Offbeat gadgets abound at Vegas electronics show
Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
LAS VEGAS - It probably goes without saying that no one actually needs a dancing MP3 player or a music-playing Taser holster or a drink cooler that can be ridden like a scooter.
But some vendors at the International Consumer Electronics Show are betting that people will actually want these things.
Alongside gadgets representing the highest of high technology, CES this week showcased a great collection of offbeat items.
Some might even turn out to be blockbusters. Others, if they're lucky, will nestle into an ignored corner of the SkyMall catalog.
Sony Corp.'s Rolly is something that could only come out of Japan, where cuteness is a cult.
The Rolly is an MP3 player the size and shape of a turkey egg. It rolls and spins around on the floor and blasts music out of two built-in stereo speakers, while flapping two speaker lids like it's a cancan dancer with folding fans. Pulsing multicolored diodes complete the sensory experience.
The Rolly was released in Japan in September, and Sony announced at CES that it would sell it in the U.S. It didn't reveal the price - it costs about $350 in Japan.
At Taser International Inc.'s booth, it was easy to forget that the company sells a weapon.
The company featured an abundance of femininity. Four Playboy Playmates signed autographs. Then there were new stun gun models in "Fashion Pink" and a leopard print scheme. The leopard one costs $379, while regular Tasers cost $349.
A fitting accessory for the leopard-print Taser is the music player holster, which clips a Taser to a belt and plays digital music. Recommended listening: Aerosmith's "Lightning Strikes" and, of course, any number of "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" remixes.
Gibson Guitar Corp.'s Robot Guitar is not a guitar for robots. Nor is it a guitar that plays itself.
Like a good robot, the Robot Guitar takes care of the boring part of being a guitarist: the tuning. Tiny motors are connected to a guitar's tuning screws. Pull out a master control knob, strum the strings, and the screws start turning themselves. In seconds, the guitar is in tune.
A rechargeable battery in the body is good for 250 tunings, according to Gibson's Aljon Go. The guitar lists for $2,499.
What's the point of relaxing at the lake or campground if you get sore lugging a packed cooler of drinks? That's where the Cruzin Cooler comes in.
"It's the world's first motorized, rideable ice chest," said Charles Pennington, director of national retail accounts for Cruzin Cooler LLC.
The Cruzin Cooler, $499, comes with a padded seat for the rider and an electric or gas motor. It can hold 27 12-ounce cans, but you can pack more in a $149 trailer cooler that hooks onto the motorized lead cooler.
An ice chest/scooter looked completely out of place at the electronics show. But Pennington noted that the product actually is ridiculous in any setting - which is why people want it. The company has sold 40,000, he said.
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