SXSW Trade Show 2012
Vendors Part 2 - Otter Box, Audio Technica, Das Keyboard, Henge Docks, 3D Scanner
One of the largest booths at the trade show was from Otter Box, who intrigued expo visitors with a "Plinko" style game to win Otter Box backpacks, pens, and badge holders. The interesting part was that they used an functioning iPhone 4S encased in one of their custom cases as the "Plinko chip" and had the screen on the entire time they were playing the game. After each turn, they showed the audience that the phone was still functional and unharmed.
One of the most interesting cases they displayed was for Apple's new iPad that was made available to the public on Mar. 16. This particular "Defender Series" case includes a built-in screen protector, durable silicon, and two polycarbonate layers that snap together to encase the new iPad and protect it from different types of impact and shock. This case is also backwards-compatible with the original iPad and iPad 2, and is available on Otter Box's website for $89.95.
Otter Box also displayed their entire line of Defender, Reflex, Commuter, and Impact series cases for tablets and smartphones. Show visitors were able to psysically see how their particular device fit and performed in each case, which I thought helped sell their product line better than just having empty cases on display.
Since this is technically an event geared toward musicians and audiofiles, Audio Technica didn't disappoint with their line of condenser microphones. One of their mid-range condenser mics on hand was the AT2050, which includes switable settings for cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-of-eight patterns. It retails for about $369 and includes a shock mount and carrying pouch. For enthusiasts who need more a higher-end recording solution, Audio-Technica's AT4080 Phantom-powered bidirection ribbon microphone fixes issues with fragile ribbons and low output. This particular model retails for $1,245, but includes their ribbon transducer that brings warm and natural high-fidelity sound to professional recordings and broadcasts.
Many of our readers may use mechanical keyboards from Das Keyboard, who had their entire line of silent, ultimate, and professional mechanical keyboards at the trade show. The main product they were pushing seemed to be the Model S Professional Silent Keyboard tha tbelendings high-end mechanical key switches that are much quieter than other models in their lineup. The Model S Silent also had a nice tactile feel and included two USB 2.0 ports and reengineered electronics for full n-key rollovers. This model is available at their website for $135 shipped.
We didn't want to leave our Mac readers hanging, so we stopped by a new startup called Henge Docks that specialized in vertical docking stations for Macbooks and Macbook Pros. All of their vertical docking stations can be used with all three MagSafe power connectors and support legacy Macbooks as well as the new 13", 15", and 17" Macbook Pros.
The connectors for each docking station also support Thunderbolt and mini D-SUB, DVI, and HDMI adapters. They also added extra ventilation to prevent overheating. All the cables route to the back of the docking station, which is one of the main appeals for having a vertical docking station. These vertical docking stations start at $59.95 for the 13" model and $74.95 for the 17" model.
Next Engine 3D Scanner
One of the most interesting products I browsed at the trade show was Next Engine's 3D scanner. This scanner captures objects in full color using multiple lasers that is relatively affordable for consumers at $2,995 a piece. This device outputs 3D models to several types of design software like SolidWorks, 3ds Max, ZBrush, Rhino, and Mathematica. The scanner can also interface with ScanStudio CAD Tools to create surface files or RapidWorks to build solid files. It will export 3D models to different formats like STL, OBJ, VRML, and XYZ too.