Prominent mobile accessories maker Anker has taken to the CES 2018 expo in Las Vegas to unveil two new products including a portable charger and an Alexa-enabled Bluetooth vehicle accessory. Neither product really breaks away from what has been done before by the company. However, that shouldn't be too much of an issue since both should be relatively useful within the niches they are intended to be marketed toward. Plus, it's always good to see a company continuing to recommit itself to what it does best.
The focus of Anker's first new announcement is actually a new entry and update for its PowerHouse portable battery lineup – called the PowerHouse 200. That probably sounds fairly mundane for those who may not already be aware of what those devices are. However, the word "portable" here is somewhat subjective and this is no ordinary portable power pack. Instead, the PowerHouse 200 stores 200Wh worth of electricity in a brick-shaped package, complete with handles, that weighs around 7 pounds. Assuming anybody could even get one to fit, consumers are not going to want to lug it around in one of their pockets, then again it isn't really meant to be either. It even includes a 100-watt AC output plug, in addition to more standard USB ports. That means that nearly anything electronic can be plugged into it, within reason. Moreover, it is only set to cost around $299.99 when it launches this summer, which may make it more perfectly suited for use under circumstances ranging from power grid failures to camping or long-distance road trips.
Moving past the PowerHouse, Anker also took the wraps off of its Roav Viva, which should help keep some older, Bluetooth-enabled vehicles feeling new for a bit longer. That's because although many new vehicles arrive will up-to-date voice controls, and even digital assistants, most of the cars and trucks on the road have no real way to get those features. Roav Viva fixes the discrepancy by packing Amazon's Alexa into a small, cube-shaped device that plugs directly into a given vehicle's the 12-volt outlet. As long as the vehicle in question has support for Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, users will be able to get directions, control phone calls, check the weather or news, and play music with voice controls – exactly as they might use an Amazon Echo at home. While the quality of that experience will primarily depend on how well Roav Viva works with a consumer's in-car Bluetooth, it may be difficult to pass on when it launches for $49.99 within the coming months.