CES' big ideas

[intro]The world's biggest technology show was teeming with gadget life, but what were the big trends? Allow us to be your Peter Snow[/intro] For

For the gadgeteer, visiting CES is like eating 50 kilos of Dairy Milk in one day. The shiny gizmos are just too plentiful to take in, but separating them into themes can calm the tech-obsessed mind. So, with your long-term health in mind, we've decided to sign off with this list of the top five trends at CES 2007.

1.) Vista

The new Windows was an omnipotent presence across the whole show. Excitable journalists started queuing hours before Bill Gates' keynote to hear his spiel about it, but it was equally visible on the exhibition floor, not least in the form of SideShow, one of its best features.

SideShow basically allows computers to show you bitesize info – e-mails, calendar appointments, battery levels – without booting the whole thing up and wasting juice. Asus, Fujitsu, LG and Toshiba all got involved, while Microsoft's stand creaked under the weight of SideShow remotes and picture frames.

2.) Hi-def streaming

Hot on Vista's heels was PC-to-TV streaming. Everyone wanted to show how essential they will be in your new 'digital home'. HP built a virtual house to flaunt its MediaSmart TV, which now supports 802.11n Wi-Fi for high-def streaming. Samsung took the same wireless standard and chucked it in a 57in, 1080p plasma. And Sling Media reversed its Slingbox to bring you, yes, the SlingCatcher.

Philips also showed off its wireless HDMI, which uses UltraWideband – a sibling of Wi-Fi that is less prone to interference from other wireless technologies – to fling hi-def up to 25 feet between the receiver and transmitter. Unfortunately, it won't be available here anytime soon as the tech is illegal in the UK, although this should be resolved in the next six months.

3.) Crazy robots

Wowwee’s Elvis head was just the beginning. Little did we know that our travails around the show floor would then see us bumping into Johnny 5-esque Meccano Spyke, a new barcode-following vacuum called U-Bot and a new panda pal for Robosapien. Special mention must also go to Honda’s ASIMO, who has developed the ability to run at 5km per hour, and lost the accident prone tendencies that recently saw him fall off some stairs (twice).

4.) War declared on Archos

The stay-at-home PMP master came under attack at CES, with an avalanche of portable video players from unlikely sources. SanDisk weighed in with its 8GB View, which uses flash memory to keep size down and battery life up, Cowon and Philips showed off their weeny D2 and SA60XX players, and even Polaroid delivered a 30GB Wi-Fi jukebox.

5.) Digital photo frames

We know, not that exciting, but they were everywhere. Different sizes. Different colours. Some with Bluetooth, some without. Still, they took our minds off the format war rumbling in the background.

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed the CES coverage and videos. We're going to bed...