Winners and losers at CES opening reception: Popbox, Inada human “glove” chair, more

popboxHere are some winners and losers at the press reception opening of the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday evening.

The Popbox set-top box competes with Roku’s offering, and delivers just about everything to your TV. It’s one of those boxes that can play just about any type of video or display different kinds of photos. And it organizes a lot of things on a TV screen that you would normally view on the web, from Netflix to Twitter.

You can use it to view apps such as Photobucket, Shoutcast, Revision3, Channels.com, Fun Spot Games and lots of other stuff. It will be available in March for $129 or $149 for a version with built-in Wi-Fi. You can use it for movies, music, games, social networking and news. Put this one in the winner camp, but I’m sure there are going to be a lot of other services just like it.

inada
Inada has been coming to CES Unveiled for years with massage chairs that seem like they’re from science fiction. This year, they have the Doctor’s Choice by Inada chair, which the company says “fits the human form like a glove.” It’s designed to give you posture correction benefits. It wraps around you and gives you 800 square inches of massage coverage and customizes to 106 body types. Of course, the price tag is crazy at $5,799. But the company kindly points out that if you use it for more than 10,000 massages, which would cost about 58 cents per massage. Uh, I can’t say this one is a winner for that many people.

igoiGo showed up with a bunch of products that are aimed at saving energy. The iGo Power Smart Tower has eight outlets so that you can charge eight different devices at the same time. Since it has iGo Green Technology, it will charge a device until it is fully charged and then won’t consume any energy after that. It is available now at $79.99. Other products include the iGo Green Laptop Anywhere Charger ($129) and the iGo Power Smart Wall ($29.99). All of the devices are aimed at eliminating energy vampires that suck electricity even when they’re done charging. It’s a winner, but it competes with other rivals such as Green Plug.

femtocellPicoChip makes flexible wireless chips that can be the heart of a femtocell access point. These are cool devices that you put into your home or any weak spot for cellular reception. They essentially serve as small, self-configuring cellular basestations. They can give you perfect voice reception in a place where you normally don’t get good coverage, like indoors. It’s already being used by 17 customers such as Alcatel Lucent and Sagem who are selling the boxes. The chip maker, PicoChip, is venture-backed and is contemplating an initial public offering. Consider it a winner.

polar bearSome products I am not meant to understand. Take the Polar Bear TV from Hannspree. In my book, it’s one of the complete losers of the CES Unveiled, the opening press reception for the. I can’t tell you how appalling it would be to play Modern Warfare 2 on a TV like this, with the polar bear looking back at you every time you squeezed the trigger of your machine gun in the video game.

But I’m not a 9-year-old kid who likes cute and cuddly things. This $299 television has a 17-inch screen and it can display 720p digital TV. It’s available this March for anybody who has a streak of silliness in them. And if this one doesn’t float your boat, you can also get an apple-shaped TV as well.