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CES preview: Docks, satellites, radar, blood pressure and more

Here's a brief rundown of notable items we saw last night at the pre-show event for the press called Unveiled here at CES 2011. We'll have more hands-on coverage of some of these items this week, plus a ton of other docks, more docks, some items that aren't docks, and a few more docks and accessories for your iPhone, iPad or iPod. There may even be some items for your Mac!

We wrote about the Withings blood pressure monitor already, but seeing the device in action was a treat. The app looks easy to use and easy on the eyes, and the design on the hardware is impressive. Withings also makes a Wi-Fi scale and introduced a baby monitor that allows you to see your baby via your iPhone or iPad, but also communicate with them.

The nPower PEG is a "personal energy generator" that uses kinetic energy (like when you walk around) to charge up a 1000 mAh lithium polymer battery. In turn, this battery can recharge your iPhone, iPad, etc. You can also charge the battery using the USB port, but where's the fun in that? It's much more fun to shake the thing like a Shake Weight, harnessing all that kinetic energy so that you can play another hour of Infinity Blade.

Click "Read More" to check out the rest of what we've seen so far.

The O Car claims to turn your iPhone into a head unit for your car. Unfortunately, we felt the tiny text on the interface (via a free app) makes the thing too difficult to use in practice. Better would be something like FlickTunes. The hardware seemed like a great idea: use your iPhone as the screen (landscape or portrait, even). But the thing falls down in execution. Still, there's hands-free dialing, so maybe that'll work for you if you must have your iPhone mounted on your dashboard.

From WowWee comes the Cinemin Slice, a dock for your iDevice that includes a built-in pico projector capable of throwing video onto a wall from several feet away. The demo we saw tried to put the video on the ceiling, but between the distance and ambient light, the picture was quite washed out. As a simple pico projector it does an OK job, however.

Out of nowhere comes Dexim with an iPad 2 case featuring a magnetically attached Bluetooth keyboard. As Engadget reports, this appears to be the same spec other case manufacturers have been using to craft next-gen iPad cases, but we were surprised to find the camera hole on the back and a faux prototype filling up the interior of the leather folio-style case. It's an impressive combo, really. We can't wait to see it in action. We can't wait to see the iPad 2 as well. Dexim also had a Mophie-like iPhone case with extra battery and kickstand that we'll try out this week.

The Pure booth featured more docks, including one with a nice FM antenna and pop-out dock similar in shape to their Twilight model. The sound was impressive, but not as impressive as Orbitsound, a new contender that uses a wireless dock to connect to a subwoofer and main unit featuring speakers pointing out the sides. This, according to Orbitsound, achieves stereo separation no matter where you are in a room. A bold claim, and one we'll have to test later given the ambient noise of the demo floor.

iHome had its usual lineup of serviceable docks/clocks, with a new light-up "mood" dock and an update to another, the iA63, which features a motorized rotating dock for your iPhone or iPod touch.

Blue Microphones was on hand to demo the latest Blue mics, including their latest Yeti. We'll have a couple on hand at Macworld (at our booth), but in the meantime Engadget has a quick rundown of the features on these sweet sound absorbers.

SPOT turns your iPhone into a satellite communicator. Why? Well, for one thing you'll be able to connect your phone in places where there simply are no towers. For another, you can use SPOT as an emergency beacon (along with a free app), sending your GPS coordinates and an emergency message to GEOS.

Speaking of locations, we got a look at the Cobra radar detector app and iPhone accessory we mentioned a while ago plus a hint of things to come: a service not unlike Trapster where you'll merely have to speak to the iPhone to warn others of speed traps.

Check out the gallery below to see what we saw at the press event, and stay tuned for more CES coverage this week and into the next.

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