11 New Gadgets for Real Estate

Product introductions at this year's Consumer Electronic Show showcased the newest tech toys, from digital cameras to smartphones to netbooks.

February 1, 2009

So what cool features are in store for all your favorite business tech gear in the coming months? This year's Consumer Electronic Show, which each year offers a preview to cutting-edge tech products that will soon be hitting the market, offered a sneak peek on new twists of common gadgets you use in real estate.


Smartphones continue to get smarter. Here are a few highlights of phone product introductions at CES.

Multitasking Solution: Palm’s brand new Pre won’t be in stores for a couple of months but it was pretty much the talk of CES this year. The phone will be exclusively available through Sprint (at least initially). For Palm devotees, the company’s new response to the iPhone has everything you’d expect from today’s multi-tasking smartphone: Touchscreen interface; hidden QWERTY style keypad; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support; e-mail, text and instant messaging; GPS navigation, and its own 3 megapixel (MP) camera with flash. It runs on Palm’s newly developed smartphone operating system, Palm webOS.

GPS plus phone: The Traveler 137 from GPS provider Pharos Science and Applications combines the functions of a full-featured Windows Mobile smartphone with a standalone GPS navigator. The unlocked phone will launch sometime in the first quarter. It has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 3MP camera and supports e-mail, texting and messaging. As a standalone GPS handheld, it does not require a cellular connection in order to provide location information and point-to-point directions. Price: $599

Clock Phone: LG Electronics provided show attendees a glimpse of where smartphone technology could be headed with its GD910 Watch Phone. Featuring a touchscreen watch interface, you'll be able to shift from its clock to smartphone mode with a tap and use it for calling, e-mail, Web browsing and contact and schedule management. Voice control and text to speech conversion are also featured. No word yet on when it will arrive in the United States, but the concept could become one of many options in future generations of smartphones.


Looking for a mobile computing experience between a smartphone and a true laptop? A netbook PC may be the answer. They’re portable Web terminals that also run your favorite software applications, but you’ll trade some screen and keyboard size due to its true portability. Here are several new models joined this growing class of sub-notebooks at CES.

Lightweight: Sony’s new VAIO Lifestyle weighs just 1.4 pounds but it is a full-powered Windows Vista PC. This model has an 8-inch widescreen LCD display, 1.33Ghz processor, 2GB RAM, and 60GB hard drive. It includes wireless support for mobile broadband, Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth wireless connections. Price: $899

Added Protection: Hewlett Packard is also targeting mobile real estate professionals with addition of its new Mini 2140 notebook. Slightly larger at 2.6 pounds, an aluminum case protects its 10.1 inch screen, 1.6Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and built-in Webcam. This Vista machine supports Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth wireless connections. Price: $499

Larger Screen: At 2.6 pounds, the Viewsonic’s Viebook has a 10.2-inch screen,1.6GHz processor, 1GB of memory, 160GB hard drive, WiFi b/g  and  Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel Webcam, and ships loaded with Windows XP Home. The compact system goes on sale in February. Price: $429.99

Digital Cameras

Two digital camera models unveiled at CES warrant a look, but for different reasons.

Up-Close Look: Kodak’s Z980 compact has an impressive 24X zoom lens with a 26mm wide-angle setting needed for listing photos. It’s a 12MP camera that also can capture images in the high definition (HD) 16:9 aspect ratio. It also does video recording. Price: $399

Cable-Free: No more cables when moving pictures from camera to computer or Web. The compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC 3G is the latest in a small class of cameras with built-in support for WiFi b/g for wireless transfer of photos. It’s also a 10MP camera with a 3.1-inch display and 4X optical zoom. There’s 4GB of internal flash memory for storing photos and video, and it’s compatible with Sony MemoryStick flash media.

New Twists on Older Products

Overall, product introductions at this year's CES were generally more subdued than in past years, likely reflecting the pervasive uncertainty of a sour economy. Rather than rolling out dramatic new breakthroughs this year, much more of the emphasis was on refinements of products already established in the marketplace. Here are a few announcements of some refined products hitting the market.  

Staying Charged: PowerMat Wireless Charging has the answer for anyone tired of trying to keep up with different AC chargers for all your mobile gear. Its PowerMat system delivers the promise of magnetic induction recharging first discussed a few years ago. Plug the PowerMat into the wall, and you can and recharge your electronics by simply laying them on its surface. Several versions will be available for recharging up to six devices at a time. Price: starting at $169.99

Build a Home Network: If setting up your home office network troubles you, the Home Network Home Network Powerline adapters from Corinex Corp. makes it as simple as plug and play. Plug its adapters into an electric wall outlet and your household wiring becomes your network, allowing you to share files or connect to the Web anywhere there’s a wall outlet. Price: $169.99

3D Images: You’ll be able to build accurate 3D renderings of your travels with a service called Way2Go from 3DVU for Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Symbian OS smartphones. Subscribers can create maps featuring 3D aerial pictures, then access the maps while on the road with a special viewer for their smartphone. GPS tracking and text and spoken directions will be included.

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