Native Union, the company best known for its colorful MoshiMoshi retro cellphone handsets, has created a device that has roughly the same footprint as a Post-It but is actually a battery-powered video recorder and playback device.
Called Play, the gadget is roughly an inch thick and shaped like a comic strip dialog balloon, complete with tail. A 2.4-inch, 320-by-240 LCD takes up most of the device’s real estate, with three buttons to operate it to the right of the display. The sides and back are brightly colored (it's available in white, black, red, purple, blue, pink or green), and the back is magnetized so you can slap it on your refrigerator or any other surface on which you used to stick Post-Its. (If you don't have a metallic surface, you can use an included piece of magnetized wall tape to create one.)
The three buttons are, from top to bottom, for playback; on/off/record; and deletion of messages. Play's 256MB of memory holds up to three minutes' worth of video recording, but you can record multiple short messages until you reach the limit. The messages are captured with a .3-megapixel camera and labeled with a date and time stamp.
While you're recording, the Play's screen shows you what the camera is capturing. Once you're done you hit the record button again. This makes a little LED light in the balloon's tail start flashing, thereby alerting observers that a recorded message awaits. Pushing the play button activates the screen, which shows a small envelope; push play again to view and listen to video messages.
The Play is powered by 3 AAA batteries, which according to Native Union will keep it on standby for 40 days or support 3 hours of recording or playback. It's available now and costs $60.
Native Union is also showing several stylish new mobile device handsets at CES. The MM02t ($60) and MM02u ($50) are dual-line docks that let you toggle between calls on different devices using a single handset. The MM02t has docks for two devices, while the MM02u's dock supports one device, with a cable to connect a second device or PC.
The MM05-travel is a thin corded handset with a soft-touch finish that you can plug into a mobile device and set on a flat surface to use like a speakerphone. It costs $40 and like the other products, is available now.
For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.