25 Must-See Products At CES 20114:00 PM EST Wed. Jan. 05, 2011
CES 2011 is here again, and it's time to look at some of the hottest and more eye-catching products scheduled to appear at the show. From new smartphones and tablet PCs to robots and solar-powered gadgetry, here's a look at what's coming this week in Las Vegas.
Reports emerged before the holidays that Google wanted to postpone the unveiling of its Google TV service (much to the chagrin of Google's TV manufacturer partners like LG, Toshiba and Sharp). But we're holding out hope that we'll get to see at least a glimpse of the company's newest invention. Google TV, which combines Google's Android operating system with the Google Chrome Web browser, is looking like a major competitor to Apple TV and other Internet-capable television platforms/set-top boxes that give customers the ability to stream Web content to their TVs. But will Google TV, which officially launched in October via Sony and Logitech devices, have enough content and new features to make an impact?
It's not really a product, but new architecture from the world's largest chip maker that's expected to make a big impact in the computing industry. Sandy Bridge, Intel's newest 32-nm design, comes with a "Turbo Boost" mode that offers dramatic clock speed improvement and enhanced integrated graphics support. The system builder and PC enthusiast crowds have been buzzing about the new architecture for months now, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini says Sandy Bridge is a game changer that will mark the same kind of microprocessor advancement that the company heralded with the introduction of the Pentium brand nearly two decades ago. A number of PC manufacturers are expected to show off Sandy Bridge-based systems this week.
While we're still waiting for Lenovo's U1 IdeaPad, the alluring tablet-notebook hybrid that stole the show at CES 2010, we're nevertheless looking forward to seeing the company's first true tablet PC: the Lenovo LePad. In November, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing declared that his company would launch a new tablet in the U.S. this year, and the PC maker appears to be making good on that pledge. Lenovo hasn't disclosed much about the LePad other than its operating system (Android) and size (10.1 inches), so we expect more details this week. But the LePad is reportedly just one of several tablet models Lenovo has lined up. Will the computer maker introduce a more business-focused ThinkPad-esque tablet in Las Vegas as well? Stay tuned…
Despite the little lower-case "I" in the name, the iShred is not an Apple product. It's the latest paper shredder from Black & Decker. So what's so special about this particular paper shredder? Well, for one, it's a vertical shredder appliance and the first of its kind in that respect. But more importantly, the iShred uses patented enclosed blades so you don't have to worry about getting your fingers getting caught in the shredder. The sleek design and easy-to-remove paper bin maker the iShred is a more desirable office appliance than the tradition paper shredders.
Sure, Viewsonic is slated to introduce a few new tablets this week (and who isn't?) to compliment the already-launched gTablet and ViewPad 7 models. And while we're intrigued by those items, displays are what Viewsonic does best, and the company is set to introduce the VX2739wm -- the world's first 27-inch full HD monitor with a 1 millisecond response time. With full 1080p support, the VX2739wm LCD monitor features a 16:9 aspect ratio and comes with HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs as well as a 4-port USB hub. Oh, and Viewsonic's new monitor comes with an Eco-mode that reduces energy use by up to 35 percent.
Cloud computing continues to transform the IT industry, so it's no surprise that the technology is beginning to move into the consumer and home markets. Westell Technologies' HomeCloud is a prime example; Westell's solution set includes the HomeCloud Digital Home Manager (DHM), which is an appliance that uses patent-pending software and hardware to create a personal cloud that synchronizes data and enables easy sharing across HomeCloud-connected devices. The HomeCloud DHM appliance is designed to keep data safe and secure without restricting access or content sharing. As a result, users can take digital photos, for example, at a zoo and a HomeCloud application will automatically synchronize the photos with the users' home desktop photo collection and store the images on the DHM appliance.
While its rival Intel is sure to attract a lot of attention with its new Sandy Bridge chip architecture, AMD has a big reveal of its own prepped for Las Vegas: Fusion. The world's second largest chip maker is showing off its Fusion Accelerated Processing Units, or APUs, at the show this week. AMD's Fusion architecture integrates CPU and GPU capabilities on a single-die processor to enhance support for HD video, 3D graphics and other heavy tasks. The Fusion APUs will be available later this month, according to AMD, and be featured first in notebooks, netbooks and smaller desktop models at the show. Lenovo already announced a Fusion-based ThinkPad x120e Notebook will be launched this week at the show.
Wouldn't it be nice to have the power of a high performance desktop PC in the palm of your hand? Well, Xi3 Corp. of Salt Lake City, Utah, hopes to make that concept a reality. The computer maker recently introduced a sleek-looking new product, the Xi3 Modular Computer, which is about 4 inches wide on each side and requires only 20 Watts to power. The Xi3 Modular Computer comes with a Linux operating system based on an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor, either 1 GB or 2 GB of embedded DDR2 RAM, a flash drive with a minimum of 8 GB, and no moving parts. And to make sure that everything fits into a nice little cube, Xi3 splits the motherboards into four parts and uses the computer's exterior aluminum case as the heat sink.
Like a lot of PC makers, Asus has jumped into the tablet market. Following on its Eee Note e-reader tablet, the computer maker plans to introduce its Eee Pad lineup at the show this week. One such Eee Pad model is the EP121, a 12-inch tablet that comes with full HD playback support, an HDMI input, and an integrated Web camera, not to mention Intel's Core i5 processor and Windows 7. Asus hasn't revealed many other details about the new tablet, other than a short teaser video for the EP121 on its CES 2011 blog. But the company will reportedly have several other Eee Pad models to introduce in Las Vegas, too.
Motorola has now officially been split into two companies: Motorola Solutions, which focuses on network and enterprise technology, and Motorola Mobility, which is dedicated to smartphones, mobile devices and home entertainment. And Motoroloa Mobility plans on making a big splash at CES 2011 with Olympus, its newest super smartphone. Olympus will be one of the first smartphones to feature a dual core processor, courtesy of Nvidia's Tegra 2 mobile platform. Not much is known about Olympus beyond its processor and operating system (Android) -- does it have a front-facing camera? How big is the display? Will it be available for both AT&T and Verizon customers? We hope to find out more this week.
[Photo courtesy of Engadget]
Green technology is a big theme yet again this year for CES, and Solar Components has a new gadget that could come in handy for folks that can't find an electrical outlet. The JOOS Orange is a personal solar charger that customers can connect their smartphones, mobile devices and other gadgets to when they're running low on power. The solar charger is about the size of a large paperback book and comes in a rugged, water-proof design. Solar Components says the JOOS Orange is the world's most powerful personal charger and has the ability to deliver more than two and a half hours of cell phone talk time per hour of daylight. The JOOS Orange also has an internal battery that carries enough juice to fully charge four smartphones. The MSRP for JOOS Orange is $99.95, and you can also spend about $20 more for "power booster" reflectors.
This may very well be the unicorn of CES 2011. Will Verizon deliver the long-awaited, highly anticipated CDMA-version of the iPhone 4? Everyone seems to agree a Verizon iPhone is definitely coming at some point. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has expressed interested in supporting the iPhone, and with Google Android phones reportedly outpacing the sales of the iPhone these days, it sure makes sense for this to happen. And what better time to introduce a Verizon iPhone than at the world's largest technology trade show during Seidenberg's Thursday morning keynote? Keep your fingers crossed…
Everybody's getting into the tablet market, so why should one of the world's largest mobile phone makers be any different? A prototype of Motorola's tablet was shown off last month by Android creator Andy Rubin at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco. Other than running Gingerbread, the next version of Android operating system, we know that Motorola's tablet -- rumored to be called the Moto Pad -- will run on Nvidia's Tegra 2 dual core mobile processor and come with a touch-screen display. Motorola has said it plans to release two tablets in 2011 -- a 7-inch model and a 10-inch model -- so hopefully we'll get a closer look at one or both of those models this week. As seen in this picture from a Motorola teaser video, the company is keeping its tablets under wraps until the show starts.
The WheeMe may look like a toy car for your kids, and while the device does have wheels and is designed to drive -- sort of -- the intended terrain is actually your back. DreamBots' new product is robot massager designed to silently and automatically "drive" across your back, smoothing out the knots and aches with the WheeMe's patented "fingerette" wheels. The WheeMe is powered by AA batteries and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. So road-weary travels suffering from aches and pains after a long mega-conference -- like, say, CES -- can pack a WheeMee in their luggage and set it loose after a long day on the exhibit hall floor.
Along with making a splash at CES with new smartphones and a potential tablet device, Motorola is also set to introduce a new set-top box [STB] -- sort of. Motorola's mystery STB is reportedly a wireless media streamer that will allow users to watch content on their smartphones, laptops and tablets within their homes. While Motorola teased the as-yet-unnamed device at Reuters' Global Media Summit last month, Motorola Mobility plans to reveal more details this week in Las Vegas.
Admit it: you thought Polaroid was dead, didn't you? Well, the camera company is alive and kicking -- albeit severely marginalized by the advent of digital cameras. Polaroid is planning yet another comeback (the company made a big splash at last year's CES by naming pop singer Lady Gaga as its creative director) with a new mystery product. The company sent out invitations for a product launch with an enigmatic message -- "Grey Revealed" -- and the image of a shadowy-looking Polaroid device. Is it a new instant film camera? Is it a digital-instant combo, perhaps? Will Lady Gaga be at the event? Stay tuned for more.
At last year's CES, EnTourage introduced its eDGe "Dualbook," which was a hybrid netbook/tablet/e-reader with dual 10-inch screens and folded open like a traditional laptop (except that it's held vertically instead of hortizonally). Now EnTourage is prepping the PocketEdge for Las Vegas, which is a smaller version of the DualBook with a 7-inch touch-screen display and a 6-inch e-reader display. At that size, EnTourage's new product may be a little too big to fit in customers' pockets. But the Android-powered device comes with a 2-megapixel camera, 3 GB of memory, and 1 GB of free online storage. The PocketEdge's MSRP is $399 compared to the DualBook's $549 price tag.
Toshiba will reportedly have a trio of tablet PCs ready for prime time in Las Vegas. And instead of hitching its wagon to one OS, Toshiba will reportedly spread the love by featuring one model for Windows 7, one for Google Chrome, and one for Google Android, according to DigiTimes. Two of the three tablets will feature a 10.1-inch display, while the third will have a larger 11.6-inch display. Toshiba, which once ruled the laptop market years ago and already has a line of convertible tablet PCs, had previously promised a family of new "slates" or tablet PCs in 2011, so the computer maker seems to be fulfilling its promise.
The All-in-One PC has experienced a renaissance. The next version of HP's successful All-in-One PC series, the 100B, will be available in February starting at $499, and will feature a 20-inch touch screen display and HP’s new TouchSmart 4.0 software. It’s designed for small businesses looking for performance in a space-saving form factor, according to Ken Bosley, worldwide consumer PC product marketing manager for HP’s Personal Systems Group unit. "The difference between [TouchSmart] 3.0 and 4.0 is infinite scrolling, and customized content," Bosley said. "We also have a new Apps Center." Apps you say? Well, count us in.
Despite the "i" in i-dration, this product is in no way affiliated with Apple's popular mobile devices. However, Cambridge Consultants's new age water bottle is a mobile device in its own right. The U.K.-based technology company created i-dration as a "hardware app," or a dedicated device that can be synchronized with one's smartphone. The i-dration bottle delivers real time date to your phone about how much water you've consumed and also sends alerts when you need to drink more. The i-dration also comes with a heart rate chest-band that measures users' exercise levels and also fuses the date with information such as age, height, and weight that users can pre-enter into the i-dration smartphone app. No word yet on pricing, but after hiking around the Las Vegas Convention Center for a week, we made need one of these.
Forget those flimsy paper spectacles or those awkward, cheap plastic 3D glasses -- LG wants viewers to enjoy 3D televisions in comfort and style. The technology maker is teaming up with renowned French designer Alain Mikli to craft high quality 3D eyewear for consumers. LG says its new 3D glasses will feature Mikli's signature sunglasses style while using select metals instead of plastic. The new shades are also ergonomically designed with a special nose pad co-patented by LG and Mikli. There's no word yet on the specific type of lenses used in LG's forthcoming 3D glasses, but more information – and possibly the price -- will be revealed at CES.
LG isn't the only company getting into premium 3D eyewear. Marchon recently created a new division of its eyewear company called Marchon3D and formed a partnership with 3D company ReadlD, which makes the company's eyewear compatible with any movie theater using RealD's stereoscopic 3D technology. Marchon3D plans to show off in las Vegas its patent-pending M3D curved lens technology, which is now being featured in Calvin Klein and Nautica 3D glasses. In addition to RealD theater screens, Marchon3D's new glasses will be compatible with 3D passive technology in various televisions, computers and gaming consoles.
GPS technology seems to find its way into just about everything these days. So why should ski goggles be any different? Sports eyewear maker Zeal has teamed up with "wearable technology" company Recon Instruments to produce Transcend, which the two companies claim are the first GPS-enabled goggles. Transcend gives users an LCD display with a digital, real-time readout of information such as temperature, speed, altitude, longitude/latitude and other metrics. The futuristic-looking eyewear comes with a USB port for downloading your stats from the slopes, as well as add-on software from Recon Instruments that lets you analyze those stats and view your trips on Google Maps. Oh, and the goggles also come with SPPX polarized and photochromic lens, too.
In case you didn't already glean this from ThinkEco's name, the New York-based startup is all about green technology. And the company's flagship product is the Modlet, which is short for "modern outlet." The Modlet is an "intelligent" outlet that's designed to limit energy waste through real-time monitoring of appliance power consumption. ThinkEco's device easily plugs into an existing, traditional electric outlet, but the Modlet allows users to curb the amount of wasted energy, or "standby power," that's drawn from appliances and devices that are turned off or in sleep mode. The Modlet can automatically turn off the power to appliances, and users can manage and monitor their energy consumption through a Web browser that wirelessly connects to the intelligent outlet. ThinkEco says the Modlet can help customers save 10 percent or more on their electric bills, depending on the appliances and number of outlets used.
Last but not least, we have ioSafe's as-yet-unnamed and unrevealed mystery product. The storage startup has made a name for itself recently in creating highly durable disaster-proof hardware such as its Solo external hard drive, which is fireproof and waterproof. So what's ioSafe's new product? We're guessing it's not a tablet but another rugged storage device. IoSafe teased its new product in a blog post and showed a close-up picture, daring customers to correctly guess what the gadget is for a chance to win the mystery item. "It weighs more than a Cadbury Cream Egg but less than adult coonhound." Okay then. IoSafe plans to take the cloak off its new product sometime this week.