This is part four of our “Best of CES” feature, which brings you what we found most interesting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
10. Powermat Wireless Induction Charging
The Palm Pre will come with a wireless induction charger, but that doesn’t mean other devices have to sit by at the sidelines. We saw the Powermat at CES, which charged a modified iPhone just by laying the device over the thin mat without the need to physically plug in any cords.
Such a device is just for a matter of convenience, but that’s point of most of our technologies. Imagine one day just setting down your bag or backpack and picking it back up hours later to have your cell phone, MP3 player and digital camera all fully charged!
9. LED Backlit LCD HDTVs
Sorry home theater addicts, unless it says Panasonic or Pioneer on it, plasma is on its way out. It was all about LCD this year at CES, and they looked better than ever. With the improvements in contrast ratio and black levels, the latest LCDs are making plasmas seem like heavy, power hungry beasts. Samsung’s upcoming 240 Hz Luxia models with LED backlighting are sets that we covet, and Sony’s jumped on the green wagon with its Eco Bravia. Holiday 2009 will have some truly amazing televisions.
Also check out Mitsubishi's LaserVue HDTV technology, which Tuan picked as one of his favorite CES 2009 demonstrations.
8. Clickfree USB Transformer
I’m terrible when it comes to backing up my data. It’s not that I have any sort of strong faith in my spinning magnetic storage either. If I were running an SSD, maybe it’d be different, but my lack of doing any sort of data back up is just down to sheer laziness. Enter the Clickfree USB Transformer, which will transform any USB storage device into a handy backup tool.
Best of all, it’s easy to use and it saves all the things I really care about – things that are irreplaceable such as photos and other media. I don’t need a full OS backup, as any Windows user knows, sometimes a clean slate is refreshing.
7. MSI Wind Netbox
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this product. In fact, it was revealed months ago but this was my first hands on with the product. Despite already being a fiend about running multi-monitor desktops, I still have a number of LCDs just sitting around doing nothing. With the MSI Wind Netbox, I could use all my extra monitors populate my kitchen, attic, bomb shelter and bathrooms with computers!
For those who are interested, MSI's Wind also makes the perfect hackintosh netbook. Apparently, using patched versions of Apple's OS X Leopard, all devices on the Wind are fully supported.
6. Asus Eee All-in-One Keyboard
As much as I really liked the MSI Wind Netbox (see above), Asus showed a prototype of something that could be even smarter. The Eee multimedia keyboard is basically an entire system built within a keyboard – a bit like a notebook computer but without the hinged display. This is another slick way of putting a computer on a desk while keeping the clutter down. Another bonus is that this could make a great, basic HTPC.
5. 17-inch MacBook Pro
Alright, so this wasn’t officially a CES thing, but it was revealed at Macworld just a day before the Las Vegas show started up. Personally, a 17-inch notebook is something that will never be my cup of tea, but the reason why it made my top 10 is because of all the conversations it stirred up with its built-in battery.
Even now, the debate still rages on about the pros and cons – the trade limitations imposed by not being able to freely replace the power cells but the liberation afforded by a 7 to 8 hour battery life.
4. Samsung’s 50-inch Multitouch Screen
With all the innovations in input methods and devices, it seems nothing is quite as intuitive as using our hands directly. The iPhone and Microsoft Surface are here today, and soon Samsung is joining the fray with its 50-inch multitouch screen demo at CES. It’s excellent for shuffling pictures around or using as a drawing board (should be a great educational tool). Then again, if I had a new 50-inch display on my wall, I wouldn’t want my fingerprints, let alone anyone else’s, smudged all over it. There’s always the touch-less, gesture-based Toshiba interface, but that just looks a little silly.
3. Palm Pre
I’m not alone when I say that I had considered Palm out of the running when it comes to attractive smartphones. The Treos had their day, but we now live in the age of iPhones and BlackBerrys – that is, until Palm said “move over,” and unveiled the Pre at CES. The Pre is evolutionary in concept and design, but it takes all the best things we love about the recent Net-powered mobiles and make them even better. So much thought and care went into the design of the Pre and its WebOS software that, in a single swoop, everyone is now playing catch-up. Sprint customers, you’re in for a treat.
2. Dell Adamo
I like pretty things. I like sleek things. The latest in notebook design incorporate both traits – just take a look at the VoodooPC Envy and the new MacBooks. Now it’s almost time for Dell’s entry, which we got to see for the first time at CES. Dubbed the Adamo, Dell’s form-conscious wafer notebook appears to take styling cues from the Envy while employing some of the aluminum manufacturing from Apple. We don’t know what it’ll run under the hood just yet, but it’s looking good on the outside.
1. Nvidia Ion
The Intel Atom isn’t a benchmark superstar, but it’s certainly a champion power miser. In netbooks, however, the Atom’s been unfortunately paired with disproportionately power-hungry and somewhat weak chipsets, somewhat taking away from the CPU’s lustre. If Nvidia could have its way, it would pair all Atom systems with its Ion platform, which makes use of the 9400M--found now in all the new unibody Apple MacBooks. Nvidia’s Ion would put the Intel Atom on steroids.