G-Spot: Consumer Electronics Show
Let's call it what it is: The Consumer Electronics Show, held last month in Las Vegas, was a total misrepresentation of gadget reality.
Normally, the hundreds of companies on the expo floor at CES offer a glimpse into the hottest new products of the year. Thus, if we take the show at face value, 3D TV will be the biggest gadget story of 2010.
The CES obsession with all things three dimensional will soon fizzle out in disappointment. Other, less promoted gadgets hold much more promise for the year ahead.
So, let's separate the bunk from the bravos with a look at some of the best and worst at CES.
Sony demoed Bravia 3D televisions everywhere in their CES booth. In Vegas terms, Sony is "all in," bragging about their 3D streaming content, 3D Blu-ray movies and 3D PlayStation 3 games.
Panasonic, meanwhile, shouted about the Full HD 3D in their plasma TV line and Blu-ray players. They'll soon be touring the country, showing off a 152-inch 3D plasma set.
Don't these companies realize that many of us shelled out thousands of dollars for new HDTVs when TV went digital last year? Spending more, so soon, for 3D TV is not in the cards. In fact, a recent Magid research study found that a third of all HDTV owners don't even subscribe to an HD service.
HDTV is real and growing. 3D TV is dead on arrival.
Toshiba and Sharp, on the other hand, get high marks for more realistic innovations.
Toshiba featured their "super-resolution" ZX900 Series CELL TV (available later this year, price TBD), which is said to have 143 times the processing power of current LCD TV models for more brightness, more contrast, more detail, more powerful connectivity - and, yes, it's 3D compatible.
Sharp touted QuadPixel Technology in their LE920, 820 and 720 Series (available later this year for $1,700 to $7,000), which adds yellow pixels to the RGB (red, green and blue) pixels on your current TV. The result: more vibrant color.
More than 60 digital e-readers - typically with paper-like E Ink screens and some kind of wireless connectivity to download books, newspapers and magazines - were featured at CES. The most promising:
Que proReader ($650 and $800 at que.com, available in April), an e-reader similar to Apple's iPad but with an 8.5-by-11-inch E Ink screen, versus the iPad's touchscreen LCD. The proReader is magazine-size and features magazine and newspaper content in their traditional layouts.
enTourage eDGe ($490 at entourageedge.com, ships next month), a unique e-reader with a pair of 10-inch screens that fold together like a handheld portfolio. The screen at left is an E Ink screen for publications; at right is an LCD screen with netbook functionality for surfing the web, sending e-mails and instant messages and playing music and videos.
Skiff (sold at Sprint stores, availability and price TBD), a magazine-size e-reader with a flexible 11.5-inch touchscreen designed specifically to showcase newspapers and magazines.
Sony's Daily Edition ($400 at sonystyle.com), notable for its 7-inch touchscreen, cell phone connectivity and the ability to play music and display e-books, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and more.
A number of other new tech toys also caught this Gadget Guy's eye at CES:
LG eXpo Projector Smartphone ($200 with service plan at att.com, $180 Pico projector available in spring) will feature an attachable Pico projector that projects pictures and video up to 60 inches away, in addition to the phone's 5 MP camera, 1 GB hard drive and slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Sony's Dash Personal Internet Viewer (available for $200 in April) is a WiFi-equipped desktop appliance that gives access to more than 1,500 free apps featuring content like news, weather, traffic, music and horoscopes.
Lenovo's Ideapad U1 Hybrid computer (available for under $1,000 this summer) is noteworthy for its detachable 11.6-inch LED multitouch screen, so you can use it as a 3.8-pound netbook or a handheld tablet computer.
Philips Activa audio player (available for $130 in April) is an MP3 player that features TempoMusic - a feature that matches songs in your music library to the pace of your activity - as well as charts your workout progress online.
Samsung's Ice Touch (release date and price TBD) is a 16 GB personal media player with a 2-inch AMOLED screen that's transparent, so you can control the unit from the back without blocking the view displayed on its unique screen.
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