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DISTREE 2016 will focus on cool consumer tech

Plenty of the technology that will be available in stores across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the rest of this year will depend on the outcome of more than 6,000 meetings that will take place at the DISTREE show in France at the end of February. Ahead of the show itself, here's a run through of some of the freshest products that we will be getting up close and personal with.

From the 24th to 27th February, Monaco's impressive Grimaldi Forum will be converted into a huge showcase. The event is unique in the calendar, bringing 160 vendors with new products to offer together with the people who do the buying for the major high street and online stores.

KitGuru is one of a small handful of international technology publications invited along to see what happens behind the scenes. Here are some of the companies and products that we will be casting an eye over – in alphabetical order. Remember, it's possible that some of these products will have been seen in the wild, but they are often ‘Engineering samples – without a known high street price' – or they will have only been on sale in one part of the world, but the creators now feel ready to share with a wider audience.

AP12 QuadCopter drone from AEE Technology
AEE is building its reputation in the fast-growing consumer drones space. The new AP12 QuadCopter drone features an integrated 3-axis gimbal camera system that records in 1080P at 60 fps. It can fly for up to 25 minutes with top speeds reaching 44mph (71kmh). CEO Andy Zhang, told us “AEE already has a dedicated following in Europe and Asia. As the drone market continues to grow, our company is dedicated to releasing exciting drones that enthusiasts and professionals alike will enjoy”.



Stackable Speaker from aiFi
Nestled along the north side of Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden, the city of Karlstad is home to aiFi, creators of Stackable Speaker speaker system. The aiFi features Wave Dot Technology ensuring seamless sound distribution across the speaker units once they are connected. Three stacked aiFi make a Soundbar for your TV, while a Six-Stack is perfect for a party on your patio, according to the aiFi folks. It has been a long time in the making, but the Stackable Speakers will start shipping in the next few weeks.



IP68 Water-Proof/Shock-Proof Case from Armor-X
Given that Armor-X already has protective cases for more than 1,000 smartphones and tablets, the ‘new' at this year's event could be for one of the stars of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With an all Korean match-up between the S7 and G5, early adopters may well want protection from impacts and the elements. All of the Armor-X cases are X-Mount ready with dual-layers of shock-absorbing TPU and protective polycarbonate. With so many cases on the market, a vendor needs something special to stand out and the protection+mounting that Armor-X offers could be enough.


Aura Box from Divoom
When someone tells you that they're about to demonstrate the best LED speaker you have ever seen, it makes you wonder just how many LED encrusted speakers you have ever seen. With a 2,000mAh battery and Bluetooth v4.0, Divoom claims that this ‘smart music box' can play for up to 6 hours. As well as on-box buttons, the Aura Box also has an iOS and Android app that let you control the lamp, thermometer, alarm clock and volume. The lamp function also lets you ‘draw' Minecraft-style graphics. Up to 8 of these ‘drawings' can be linked together into an animation. Maybe you could draw icons for each of your social media apps and have them pop up when you get a message. Maybe.



Social Media Counter from Flapit
For years, sales teams across the planet will have looked up to see a counter on the wall, telling them how many calls have come in, how many were answered etc. Now Flapit has a physical counter for social media.  Simple to set up and get working with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, YouTube, Dianping, Zomato, VKontakte, Foursquare, Swarm and Tripadvisor. No matter how hard they try not to, you just know that small business managers will spend all day watching this clock.



Volcano Blaze VR Set from Modecom
Smartphone penetration into urban areas is now close to 100% and the vast majority are Android based. On that basis, Modecom's target audience for its latest VR headset set, the Volcano Blaze, is substantial. It can handle screen sizes from 4.5″ to 5.7″ and has an anti-drop safety feature to prevent accidents. The set includes earphones and a Bluetooth remote control which doubles as a game pad. With a ~15 hour charge on the handset, you will run out of neck muscle before you run out of controllability. VR games are already plentiful on the Google Play store and many of them are free, so the only cost for many to begin using VR will be the ‘interface'.



A company called König will be presenting a Starter Kit for those who want to make their habitat into a Smart Home for the first time. Intriguing, but you'll have to wait for specific images and technical details.  For now, all we know is that it will be centred on a cloud-based alarm, monitoring and automation solution – complete with a next-gen IP camera that lets you monitor what's gong on at the highest quality HD resolution. The König brand is handled by Nedis in Europe.

Blade Stealth Ultrabook from Razer
Over the past two years, KitGuru has worked hard to get each of the new Razer mobile gaming products into our Labs for full evaluation. Not easy when many of them were only intended for sale outside the region, but we soldiered on. Last month, initial notification of the Blade Stealth Ultrabook happened – and now that Razer is showing it at DISTREE, we can assume that this product will be sold across the region. Billed as ‘The Ultimate Ultrabook', it's 4K touch display, 0.52″ aircraft-grade aluminium chassis, 100% Adobe RGB coverage and promise of up to 8 hours battery life will be tempting – as will the ability to couple with the Razer Core for desktop performance once you're back at base. If you want to start salivating over the images, Razer has kindly set up a preview page here.



Upright Posture Trainer
The Warcraft episode of Southpark was probably a little too realistic when it comes to the conversion of normal people into hardcore gamers. No matter how many good intentions we start off with, we are all guilty of giving in to the slouch. UPRIGHT is a smart trainer product, designed to be worn for a short amount of time during the day. It's smart software creates a training programme that will gradually train your core muscles and build muscle memory. Using a gentle adhesive, it sticks to your lower back and sends a vibration into you, every time your posture ‘fails you'. The creators claim that 15 minutes a day is enough to change your life. It comes with a load of spare sticky patches and a USB charging cradle.



Airxel – World's thinnest projector from Innoio
Weighing just over 400 grams and 18mm high, the Airxel is a DLP LED projector that offers 1280×720 at up to 220 Lumens.  The manufacturer claims a 120 inch image at 4.5 metres and an HDMI input so it's easy to connect. The key advantage of having a really thin product is that you may be able to carry it inside your laptop bag, without the need for additional luggage. On that basis, if you needed to travel around a lot – playing movies or giving presentations – then the concept is interesting. The internal Li-polymer battery charges in 200 minutes and will give you up to 120 minutes of projection – which should be enough for most films.


Let us know what you think over on Facebook.

KitGuru says: Looking at the initial results from out Tech Survey 2016, many of you have been telling us that you're considering gadget purchases this year. The stuff we've seen so far is appealing on paper. We'll head over to DISTREE and bring back shots and info on the kit that combines good looks with a smart spec and intelligent pricing. 

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