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CES 2011

- Sunday, January 9, 2011

It’s time for my Sunday round-up of items in the news coverage of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.




   The big item this year is, as I predicted, tablet PCs. The hounds are loosed with the scent of Apple’s blood in the air. Let’s see how the various vendors fared.


   ASUS announced a line of 4 tablets, each targeted at a specific user type: Eee Pad MeMo, Eee Slate, Eee Pad Transformer, and Eee Pad Slider. The MeMo is a 7” Android tablet geared for mobile media but also equipped for productivity. The Slate EP121 is a 12” Windows tablet (the only Windows powered one in the line) with an Intel Core i5 CPU and similar specs as the laptop I’m writing this on. The Transformer is a 10” Android tablet powered by the nVidia Tegra2 processor with a QWERTY keyboard dock that also provides extra battery life. Finally, the Slider is essentially the Transformer but with an attached, slide-out keyboard for productivity. The ASUS line is my favorite for taking on the iPad, so long as Android 3.0 can deliver.


   Much like the latter ASUS tablet, Samsung’s Slider PC7 has a slide out QWERTY keyboard. It is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 CPU and runs Windows 7. With stiff tablet competition, I’m not impressed by Samsung’s decision to use Intel’s Atom line of CPUs, a choice that could hurt the device in the end. The slide out keyboard with touchpad looks cool, though.


   Dell showed off its Streak, a 7” tablet (10” business version coming soon)  equipped with TMobile 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, Android 2.2 (really? Why not 3.0?) and modest storage. It doesn’t look like a power player in the competition, but it does look like a nifty gadget.


   New Motorola spin off, Motorola Mobility, presented their Android-based tablet, the Motorola Xoom. The Xoom is a 10.1” Tegra2 powered tablet running the tablet PC-optimized Android 3.0-Honeycomb OS. It is equipped with a 5MP camera capable of 720p video recording, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 3G (later upgradeable to 4G LTE), modest storage, and a battery able to handle 10 hours of video playback, which it can do at 1080p. This sleek sweetheart is going to be a strong runner against the iPad and its competition. [engadget review]


   So who looked like the top dog of tablet OSes this year? My vote goes to Android. Vendors really seem to be pushing it ahead of its contemporaries.


Touch Mouse

   T-t-t-t-t-touuuch me… I wanna feel dirrrrty! This creature of the night immediately felt guilty at the thought of replacing my beloved Arc Mouse for the new Touch Mouse. The addition of gestures to a mouse is so seductive, though. Many basic window operations are programmed into the mouse. The MSRP right now is $79.99. This is steep for a non-gaming mouse, but not much more than the Arc Mouse on its release. I’m sure I’ll find a way to justify the cost. At the moment, it is labeled as (the gestures, anyway) Windows 7 only. However, I’m sure someone will hack up an open source driver to work in Linux and maybe even Windows Vista and Windows XP. [engadget unveiling] [engadget hands-on]


nVidia nVidia nVidia

   Everywhere was nVidia. From the dual core Tegra2 processor being in everything from smartphones and tablets to cars, to their partnership with ARM to bring ARM processors to the server and desktop markets, nVidia had their green hands in every pot.


But There’s More!

   Kenmore stole my heart with its smartphone and tablet connected appliances. Engadget provided a nice write up. Also, be sure not to pass up their annual Crapgadget barrage of junk.



   Well, that wraps it. All in all, it was a good CES. We’ll see how the year plays out with actual product releases and user experiences – hell knows last year’s CES-to-reality transition left me disappointed. I’m optimistic for this year to be better.


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