With a record–setting 1.8 million net square feet of space (35 football fields) and 2 700 exhibitors, the 2007 International CES in Vegas is the world’s largest technology trade show. It is the ultimate show for anyone interested in consumer electronics, including television sets, car and home stereo systems, cell phones, still and video cameras, MP3 players and accessories, and much more.
While attending the CES, I got out my notepad and started to make out my birthday wish list, copies of which I will inconspicuously leave lying around the house. A theme of both my list and the show was the digitization of everything, and it’s clear that everything with a digital heartbeat will soon be connected, one way or another. So here are my 5 favorite new toys for 2007.
As everyone waited with baited breath, Apple introduced iPhone. This cool new toy combines three products—a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop–class email, web browsing, searching, and maps—into one small handheld device. At Macworld 2007 Steve Jobs announced that “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device—our fingers—and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”
The phone runs a version of Apple’s desktop operating system, OS X, and includes Widgets, Google Maps, the Safari browser, and iTunes with CoverFlow. Apple has partnered with Google and Yahoo to bring maps and email to the device, which is set for US release in June of 2007. The 4GB model will be priced at $499 and the 8GB model at $599 (US).
103–inch Panasonic 1080p plasma
If price were no object, I would certainly spring for the 103–inch Panasonic 1080p plasma, which will sell for around $70 000 (US) and can deliver more than two million pixels (1,920 x 1,080) of HDTV performance. Panasonic exhibited its prototype in grand style, with six 103–inch displays swiveling in sync at its booth.
Canon HV10 HD camcorder
A friend of mine had told me to have a look at the Canon HV10 HD camcorder. He had just purchased one for his family and was raving about its convenient size and superb picture quality. Well I wasn’t disappointed. Canon’s CMOS sensor delivers the best possible video in a compact and stylish package. Its 10x optical zoom lens and 2.96 megapixel CMOS image sensor ensure meticulous detail and superior color reproduction, all in an easy–to–use package. It sells for around $900 US.
NextGen Home Experience
The NextGen home is the coolest home ever. It showcases the latest developments in contemporary living, from advanced home connectivity to storm resistant construction, energy efficiency, and “green friendly” lifestyle enhancements. NextGen brings together technologies from Lifeware, HP, Windows Vista, and others. With one click of the remote, the lights fade down and the surround sound cranks up. Remote access to surveillance cameras lets you watch over the house while you’re away. Watch the news, check the markets and read email while moving from bedroom to kitchen to den. At night, the house turns off the lights and dials down the thermostat. This ConnectedLife Home system package, including installation, sells for $14 999 (US).
Alpine Blackbird: Fully Loaded Portable Navigation
The new Blackbird is loaded with a bevy of new and upgraded features, including a built–in hard drive for preloaded NAVTEQ map data of the United States and Canada (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). There are four intuitive map viewing options, including 3D mapping, 2D full map, split map and turn–by–turn arrow view. Its built–in Bluetooth module enables users to answer phone calls, dial out using the on–screen 12–key phone dial, and access call data via the Blackbird when connected to a Bluetooth–enabled mobile device.
A 90–day free trial of the NAVTEQ Traffic RDS tuner is also included, with continuously updated traffic flow, incident information, and re–routing capabilities in 50 major U.S. markets plus Toronto, Ontario. It’s $60 per year to subscribe. Blackbird also has information about points of interest, including restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, and can play back up to 4 GB of WMA/MP3 music files with its SD card slot. The FM modulator can transmit music and driving directions wirelessly to any FM car stereo, giving turn–by–turn vocal driving instructions that automatically recalculate if (or when) you miss a turn. I’m sure my wife thinks this is something I can really use—and at $499 (US), it’s not a bad deal either.
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