Jan 11, 2011 4:14:31 PM
The show, which officially kicks off today after several days of pre-show events, is a must for consumer-technology firms who want their gear to be seen by retailers, distributors, industry analysts, tech journalists and tech bloggers from around the world. Here are snapshots of several Minnesota-based attendees, and what they are pitching this year:
Bracketron: The Edina-based maker of gadget-mounting accessories for motorists has never set up a booth at CES, but rather only attended the show to hobnob in the background.
It is finally time, said marketing chief Christian Johnson, with the company achieving a critical mass and branching into other product categories, such as iPad accessories for the home or office. These include a couple of iPad stands, including one that can be hung behind a driver-seat headrest for back-seat viewing.
"We have a good story to tell," Johnson said, "and good products to show."
Online at bracketron.com.
Imation: The Oakdale-based company is a bit of a high-tech hydra at CES as it pushes a variety of the consumer-tech brands it owns or licenses. These include XtremeMac, Memorex, TDK and others. Perhaps most notable: a new line of TDK-branded boomboxes that Imation positions as high-tech counterparts to the in-your-face portable cassette players of yore. The boomboxes are novel for not being Apple-centric, though they include an adapter for linking an iPod or iPhone.
The boomboxes, one with two speakers and another with three, are shipping later in the quarter.
Online at tdkperformance.com.
Noetic: Not all consumer-tech products being hyped at CES will necessarily come to market. In some cases, companies use the vast, varied audience as a sounding board to determine whether a product is worthy of being sold. Rochester, Minn.-based Noetic is showing off the MiniKey, an iPhone 4 add-on keyboard, which would be shipped under the Nuu brand. Whether that happens depends largely on the CES reaction, said PR chief Christy Johnson. Noetic once killed plans for a Nuu gizmo that didn't garner raves.
Online at nuubrand.com.
Innovelis: Tech companies at CES don't get any smaller than Roseville-based Innovelis, which makes add-ons for Apple iPods and iPhones. CES, said marketing chief Wes Schwie, is "key for small, growing businesses that are trying to establish themselves."
Innovelis' latest product is the CordShrink, an add-on for Apple's new touchscreen iPod Nano to keep earbud cords from becoming a hindrance during physical activity.
The company at CES also plans to talk up a coming line of add-ons for the Apple TV set-top box, including one accessory that will let users attach the media device to the backs of their HDTVs.
Online at cordshrink.com.
Hearing Components: This St. Paul firm specializes in foam eartips for users of smartphone and music-player earbuds. The Comply foam tips are typically conical or tubular in design, but Hearing Components is taking a fresh tack this year.
The latest eartips, made specifically for Apple's premium In-Ear Headphones, are spherical to serve as replacements for the also-rounded (and often-disliked) silicon tips packaged with the headphones. "The Apple design lends itself nicely to a spherical shape" and allows for a snug, secure fit, said Hearing Components chief Bob Oliveira.
The company still hasn't licked one problem with Comply tips: They wear out after a few months, while silicon tips last practically forever. It's working on that, Oliveira said.
Online at complyfoam.com.