The best of CES 2010

From genuine 3D technology to slick new e-readers, these products are the best of the crop from this year's show.

  • Revolutionary Car Tech

    Ford's upcoming [[xref:|MyFord Touch dashboard|MyFord Touch dashboard]] has proven one thing: The auto giant has realized that cars needn't lag woefully behind the rest of the technology world. MyFord, which will appear in the 2011 Ford Edge, can connect to the Internet with a USB modem, play gobs of media, and, in the future, let you operate mobile apps from the dashboard or by voice. It could be the greatest in-car innovation since the auxiliary port. --Jared Newman
  • Sony (Finally!) Says Hello to SD Cards

    Do you believe in miracles? Proprietary-format-happy Sony [[xref:|finally adopted SD/SDHC cards|Is It the End of the Road for Memory Stick? Hope So!]] as the storage in its point-and-shoot cameras. To be fair, Sony's Memory Stick format does predate the SD Card format, but SD/SDHC cards are practically an industry standard. And if you still have a bunch of Memory Stick cards lying around, don't worry: The new Cyber-shot cameras have a card slot that supports both SD/SDHC and Memory Stick. --Tim Moynihan
  • Boxee Gets Boxed

    D-Link is the first vendor to come out with a [[xref:|dedicated piece of hardware|D-Link and Boxee Unveil Boxee Box]] for the lauded Boxee home media management software. The box is oddly shaped, but it won't take up much space when it sits next to a TV. It streams Internet video and connects wirelessly to your computer, so it can play back media files, such as music, photos, and video, on your TV. You get Boxee's cool user interface, as well as a long list of supported file formats; you can play virtually any kind of video on it. The Boxee Box will be available for US$199 in the second quarter of this year. --Mark Sullivan
  • Putting the Lap Back in Laptops

    [[xref:|Logitech's Speaker Lapdesk N700|Logitech's Speaker Lapdesk N700]] solves two common notebook problems--overheating and crappy audio. Just set a notebook on this heat-dissipating pad and connect the two via USB to power a fan that blows cool air through the pad's ventilated surface; the same cable also channels audio output to the N700's built-in speakers. It's due next month, priced at US$80. --Yardena Arar
  • The Best Windows Mobile Phone Yet

    Since the [[xref:|HTC HD2|HTC HD2]] launched in Europe and Asia, the blogosphere has been buzzing about whether it would launch stateside. What's so hot about this smartphone? It has a superslim design, a 4.3-inch display, and a powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It is by far the best Windows Mobile phone we've ever seen, and one of the best of the show. The HD2 will land on T-Mobile this spring. --Ginny Mies
  • A Media Streamer in Zen Clothing

    It's called the Pebble and it looks like a polished rock, but its heritage is pure geek. D-Link's newest media streamer lets you play video, still photos, and music from your home network or connected devices--and it can even show feeds from a networked security camera. It's due out by midyear, with a suggested retail price of US$120. --Yardena Arar
  • Double Displays

    Multitouch displays emerged on all sorts of devices at CES this year, but MSI raised the bar by putting multiple multitouch screens on one netbook. [[xref:|MSI's dual-display Windows 7-based netbook|MSI's dual-display Windows 7-based netbook]] prototype isn't yet in production, and no possible release dates or prices have been announced. But with 7-inch and 10-inch versions letting you drag, swipe, and tap across two screens at once, these keyboardless folding tablets are a killer combination of compact portability and large-screen usability. --Robert Strohmeyer
  • Intel Cuts the Cord

    Intel's [[xref:|Wireless Display|Wireless Display Intel]] is exactly what it sounds like--a laptop equipped with the technology to connect to your TV at the push of a button, giving you much more screen real estate without the need to futz with wires. But there's no magic here, since the laptop is actually streaming to an adapter connected to your TV. One caveat: Streaming is unprotected, so it doesn't yet support protected content such as Blu-rays and DVDs. Dell, Sony, and Toshiba will be releasing laptops featuring the technology on January 17. --Nate Ralph
  • Behind the Tablet Craze

    If you're already sick of [[xref:|hearing about tablets|Tablets Steal the Show at CES]], you can blame nVidia's revamp of the [[xref:|Tegra Mobile processor technology|Tegra Mobile processor technology]]. Tegra allows devices to be smaller and more power efficient by bundling multiple processor cores onto a single chip, and scaling their power consumption to fit the task at hand. There's a lot of promise here: 1080p content on a 3-pound device with all-day battery life will be sure to please any gadget-junkie. We'll just have to wait and see if the performance lives up to the hype. --Nate Ralph
  • Skylight Smartbook

    The [[xref:|Lenovo Skylight|Lenovo Skylight]] is the company's first entry into the emerging smartbook category, and the device looks promising. It weighs a mere 1.95 pounds, offers 10 hours of battery life, and has Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The 10-inch screen sports an HD-friendly 1280 by 720 resolution, and the keyboard is pure Lenovo: comfortable, responsive, full-size excellence. The Skylight will start shipping in April for US$499; subsidized prices from carriers like AT&T have yet to be announced. --Nate Ralph
  • Budget-Busting Camcorder

    Panasonic's [[xref:|Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder|Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder]] is a professional-level 3D camcorder that records video from each of its lenses to SDHC cards. If you have $21,000 handy, you should definitely pick one up in the fall; for the price, Panasonic will custom-build the camcorder to your liking. --Tim Moynihan
  • A Mighty Mini

    The business-oriented [[xref:|HP Mini 5102|HP Mini 5102]] builds on the company's netbook lineup by adding a capacitive-multitouch display that makes flipping though documents or managing images more intuitive on such a small PC. It comes in AMD and Intel versions starting at US$399, and offers options for 3G and WiMax connectivity as well. --Robert Strohmeyer
  • Full-Featured Pocket Megazooms

    Sony's 10X-optical-zoom [[xref:|Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V|Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V]] shoots 1080i video and offers GPS capabilities, a digital compass, a revamped Sweep Panorama mode, and wireless file sharing via TransferJet. Casio's 10X-optical-zoom EX-FH100 has [[xref:|a rapid-fire mode|Casio Adds High-Speed Shooting to Pocket Megazoom Camera]] that snaps 40 shots per second and shoots RAW-format images. And Samsung's [[xref:|7X-optical-zoom CL80|7X-optical-zoom CL80]] has an AMOLED touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an innovative design. --Tim Moynihan
  • Old-School Gaming, Anywhere

    Here's my nerdy secret: On long flights, I've been known to bust out a wired Xbox 360 controller and play classic video games on my laptop. Ion's US$20 GoPad makes more sense; this NES-like controller folds into a palm-size cube and has a retractable USB cable. --Jared Newman
  • A Really Hot Hotspot

    Sprint's [[xref:|Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot|Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot]] by Sierra Wireless is the first dual-mode mobile hotspot. This elegant little device connects to either Sprint's 3G network or Clearwire's 4G WiMAX network (now in 27 cities; 80 by 2011), and then connects up to five other devices via Wi-Fi. These devices can include an iPod Touch running Skype for voice, or a laptop streaming video wirelessly from sites like Hulu. The Overdrive isn't the first mobile hotspot on the market (see the MiFi 2200 from Novatel), but it is the first one to connect to major 3G and 4G networks. The device is available January 10 for US$100. --Mark Sullivan
  • The Best of CES

    The staff of PC World (US) braved bedbugs, bad PR people, long taxi lines, and greasy convention-center food, all to find the hottest new gadgets and gear.

    Here's the best of their week at CES.

    To see more, read "[[xref:,186506/article.html|CES 2010: Picks and Pans|CES 2010: Picks and Pans]]." And, while you're at it, peruse the [[xref:|Worst of CES|Worst of CES]].
  • E-Reader Done Right

    I've seen a lot of e-readers lately, and in spending some quality time with [[xref:|Spring Designs' US$349 Alex Reader|Spring Designs' $349 Alex Reader]], I came to appreciate much about the company's approach to e-readers. It doesn't have the biggest display, nor the most colorful one. But this Android-based device does have a highly usable and well-integrated LCD, and its ability to flow content browsed anywhere on the Web to the e-reader gives this model a unique edge over the competition. --Melissa J. Perenson
  • A Set-Top Box That Pops

    Syabas, makers of the Popcorn Hour network video player, recently unveiled the Popbox. This new home media player features 20 media partners, including Blip.TV (for video content), Twitter (for social viewing), and Clicker (for locating premium video from all over the Internet). Lots of these network video players are showing up now, but Popbox seems to have perfected the interface: It's nice to look at, intuitive, and easily searchable, which is more than I can say for some other entrants in this market. Popbox is expected to be available in March for US$129. --Mark Sullivan
  • Another Excellent E-Reader

    E-readers were one of the hottest categories of the show this year, and the most compelling new model we've seen is the [[xref:|Plastic Logic Que|Plastic Logic Que]]. This 10.7-inch reader sports a capacitive-touch display that lets you gesture through page turns; it also downloads books from Barnes & Noble's e-book store. It will be available in April in a 4GB Wi-Fi version for US$649, and an 8GB version with Wi-Fi and 3G for $799. --Robert Strohmeyer
  • The 3D Revolution Is Here

    I don't think it's a false start this time: The 3D-product plans for the coming year represent the initial salvos of the [[xref:|coming 3D revolution|HDTV 2010: Get Ready for 3D, More LEDs, OLEDS, Pixels, and Web Services]]. Panasonic's 3D demos were among the most convincing. But the best implementation I saw, unfortunately, is one that won't be coming to market anytime soon: Sony showed its 24.5-inch 3D OLED HDTV as a technology demo only. --Melissa J. Perenson
  • The Need for Speed

    For data speed demons, USB 3.0--announced by a slew of vendors--is shaping up as a promising connection interface. Our early tests of [[xref:|Western Digital's new My Book 3.0|Western Digital's new My Book 3.0]] revealed a desktop hard drive with plenty of performance mojo. While WD's first USB 3.0 product is a desktop 3.5-inch drive, I'm personally looking forward to Seagate's Black Armor PS110, a portable 2.5-inch drive; over an actual USB 3.0 port, such as that announced on some HP models, this drive can run, unpowered, at faster speeds than its USB 2.0 cousins. --Melissa J. Perenson
  • Big-Screen Skype

    LG and Panasonic both announced Skype support for [[xref:|their connected HDTVs|Panasonic Promises 3D Plasma HDTVs by Summer, Adds Skype Support]] (equipped with Webcam accessories). We can look forward to video chat with our loved ones in big-screen 1080p, which could mean the end of calling in underwear and PJs. --Yardena Arar
  • A Boxee Box Alternative: Your PC

    Imation's yet-unnamed Wireless USB shark fin plugs into your LCD television via HDMI, grabbing audio and video from your computer at 15MB per second. Just plug in the included USB dongle, and you'll be flying with 720p video from up to 30 feet away. The price will be less than US$199 in March. I like it, but I'd like it a lot more if TV makers would bundle or integrate it. --Jared Newman
  • An Avalanche of E-Books

    A slew of new e-book readers (including the much anticipated Plastic Logic Que and iRiver Story), plus Amazon's announcement of a global Kindle DX and the unveiling of Microsoft-centric [[xref:|Blio software|Blio software]] for graphics-heavy content, were the major symptoms of e-book fever at CES. If the makers can get the prices down, e-books could really go mass market. --Yardena Arar
  • Internet Radio Revived

    Internet radio has been around for a few years now, but British company Pure has put an innovative twist on it with the [[xref:|Sensia|Sensia]]. With a colorful touch interface, a stylish design, and an endless library of stations from all over the world, the Sensia is one of the most entertaining gadgets I saw at the show. --Ginny Mies
  • A Pocket-Size Printer

    Slim and unobtrusive, Pandigital's Portable Printer is the first to use the Zink zero-ink technology to print images on 4-by-6-inch paper. I liked its size; but more important, the image quality appears to be a vast improvement over that of the [[xref:|early Zink printers|Printing without ink]] that produced wallet-size photos. My test prints looked surprisingly good. --Melissa J. Perenson
  • Stalking the Wild Gadget

    One of the big press events (Digital Experience) went all out with a safari theme, including women in skimpy giraffe costumes and outrageous face and body makeup. Think Cats with spots and platform footwear. --Yardena Arar
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