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Written by Hank Tolman   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Belkin CES 2012 ReBranding and Product Launches

At CES 2012 there seems to be a common, overarching theme amongst many of the exhibitors; connecting all aspects of your life. There are thousands of new products on the show floor that try to make everything you do throughout your day connected through mobile devices, peripherals, and the internet. I've seen door locks that you unlock from your smartphone, blinds that can be shut from the other side of the country and, of course, plenty of SmartTVs. Belkin, a huge name already in networking, unveiled their own rebranding CES. They have a new logo and a whole line of new products aimed at connecting all the various parts of your busy life.

Rebranding

Belkin is changing it's logo and releasing a completely new brand identity at CES 2012. They've named the new logo PIP, which stands for People Inspired Products. I'm not really sure how that differentiates their new products from their old, as I would assume most companies create products that are inspired by people and their lives. It seems like a good tagline, however. The rebranding is at the center of a lot of new product releases designed to integrate all aspects of your life.

Belkin_Wordmark_3.0.jpg

New Products

I got to take a look at a lot of the new products that the Belkin showcased at CES. What follows is a little bit of information on them.

WeMo

WeMo is home automation system that lets you manage your home electronics from anywhere you are through a smartphone app. Basically, you connect your electronics to a WeMo Control Outlet, which then plugs into a standard electrical outlet in your home. It also connects to your wireless network. After that, you download the smartphone app and enjoy controlling your device from anywhere. You can turn the device on or off or have it set to a specific schedule. Other WeMo products include a motion sensor, a baby monitor, a garage door opener, door locks, and lighting controls. Got a load of groceries to carry into the house at night? Turn on your lights and unlock your door before you get out of your car and your hands are full.

Home Entertainment Products

The most interesting of the home entertainment products I took a look at were ScreenCast TV and ScreenCast PC.

Belkin_Universal_WHDTV_Adapter.jpg

ScreenCast TV is a box that connects to your wireless network and hooks up to your cable provider. Then, from your smartphone or tablet, you can watch live TV from anywhere you are connected to the internet. You can set your DVR, record directly to your device, browse TV listings, etc. Basically, anything that you could do on your TV sitting in your living room, you can do using ScreenCast TV.

Belkin_ScreenCast_AV4.jpg

ScreenCast PC lets you connect content from your PC and stream it directly to any HDTV through an HDMI port. These types of devices are becoming very commonplace. It will be interesting to see pricing information when the Belkin ScreeCast PC becomes available.

Belkin_ScreenCast_AV4_back.jpg

Wireless Networking

It just wouldn't be Belkin if they didn't release something to do with networking! Belkin announced the Advance N900 DB wireless router at CES 2012 and enters the growing list of companies offering N900 routers. N900 is almost a misnomer in my opinion. Wireless 802.11n specifications are supposed to support up to 1Gb/s transfer speeds. In reality, most routers offer 150Mb/s, 300Mb/s, or 450Mb/s. Of course, those are idea rates and I've yet to see anything above about 250Mb/s. Well, the N900 routers don't really offer 900Mb/s transfer speeds, what they offer is 450Mb/s on the 2.4Ghz band and 450Mb/s on the 5Ghz band.

Belkin_N900_side.jpg

Other specs of the N900 DB wireless router from Belkin are typical of N900 routers. It uses IEEE 3x3 standard by transmitting across three antennas per band. One thing that differentiates the Belkin Advance N900 DB wireless router is the use of Belkin's MultiBeam technology. Apparently, MultiBeam sends a high-powered signal that should make for more consistently high network speeds. We will have to get our hands on one of these routers to test that out and see. Each of their six embedded antennasare equiped with MutliBeam technology.

Belkin_N900_back.jpg

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