CES 2010: Best of the Show
So, now that CES is over for another year, we can look back and take stock.
The buzz of the show was always going to be around 3D, same as last year. This time, though, it was all about 3D actually arriving with the consumer.
The odd thing was that, because everyone was displaying 3D, you almost instantly became blase about it - once you've seen one 3D demo, you've seen them all. Here's the Monsters Vs Aliens 3D Blu-ray being shown on Samsung's 3D home cinema package...
Slightly worrying, although it is early days, is that no one has designed a single pair of 3D glasses yet that don't make you look like the cast of Revenge of the Nerds.
So, while 3D was the overriding message, almost of more interest were things like the latest skinny TVs from LG and Samsung. LG's Ultra Slim LED is just 6.9mm thick and utterly beautiful.
Best TV picture quality of the show, for me, was the 55" Toshiba CELL REGZA, which claims to have over 100 times more processing power than other tellies. That means it will be able to convert 2D to 3D, although how well we don't yet know, and may come with a hard disk for recording TV shows. Expect it to have a price tag in excess of £3k.
Also interesting are the ways TVs are finally taking advantage of Wi-Fi. Samsung announced its app store that will sell apps for tellies as well as phones, while every broadband-ready LG set (over half their range) can make Skype video calls simply using a webcam attachment.
The other main theme, alongside 3D, was ebooks. The sheer number of people who have started to make ebook readers after all this time is like the MP3 boom of 5 years ago. The ones that stood out were, understandably, the ones doing something different.
Plastic Logic's Que (below) used a totally different screen technology - check out our Plastic Logic Que hands-on for more details - while the Spring Design Alex had a separate colour touchscreen displaying an Android interface for browsing the reader's content. Worked quite well, but wouldn't really be necessary if someone would make a slicker touch-sensitive e-ink interface with faster processing.
Personally I'd hold off buying an ebook reader right now until I've seen what the Apple iSlate turns out to be and do.
Talking of Apple, it seems everyone's still surrendering the MP3 market to them. The only noteworthy MP3 player was Samsung's IceTouch, which has a transparent touchscreen you can control from the back. Interesting but unlikely to make a dent in iPod sales. More at our Samsung IceTouch hands-on.
As for the forthcoming iSlate, Microsoft's expected (hoped-for?) rival turned out to be the terribly disappointing "slate PC" form factor. The announcement was so sheepish that we even asked the question is Microsoft afraid to take on the iSlate?
At least in Microsoft's bum-numbing 2-hour keynote Project Natal was confirmed for a Christmas 2010 on-sale date, and it'll be plug-in hardware for Xbox 360 rather than a new console. Not sure what it is? Read our 5 things you need to know about Project Natal.
Although the Windows 7-based slate PCs seemed dull, of more interest was the Android tablet concept from Dell (below), with a 5" screen and 3G. T-Mobile announced something similar but with a 15.6" screen - see our T-Mobile Vega hands-on for the lowdown.
Even cooler was the Lenovo Ideapad U1 hybrid, which uses a full-colour LCD screen to display Windows 7 - but when the screen is detached it becomes a multi-touch tablet running Linux. Crazytown. Read our Lenovo Ideapad U1 hands on for more info.
CES isn't renowned for being a mobile phone show, but LG again came through with the goods - the LG exPo (below) has a pico projector attachment for the back. Read our LG exPo hands-on for more deets. Palm also showed off new handsets - see our Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus hands-on.
Camera-wise, the best offering by far was the Samsung NX10, which applies similar principles to the Micro Four-Thirds cameras by using an electronic eye viewfinder to reduce size - but unlike those, it uses a bigger APS-C sensor. See our Samsung NX10 hands-on.
Rather duller, but more significant, was Panasonic's announcement of SDXC cards that would hold up to 2TB. Panny also had wow factor, though, with a show-stopping 152" 3DTV.
The coolest concepts on show came from Asus, who are never shy about showing their view of the future.
The Asus Waveface line-up included the Case, the Ultra and the Light. The Waveface Ultra (below) is a touch-sensitive AMOLED strip that wraps round your wrist and accesses web-based info like weather and RSS feeds.
The Waveface Light is a touch-sensitive internet tablet with virtual keyboard, designed for cloud computing.
Waveface Casa is essentially just a web-connected TV, but with an odd flexible cover that obscures part of the screen when it's not in use - the areas of the screen left uncovered display customisable information.
Not to be outdone, Intel showed off the power of its chips by building a giant multi-touch wall. Take a peek at our Intel Infoscape video.
So, show's over, folks - but that doesn't mean we've covered everything yet, so keep an eye out for more stories over the coming days. Now, what else did I see...?