Move Along at ShowStoppers – Not Much to See

By Bob Raikes
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The Emporia “senior” phone has a fold away keyboard.

Showstoppers is a traditional event for us to attend – it’s a press-only event with exhibitors showing at tables. The free food and drink (usually very good) gets the press along and often it’s a convenient place to meet product managers and staff from big companies that might be hard to get close to on the show floor. The event in Barcelona, however, was quite small so there wasn’t much to see, especially for specialists such as us, but the air-dried Iberian jamon and high quality manchego cheese made up for that!

Smart was at the show with its Kapp product. We also talked to Saygus, which had launched its high end phone at CES (Saygus Takes Aim at UltraHD on Mobile) and was demonstrating it at ShowStoppers. Unusually, it includes a WirelessHD transmitter, using SiBeam technology, and can display the phone output on a big display using an HDMI dongle. The technology has very low latency and the demonstration of action games using a TV was convincing. The phone sells for $599.

Glide is an Israeli company that is promoting its video sharing (almost broadcasting) service (http://www.glide.me). It claims to have 20 million registered users (most of them in the US) and the technology allows videos of up to 5 minutes to be streamed, along with text, to groups of up to 50 users. Videos are stored in the cloud and the system also allows interactive videos. Glide told us that it is unique among the video services in allowing streaming video along with text simultaneously. The firm got $20 million of B round funding in December and was using the show to boost its presence outside the US.

Emporia was selling a “smartphone for seniors”. The phone looks like a flip-phone – it has large buttons with haptic feedback when they are pressed – but the keyboard flips out of the way to reveal a full touch screen. It also has a special USB cable with a pin to the side so that it can only be plugged in one way. The phone uses a 4.5″ 960 x 540 IPS display with procap touch. Pricing is €299. (In our view, a “phone for seniors” is bound to fail if it’s marketed that way. Seniors that might buy the phone would not think of themselves as needing something simple. Walking sticks these days are sold as high tech carbon long distance Alpine trekking aides!)

Ring.com has a video-enabled doorbell – it’s a kind of rugged webcam designed to be used out of the home. Features include motion detection and alerts on a phone when the bell is rung. It costs $199.