With more than 2,700 companies displaying new products at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there’s a lot of competition for attention. While many are fighting for a coveted “Best of Show” nod, that label is too often given to products that simply have a “cool” factor but won’t necessarily have a lasting impact.
So as we’ve wandered the floor this year, we’ve kept our eyes open for items that can have a momentous impact on their market segments. Here are a few gadgets we think will move beyond novelty status.
By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 6 Jan 2011
There are lots of apps on TVs this year, but Vizio has an ace up its sleeve with the inclusion of streaming game service OnLive. Buyers of the company’s HD TVs and Blu-ray players can bypass getting an Xbox 360 or PS3 and still play AAA games whenever they want. It’s something that could revolutionize the video game industry – and the smart TV field. And, as an added bonus, the sets are among the most affordable on the market.
There are dozens of new phones on display this year, but the Optimus 2X stands out due to its status as the first to use nVidia’s Tegra 2 chip, a new Android-based smart phone brain that is built specifically to work with Flash and deliver the same functionality you’d get with a laptop. nVidia dubs it the first “super phone”. We’ll see if that name stands up in the coming months.
3D cameras and camcorders are making their big push into the market, but even the lower-priced models are running at $1,000 or more, which doesn’t remove the barrier to entry for most people. Sony’s handheld Bloggie 3D camcorder, though, will cost just $250 when it launches in April, which might be enough to get people to experiment with the new technology – and could finally usher in the home 3D era.
With more TVs becoming Internet-enabled, home networks are going to be put under pressure. Netgear, which helped usher in the concept of connecting the PCs in your home, is shifting its corporate focus to optimizing things for other devices now. This networking kit allows you to smoothly stream HD or even 3D content to up to 3 screens. It’s a big bet for the company, but one that should pay off as people get used to streaming content directly to their TV.
While some of the tablets at CES do have a wow factor, the looming launch of iPad 2 puts some of their fates in jeopardy – but not the Playbook. Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion announced at CES that a 4G version of the device is on the way to Sprint as it begins its marketing ramp towards launch. That will keep it in the sweet spot for RIM’s business customers.
All-in-one printers aren’t exactly sexy consumer tech, normally – but the Genesis not only has a unique look, it’s also one of the fastest scanners around. Images and documents are completely scanned in three seconds – and ink cartridges are cheap, too. It’s available now for $399.