Android at CES 2013; plus, a post-Xmas drone

With the Consumer Electronics Show just getting underway in Las Vegas, there are sure to be a number of products launched over the next week…many of them Android-related. I’ll try to make note of a few of them after the show, but here are a few that have already been announced.

Archos TV Connect
We’ve heard of a new generation of Android-powered televisions, but the Archos TV Connect is designed to bring Android to any HD television set via a small connected device. It comes with Jelly Bean 4.1 built in, and gives you big-screen access to the Android apps and games you’re familiar with. The TV Connect ships with a special “TV Touch” remote that features a built-in keyboard and gesture controls. It also comes with a built-in webcam, allowing you to make video calls right from your TV. The TV Connect is $129.99 US and will be available in February.

OWC Newer Technology Power 2U
If you’re always struggling to find a charger for your Android phone or tablet, maybe it’s time to upgrade your wall sockets so that you have USB right on the wall. This updated power plug has two standard outlets and two USB connectors, allowing you to charge four devices simultaneously at a single wall plate. The USB ports have spring-loaded covers to keep them covered when not in use (and to prevent “vampire power draw”). A 15-Amp model will be available for $29.95 US, and a 20 Amp model will be $39.95 US), both at the end of the first quarter of 2013. Just remember: turn off the breaker before installing this, if you do it yourself!

Griffin SpongeBob SquarePants Woogie
If you’re not satisfied with a regular protective case for your Android smartphone, the Woogie is for you. After you put your phone in the “touch-through” pocket compartment, you can reposition SpongeBob’s arms and legs to make him (and your phone) sit up for a proper viewing angle. Perfect for that important business meeting, and only $29.99 US.

Netatmo Urban Weather Station
At CES this year, Netatmo is announcing Android compatibility for its line of personal weather stations. These devices can sit either indoors or outdoors, and connect to your network via Wi-Fi, giving you information on temperature, CO2 levels, air quality and more. The Urban Weather Station is $179 US, and the app is free.

Late Gift For Yourself Dept: Parrot AR Drone

Got some money during the holidays, but you’re not sure what to spend it on? Well, if you’re an Android fan and want a toy,  you might want to check out the AR Drone. Introduced a while back by Parrot, the AR Drone is a more advanced version of those mini helicopters people have been playing with. Nearly two feet across and armed with four rotors that allow it to hover in place, as of this year the AR Drone now sports compatibility with your Android device.

Once you’ve charged up the AR Drone’s battery, you connect to it using Wi-Fi, and can control it using the accelerometers (or touchscreen) of your Android phone or tablet. Better, it has two cameras (one forward-facing and one pointing down) that stream video back to your mobile device, allowing you to pretend you’re a secret agent. (It’s worth noting, however, that the rotors are loud enough that you’ll never be able to spy on someone without them noticing it fairly quickly….a stealth drone this is not.)

Helpful tip: you’ll want to use this in a fairly wide open space, as navigating indoors is a bit tricky. And it might be a good idea to get a spare battery or two, as the charge doesn’t last very long thanks to the Wi-Fi video streaming built into the device.

Sean Carruthers is a Contributor at ITWorld Canada. Follow him on  

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