Five Favorites from CES

The buzz may have died down, but we’re still excited about all the new gadgets we saw on our recent visit to CES 2011 in Las Vegas:

1. One of our favorites was the Motorola Atrix—a pocket-sized dual-core computer that can be docked at an HDTV or a laptop shell. Oh, and it makes phone calls, too! Yes, this incredibly powerful smartphone has attracted a lot of interest, and its computing flexibility, in combination with increased reliance on cloud computing, is where we expect the market to head over the next couple years.

2. If you’re not quite ready to give up your desktop but are looking for something with a smaller footprint, we’d suggest you take a look at the Xi3, “the last computer you’ll ever need to buy.” It’s modular, so users can upgrade just the parts they want, eliminating the need to throw a computer out and buy a whole new machine just to stay current. Here’s a philosophical question for you, though: if you keep upgrading the machine piece by piece, over time, is it still the same computer?

3. Augmented glasses are also in: fashionistas and the paparazzi were on hand to witness Lady Gaga and Polaroid unveil the GL20, a pair of sunglasses with a built-in camera and display screens. Sports buffs, meanwhile, got to play with Recon Instruments’ goggles with a a built-in display that shows altitude, temperature, speed, and other real-time data. It’s not quite Terminator vision, but we’re well on our way.

4. Touchscreens are starting to touch back with new haptic technology from TeslaTouch. By varying the friction between the screen and your fingers, 2D objects feel like they have texture and weight. To see a demonstration and learn about how it works, you can check out this video, but unfortunately, a video can’t convey the feeling of, well, touch. We can already think of a lot of application where this would come in handy—keyboard feedback, braille—and we can’t wait to see what other clever developers can do with it.

5. Finally, the way you pay for all these fancy gadgets is about to change as well. Dynamics Inc. has developed interactive, programmable credit cards with more payment options and better security. By pushing a button on the card, for instance, you can choose to pay with reward points, or enter a code to ensure it’s really you racking up charges.

So if you’ve been counting, that was technically six favorites from CES, but with over 2,700 companies to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down. We’ll keep an eye on how these products and other trends develop over the year, and are counting down to CES 2012.

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