Monday, January 10, 2011

CES 2011? Third World Nerd's picks

I'm seriously underwhelmed by this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Every year, it's a wonderland of crazy futuristic gear, full of robots and unbelievable tech. This year, things were looking very…safe. And no robots reached the headlines. With the exception of a couple of gizmos at the end of this post, I was quite disappointed. But we still have some great tech to look forward to. Here are my picks!

Asus Eee stuff

The Asus Eee Slider and Transformer

The future of the netbook looks like this. And it's adorable. Asus released a bunch of new Eee PCs: the Slider, the Transformer and the Pad Memo. These are actually more Tablet PCs (they run Android on an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor) than netbooks, but, hey, who's counting?

What's this? There's a fansite already!

Sony 3D kitchen sink
The 3D Bloggie is the one on the left, if you have to ask

Sony is really throwing its (considerable) weight behind 3D. It was almost as if every announcement they made had 3D in it. More 3D TVs than tech journalists could count, 3D cameras, 3D video cameras, 3D laptops -- we get it already! Special mention has to go the 3D Bloggie, which is a -- you guessed it -- 3D version of the Flip-like Bloggie video camera. This looks like something I might buy.

No Microsoft tablet OS

Microsoft showed off a bunch of nice stuff, but I can't get over the fact that they didn't announce anything about a tablet OS. Windows 7 Tablets, yes. Surface, yes. But a tablet OS that can go toe to toe with Android and iOS? Nope. Hmmm… Windows 7 will have to do for now...

Samsung 9 Series
Like the MacBook Air, but sexier. Is this the Galaxy S all over again?

Samsung went all engineer on us, as usual, with the world's thinnest this and that, TVs with super thin bezels, blah blah. All very impressive achievements, but nothing that made the nerd in me drool -- except for this baby. It's called the Samsung 9 Series laptop and it somehow manages to out-Air the MacBook Air.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds stuff 

The Olympus E-PL2. My camera is now obsolete, dammit.
It was all about Micro Four Thirds for Olympus, with a new E-P2, a new E-PL2 and accessories for both. The accessories are welcome additions to the line as are the new Micro Four Thirds bodies. Truth be told, the new cameras have small improvements that aren't that big a deal. Good to have, but not a big deal. For me, the camera that stole the show was the Olympus XZ-1. It's a fixed lens camera with a large-ish non-Four Thirds sensor, but the wow is delivered by its super bright f/1.8-f/2.5 Zuiko zoom lens. Such a bright lens on a compact is unheard of. This camera should take some great photos!
If I were to buy a compact camera, this would be it.

Razer Switchblade

Please make it real, Razer!

The gadget of the show has to be this one, the Razer Switchblade. It's a tiny little gaming PC that runs Windows 7. The little keypad at the bottom has keys that can customize themselves according to what you're playing, changing from, say, a QWERTY keyboard to a World of Warcraft control scheme, or a shooter control scheme. Genius! And as the Switchblade is a Windows 7 PC, it will be able to connect to a USB mouse or any other USB thingamabob that works with PCs.

At this point, the Switchblade is still a concept product, so there's no telling if and when it will ever see the light of day. But based on the strong consumer and industry response, I think we may actually see this little dreamboat become real.

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