list - and the last CES 2013 product we'll cover this year (probably) - is the Yotaphone from Russia's Yota Devices (Yotadevices.com).
The Yotaphone's claim to fame is a second screen, located on its back. We'll be honest: the phrase "dual-screen smartphone" touches Techeye in a place we haven't been touched since triple-casette-playing boomboxes and double-headed guitars went out of fashion. That place is labeled "unnecessary and splendidly awesome."
Still, other dual-screen smartphones have entered (and disappeared from) the market. This isn't a revolutionary feature.
What is new, however, is the fact that the Yotaphone's second screen is an e-ink display, like that of a Kindle. The features is described as a "personal space for receiving notifications, linking to your social media, reading news as it happens or simply displaying your favorite pictures." Is any of that necessary? No. Splendidly awesome? Oh yes.
The Yotaphone runs Android 4.2 and both of its displays are 4.3 inches in size. There's a dual-core processor (mildly disappointing, given the recent emergence of octo-core processors) and a 12MP rear camera.
Anyway, Yota Devices has yet to release pricing details, even though CES ended weeks ago. We call that laziness.
Ever pined for a triple-cassette-playing boombox? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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