SAN FRANCISCO - Oh, what the iPad hath wrought.
As predicted, tablet mania ensued at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. At least 75 were introduced at the annual Las Vegas gadget extravaganza. The tablet with the most buzz was Motorola Mobility’s XOOM. It’s the first tablet to run on Google’s (GOOG - news - people) highly anticipated Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system.
XOOM, which is expected to launch in the first quarter, supports Flash for easy and fast video viewing and includes 3G wireless access that can be upgraded to 4G LTE. Motorola’s tablet also has a 10.1-inch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras, a camcorder and Nvidia (NVDA - news - people) Tegra dual-core processor.
In spite of the tablet avalanche, a number of other gizmos and technologies were able to rise above the din and capture attention. The Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft’s (MSFT - news - people) Surface, the next generation of the software giant’s table-top computer, wowed the CES crowd. True, it might be the world’s biggest iPad, but it’s still impressive, boasting a 40-inch HD 1080p touch-screen for optimal Web surfing and info sharing, and the top is coated with Corning’s ( GLW - news - people ) rugged Gorilla glass. Samsung SUR40 also has something called PixelSense, technology that gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras,” Microsoft says. Uh huh.
Samsung SUR40, however, is aimed at businesses, not consumers. Fujifilm ( FUJI - news - people ), Red Bull, Royal Bank of Canada ( RY - news - people ) and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Worldwide are some of the companies that will take delivery of the table-top computer later this year.
Motorola scored more buzz at CES from its Atrix 4G smartphone. Moto touted it as the most powerful new smartphone this year, and it’s the first dual core processor phone from AT&T. It also runs on the Android operating system, supports HTML5, can view HD video and show any email attachment. And when you dock the phone, it turns into a small laptop.
In the TV arena Toshiba ( TOSBF.PK - news - people ) made a huge splash with its ginormous 3-D TVs that don’t require consumers to wear special glasses to watch. Glasses-free TVs were introduced at last year’s CES on small screens, but Toshiba raised the bar this year and demoed the technology on 56-inch and 65-inch screens.
There are only a few spots in front of the TV where the effect works, though. Toshiba’s glasses-free TVs are expected to go on sale in North America in fiscal 2011.
LG, on the other hand, boasted that it has the world’s slimmest OLED TV at just 2.9 millimeters thick. It has a 31-inch screen with a full-HD 1920-by-1080 display. The picture quality is gorgeous, but not as much as the device itself.
Let’s not forget about cameras. For all you Cyber-shot fans (like me), Sony ( SNE - news - people ) unveiled a new line that shoots in 3-D. The Cyber-shot DSC-WX10/B model comes with 16.2-megapixel, 7x optical zoom, 2.8-inch screen, full HD 1080/60i video, background defocus, manual control, 3D Sweep Panorama. It’s expected to go on sale in March and cost $280.
And it wouldn’t be CES without a slew of seriously quirky gadgets. For instance, nPower PEG, from a company called Tremont Electric, is a gizmo that generates electricity as you walk and move around, and can then charge up myriad devices. This is how Tremont describes nPower Peg on its website: “Place the PEG in your backpack, briefcase or handbag, and walk. As you move the nPower® PEG harvests and stores the kinetic energy that you’re already generating and converts it into usable power for recharging over 3,000 handheld devices, such as your cellphone, MP3 player or camera.” NPower PEG costs $159.99.
Tech savvy hip hop artists also hawked their wares at the show. Ludacris unveiled a new line of headphones that promises to “deliver deep bass without sacrificing clarity.” And for all you in-the-shower singers, rapper T-Pain rolled out a microphone, called I Am T-Pain Mic, that auto-tunes your voice. The mic will retail for $40.