Staying ahead of the game is what developing technology is all about and at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show; exhibitors did just that Jan. 5 to 8 by highlighting some of this year’s most anticipated and innovative designs in consumer electronics.
According to CES representatives, this year's CES attracted 150,000 and served as a global launch pad for 2,500 exhibitors.
Like any convention that has its “Best of” portion of an event, CES accomplishes drawing attention to its products by adding CNET’s Top 10 List every year. Although this list may not show up on The David Letterman Show, the choices weigh heavily in seeing what products consumers are going to be interested for that year. Take for instance the following:
Creative Zen Vision:M – iPod’s competition? Well, what makes this “creative” device stand apart is that its built with a brighter screen, better battery life and more features. In addition to a voice recorder and an FM tuner, the $330, 30GB Zen Vision:M supports a wide range of video formats, works with a growing number of online stores, and is compatible with subscription services. Named as CNET’s Best in Show pick for its winning design; any product that cares to take on the stylish iPod must be able to turn heads. Though it's thicker than the iPod, the Vision:M boasts a sturdy, comfortable feel, a rainbow of color choices, and glossy good looks, according to CNET.
Pioneer Inno – Since more than 5,000 of CES fans voted in CNET’s online poll, the clear choice was the Pioneer Inno. Formerly known as the airware, the Inno is a standalone player/recorder for XM Satellite Radio; it can record up to 50 hours of programming. Even better, the Inno can be used as a MP3 player. So there you have it. The fans have spoken!
Best of the Rest
If there's a speed setting beyond ludicrous, Nvidia may have found it with GEforce Quad SLI, its new 3D technology that puts four graphics chips in a desktop PC. Price and release date details remain elusive, but the promise of full-detail PC gaming at up to 2,560x1, 600 resolution is worth the wait.
The HL-S5679W is the first DLP-based rear-projection TV to eliminate the color wheel/lamp image engine used in current DLP models. Its single 1080p DLP chip is illuminated instead by a trio of three LED lamps, which result in better color fidelity and no "rainbow effects."
Belkin's cablefree USB hub, the first device we've seen with Freescale's Cable-Free USB technology, lets you put your printer where you want. Plug the small dongle on your PC, and it communicates wirelessly with USB devices that you have connected to the four-port hub across the room. The hub's faster than Bluetooth, cheaper than Wi-Fi, and cuts down on cable clutter.
Despite the multiple security threats to SOHO networks, many people fail to protect them. One culprit is the difficulty of doing so. The affordable D-Link securespot appliance makes the task easy. It's a snap to configure and change via a browser-based control panel that lets you monitor individual clients as well as the entire network.
Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology, which places two mobile processing cores on one chip, has the potential to deliver significantly better performance for laptops, especially with multitasking, and extended battery life.
The $330, 30GB Creative Labs Zen Vision:M represents the shining ray of hope for Windows Media devices. It has a stylish and intuitive design anchored by a stunning 2.5-inch screen; compatibility with a laundry list of audio, video, and photo formats (including subscription services); extras such as an FM tuner and voice recorder; and excellent A/V performance.
The Samsung ZX20 supports the 3.5G HSDPA networks emerging in the United States. Offering data speeds in the 1.8Mbps range, the ZX20 world phone also has Bluetooth, a mega pixel camera, and an MP3 player.
Several Blu-ray players were announced at the show, but Pioneer's stood above the rest in terms of concrete specs, features, and price. The BDP-HD1 ($1,800, May) costs almost four times as much as the $499 Toshiba HD-DVD player, but between the two formats, we pick Blu-ray to have the most staying power.
The AVIC-Z1 shows off the full potential of a car stereo head unit by combining multimedia playback with the most sophisticated navigation and full-blown Bluetooth cell phone integration.
The key component in any home theater system is the A/V receiver that ties it all together, and Denon's forthcoming AVR-2807 (due in March) looks well-positioned to deliver the best bang for your home theater buck in 2006. It has a winning combination of features at a very affordable $1,100 price: HDMI switching and 480p conversion of analog video, auto calibration, and XM compatibility.
Sanyo melds several of the hottest trends in video today in its Xacti HD1 camcorder: HD video, flash-media recording, and an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, all for a relatively reasonable price: $800. And unlike many of its similarly designed competitors, the HD1 sports a 10X zoom lens.
(Some information courtesy of Consumer Electronics Show and www.cnet.com)