With the incredible proliferation of uber-tech devices and cutting-edge technology blasting forth at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show, some things do tend to get lost in the high-pitched hoopla of a show on steroids. Among them are the ingenious add-on and must-have devices that not only enhance the overall experience of your customers and keep them coming back, but also increase your overall profit margin on each sale.
Indeed, given the fiercely competitive market in smartphones, compact digital cameras, camcorders and other relatively big-ticket items, it’s a truism that success in selling accessories can make a substantial difference in whether your business is robust and upbeat or simply hanging on.
To give you an idea of what’s out there that will motivate consumers, we’ve selected a group of one dozen E-cessories at the big show that caught our attention.
This compact, two-piece, Bluetooth lavalier mic provides Flip UltraHD video camera users with the ability to record high-quality audio wirelessly. The system features a microphone/transmitter that clips to the subject and a receiver that secures to the bottom of the Flip and plugs into the new FlipPort connector. It lets users wirelessly record high-quality audio up to 100 feet away and remotely control record and stop functions. It includes a high-performance condenser microphone with DSP noise cancellation and rechargeable Li-Ion batteries with four hours of run time, and a pass-through tripod mount. $99.99. scosche.com
Joby Gorillapod Video
Designed specifically for mini camcorders and other imaging devices with standard tripod sockets, such as the Kodak PlaySport, this ultracompact tripod provides omni-directional positioning, and its anodized aluminum video head with quick-release plate allows seamless 360º panning and a 135º tilt. Its flexible ball-and-socket legs provide stability on almost any surface, and its strong magnetic feet increase its possible vantage points. It supports up to 11.5 ounces, weighs 2.8 ounces and is 7.2 inches high. $29.95. joby.com
This lightweight easy-to-use stabilization device lets users shoot shake-free HD video with an Apple i-Phone 3G and will soon be available for the Apple iPhone 4, the new iTouch, and the Flip MinoHD 60 and Flip Mino120 videocams. Based on the Academy Award-winning Steadicam used by Hollywood cinematographers, it features a patented design built around a gimbaled counterweighted platform and a durable mono-frame metal structure. Measuring 8×14.5×2.5 inches when set up for use, its patented quick-release removable iPhone mount also serves as a tabletop stand or can be mounted to any tripod with a standard 1/4 x20-inch thread. The ergonomic handgrip folds securely for storage. $199.99. tiffen.com
Liquid Image Summit HD Snow Goggle
With its integrated HD camera, this goggle captures a 136º wide-angle field of view to record action videos or stills while skiing, boarding, sledding or snowmobiling. The hands-free unit has a 5.0MP (2,560×1,920) camera mode and a video mode that records 720 HD video at up to 30 fps with audio. With the use of a Micro SD/SDHC card (up to 32GB), the camera can record thousands of photos or hours of HD video. Files may be downloaded to a computer through the USB/RCA cable provided, or through a microSD/SDHC card. $249.99. liquidimageco.com
Davis & Sanford Tabletop Pro Tripod
Very compact and remarkably sturdy, this tabletop tripod can support a digital point-and-shoot camera or even a consumer DSLR (up to 2.5 pounds). It features two-section legs with quick-snap locks and rubber feet, and a suction cup at the bottom of the center column for added stability. Its three-way pan/tilt head offers smooth positioning control, and it includes a quick release and built-in bubble level. Weight: 1 pound. Max. height: 9 inches. $15.99. tiffen.com
Scosche flipSYNC II
This award-winning, patented gizmo is an ingeniously configured charge and sync cable for the iPod and iPhone that folds up and stows conveniently on a keychain so you always have it with you. It uses a USB 2.0 connection for fast data transfer. We all know that forgetting your charge and sync cable can be a major downer, so this clever item is a portable insurance policy. $19.99. scosche.com
Claimed to be the world’s first handheld extendable tripod for digital cameras and camcorders, this device lets the photographer get into the picture by holding the extended Quik Pod with camera attached and properly framing the shot on the LCD using a self-positioning mirror. It’s made of aluminum alloy and weighs less than 3.5 ounces. It is designed for use with point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders, lightweight digital SLRs, waterproof cameras and for remote lighting. It also converts from handheld use to tabletop use in seconds. The Quik Pod includes a built-in self-positioning mirror to help frame each shot, a lightweight tripod leg adapter, carry bag, hiking clip, pocket clip, end cap and wrist strap. $29.95. quikpod.com
Craftwell eCraft Personal Electronic Cutter
Billed as the first and only electronic cutter that allows users to cut without a mat, this lightweight, portable unit is designed for scrapbooking, banners, paper crafting, etc., and can be used on its own, with SD memory cards or attached to a computer with eCraftshop Design software. Hobbyists can use the paper tray to stack multiple sheets, use the roller to cut paper up to 12 inches wide in any length, and draw and cut without changing from a blade to a pen. Other features include: a 2.8-inch backlit LCD; adjustable blade settings for various materials; a clear cut indicator; and a pause button. The eCraft electronic cutting system comes with one image card, two black pens, five blades, a paper tray, a roller attachment, eCraftshop Design software (download) and USB cable. It comes in pinc (that’s right, no k!) purpleberry, skye and glacier. $349.99. craftwellusa.com
Lowel Ego Tabletop Fluorescent Soft Light
This portable unit provides a soft, broad, cool-running light source that’s ideal for taking the professional-looking digital tabletop shots required by collectors, hobbyists, sellers, archivists and desktop publishers. Simply plug it in, place it on the table, and turn it on. Its 5,000K daylight-equivalent light output can also be used for still and video talking head shots, digital still portraits and webcam videoconferencing. It’s supplied with two 27-watt screw-in compact daylight fluorescent lamps and includes a hinge-folded white bounce card for adjusting the reflected fill. $125. lowel.com
GelaSkins are thin, laminated vinyl decals designed to cover a variety of portable electronic devices to provide scratch protection from everyday wear and tear. The 3M adhesive can be repositioned and won’t leave any residue when users choose to remove it. The skins feature photo-quality graphics ranging from fine art prints to contemporary urban images designed by the company’s growing family of artists, or consumers can use their own photographs to design a custom skin. Shown on an iPhone 4 is the ultracool Watermelon Moon—a GelaSkin designed and imprinted by artist Charley Harper. $14.95. gelaskins.com
Pelican Micro 1015 Case
Built as a robust protection option for digital point-and-shoot cameras, handheld electronics and smartphones, this case’s internal rubber liner doubles as a weather-resistant seal and as a shock absorber with a series of curved bumpers lining the perimeter. Its durable easy-open polymer latch and stainless steel hinge ensures that the case will stay closed, even when dropped. It features two loops at either end for tie off and a carabiner to secure it to a belt loop or backpack. For ultimate security, the 1015’s high-impact, heat and chemically resistant polymer shell will stand up to harsh conditions. $20.95. pelican.com
Coby DP1252 Digital Photo Frame
Featuring a classic wooden frame and a bright 12.0-inch widescreen TFT LCD, this digital frame lets consumers display JPEG files, play MP3 and WMA music files, and view MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG videos. It also provides a photo slideshow with music mode. Other features include: calendar and clock with alarm timer; slots for SD, MMC, MS, xD and CF cards; a USB port; integrated stereo speakers; a full-function remote; and wall-mount capability. $144.99. cobyusa.com