CES 2020: Personal Arcades, Outboard Phone Displays, and Dystopian Drones

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2020/02/10/ces-2020-personal-arcades-outboard-phone-displays-and-dystopian-drones/

Pursuing a “better late than never” strategy, Jeff Porten catches up on interesting products he saw at CES 2020, including assistive earbuds, an external monitor for your iPhone, and flying robots that promise to stop the bad guys.

$350 hearing aids and no mention on how they work with iPhones? Or did I miss something?

Thanks for the great article, Jeff – as always.

I was particularly interested in the CastAway second screen product for phones. I looked into it quite a bit. You said it was on Kickstarter, but I found it on Indiegogo.

I was about to join in and pledge a purchase, but decided to do some research on the lead of the project. I found another great product (idea) by him called the “TouchSocket” (video at https://vimeo.com/337432498), only to then find that it has vanished from all of the links about it from the founder. This causes concern, so I’m hesitating on the CastAway. I’d love to hear from TidBITS members on what they’d do in this situation.


Jeff’s mentioning of the Matias Ergo Pro keyboard reminded me that I’ve been wanting to invest in a solid ergonomic keyboard for quite some time. After having used recent Apple keyboards, I definitely want to purchase a keyboard with mechanical switches.

The two products I currently have on my shortlist are, in fact, the Ergo Pro and the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.

Are there any other options that are worth exploring (key requirements are said mechanical switches and that the keyboard’s halves’ angle can be adjusted)? And between the two models mentioned above, do you have a favorite? If so, why?

Thanks for your help!

Greg: if I don’t mention iPhones specifically, it’s because just about everything I see says that it works with iPhones and Androids, Siri and Google Assistant. I can’t remember the last time I saw something locked to one or the other that wasn’t dictated by OS considerations. Note: these aren’t hearing aids, they’re non-medical assistive hearing devices. I’m not going to cover aids until I know more about the category.

Jeff W: I’ll edit the story if I have the wrong link. I know nothing of the guy’s backstory and can’t comment on that without doing my own research, but I’ll say that there’s a presumption of good faith in my coverage that no one is perpetrating a deliberate scam, excepting scammy products. That good faith isn’t 100% accurate, I’m sure I’ve covered some charlatans, but the costs and effort of CES are so high that I’m also sure there are easier ways to go about it. Bottom line: don’t put your money anywhere your gut tells you not to. (I’ve never bought anything from Kickstarter or Indiegogo prior to units shipping.)

Jochen: I’ve only used the Ergo for an hour until I have time to do a full review. I like it but would probably buy a flat keyboard if it were my choice and money; have not reviewed other mechanical keyboards recently enough to do a comparison. I have some concerns about the muscle memory issues of switching frequently from this one to the standard MacBook internal.

My suggestion: pick the one with the longest money-back guarantee and try that one first, return it if you don’t like it.

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