Consumer Electronics Show: The top ten highlights

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David Phelan reports from Vegas on the latest gadgets revealed at the world’s largest electronics trade show

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was as massive as ever – 1.85 million square feet of booths and stands ranging from tiny ones for importers of cables to monolithic areas like Sony’s. Over 150,000 people traipsed round the 3,000 or so booths. To save your shoe leather, here are the ten best highlights…

Sony NSZ-GS7 Network Media Player

This small box uses the latest, slickest version of Google TV as its interface, to make streaming programming easy. It even lets you search online for movies featuring your favourite movie star that are scheduled soon or available to buy. What sets the Sony apart from other Google TV machines is the remote which has a touchscreen interface on one side and a full Qwerty keypad on the other which makes it easy to enter text. It also has a microphone for voice control.

Out in the summer, price to be confirmed.

Samsung OLED TV

The 9000 series is Samsung’s most deluxe range but this year it’ll reach stratospheric advancement. The 55in display is the first full-sized OLED screen (LG has one, too). OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) has superb contrast, exceptional sharpness and remarkably vivid colours. All in a display that’s less than 1cm thick. The catch, as you might have guessed, is the price. Noofficial announcement has been made, but I’d expect it to be around $10,000 or as much as £8,000.

Out later in the year.

Qualcomm

If you don’t know Qualcomm, that doesn’t mean you don’t use its products. The chips the company makes power many smartphones, for a start. It has also developed a technology called Mirasol which can be used in ebook readers to provide colour and movement without the pitfalls of backlit LCD screens. It helped create a product called Tagg the Pet Tracker which sends you a text or email if Fido wanders off, so you can track him via computer or smartphone. As always, Qualcomm is a company to watch.

Samsung Dual View

This is one of the many prototypes announced at CES and is very cool. It works with a special pair of 3D glasses. TVs showing 3D switch between images for the left and right eyes. The images are slightly different which gives the 3D effect. But if you’re transmitting two different programmes instead of two 3D views, and if the 3D glasses are effectively made of two left or two right lenses, it means one person can watch a movie while the other sees a sports game, say. Soundtracks come via earpieces on the glasses. It’s very clever and the picture quality was amazing, though not quite perfect yet.

No release date announced.

LG Blast Chiller

So, you’re ready to watch the big game on TV and you realise the beers you have every intention of drinking are warm. The Blast Chiller is a gadget that’s been available to professional kitchens for some time and it’s now to be built into a special section of this LG fridge. Jets of cold air in a swirling motion are used to lower the temperature fast. While it might take over half an hour in a regular fridge, here it takes less than five. Game on. Let’s hope it gets a UK release.

Sale date and price not known

Griffin Twenty audio amplifier

If you have a beloved pair of speakers that you’d love to use with your digital music collection on your computer or iPod, the Twenty is a great solution. It connects to Apple’s Airport Express wireless base station and your speakers. And after a painless, simple set-up your speakers are now AirPlay compatible so you can wirelessly stream music to them.

Available soon.

Sony Crystal LED

Another prototype, this is not another OLED screen. Sony was pretty tight-lipped about exactly what it is, but the model on show was bright, richly coloured and pin-sharp. No price was given, let alone a release date, but it’s quietly expected that this will be a lower-cost, eco-friendlier version of OLED. Let’s hope so.

Sony Xperia S

Since Sony bought Ericsson out of their joint phone company, it was only a matter of time before phones branded Sony were seen again. The Xperia S may be the first of these and is a large but comfy in the hand Android smartphone. It has a 12MP camera and its 4.3in screen has a super-high resolution. In fact it’s the first phone with a higher-resolution screen than the iPhone 4. It looks tremendous.

Available in March, price to be confirmed.

Smart TVs

Internet-connected TVs have been around for some time but they look like being big news this year. As well as Google TV mentioned above (and the unconfirmed Apple iTV which was emphatically not launched at CES as Apple never takes part) there are cool things coming. Samsung has a camera with wi-fi connection which can transmit the image you’ve just taken wirelessly to your computer or even direct to the TV. So Dad can snap Junior in the school play and seconds later Mum at home can see it.

Various manufacturers, later this year

Lumia 900

This is essentially the recently released and thoroughly excellent Nokia Lumia 800 on steroids with the 800’s 3.7in screen upgraded to 4.3ins and slightly slimmer profile. It includes an LTE radio, that is 4G, which we won’t see on this side of the pond for a year or more. But it’s a handsome phone with a lot going for it, so let’s hope a 3G-only version is released here.

Release and price to be confirmed.

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