Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

Things That Make You Go Hmm: CES Gets Weird

International CES 2013 is coming to an end (thank goodness), and it has been a blur of 4K TVs, phablets, mobile processors and more.

As I write this, I’m struggling to think of one standout product from the show, but there are few that got my attention. Here are my faves, not because they’re bound to be the next big thing in tech but because they were completely different, utterly ridiculous and hilariously funny — products that made me go WTF.

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YotaPhone

Let’s face it: Regardless of operating system, most smartphones today look the same. A black or white slab with a touchscreen on front, maybe some buttons below it and a camera on back — yawn. That’s why a handset from a little-known Russian company caught my eye.

YotaPhone is an Android Jelly Bean smartphone with a 4.3-inch, 1,280 by 720-pixel touchscreen on front, and a 4.3-inch E Ink display on back. Though you can use the second screen to read e-books, that’s not its primary purpose. Instead, Yota COO Lau Geckler told me in an interview that it was designed to address several problems: Personalization, notifications and battery performance.

You can interact with the YotaPhone like any other Android device using the front screen. But by swiping from the top of the display to the bottom with two fingers, you can throw any image to the back display. Some examples Geckler showed me were sending a snapshot of Google Maps for easy reference when heading to a meeting or using it to display your boarding pass.

This frees up the front screen so you can do other things, like check email. YotaPhone has a funny side, too. When taking pictures, the back screen will display the message “Smile for the camera!” Another cool aspect of the E Ink display is that it doesn’t drain the battery.

Yota will make an API available to third-party developers, so they can write apps utilizing the back screen. Geckler said the company is talking with carriers to bring it to the U.S., and plans to launch the phone at the end of the year. Pricing will be comparable to other high-end Android smartphones.

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iMusic BodyRhythm

I literally stopped in my tracks when I came across the iMusic BodyRhythm and started giggling like Beavis and Butthead (yes, I’m mature).

The accessory, which looks like an inflatable vest (or as AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac called it, a toilet seat), goes around your neck and can give you a massage to the pulse of your music.

Using the iPhone app, it can hook up with your phone’s music library and, using a syncing algorithm, it will transform every beat from the song into a patting motion on your neck and shoulders. There’s also a mode that displays an onscreen drum set, where you can also control the pace of your massage by tapping on the drums.

iMusic BodyRhythm CEO Uwe Diegel, a former concert pianist, is launching the project on Kickstarter.

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Minime

Love your child or significant other so much that you can’t bear to be away from them? No problem. Minime will create a plush toy or iPhone case with your loved one’s face printed in 3-D.

Prices range from $20 for a large plush toy or an iPhone case to $10 for a small keychain accessory.

All you have to do is send a photo to the company, and Minime will take care of the rest. Not creepy at all.

iHip “Snooki Couture” Headphones

Snooki Couture … yeah, no.


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”