44th Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas
January 10, 2011
by Mark Ollig

In what has become the annual “Gadget Mania” main event for tech enthusiasts, the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is taking place as this column goes to press.

The CES started Jan. 6 and ended Jan. 9.

This year’s CES expected an estimated 130,000 industry professionals, who would be looking over some 2,700 individually showcased high-tech companys exhibits and computing wares.

The CES is not open to the general public and so, most of these companies and developers use the CES as the platform to showcase their new products to the press and media.

Those attending the trade show must be in the consumer electronics industry or invited members of the press and media.

Last year’s popular CES gadgets included 3D televisions and electronic book readers, or e-readers.

What gadget will dominate this year?

Well, with the popularity of Apple’s iPad, it should come as no surprise to all of us that smart flat-screened tablet computing devices will be seen on just about every other manufacturer’s exhibit table.

If you have ever attended an industry trade show convention, you will no doubt recall listening to the exhibit presenters (acting more as carnival barkers) doing their best to sway passers-by to come over to their booth and check out their wares.

They would even offer a free gift to put in your bag.

I can just hear those enthusiastic techie carnival barkers at the CES now.

“Step right up, ladies and gentleman! See our latest and greatest high-tech, game-changing computing tablet devices that’ll knock the socks off that old Apple iPad!”

By the way, over 14 million Apple iPads were sold in 2010, so it’s not much of a surprise manufacturers are jumping on the computing tablet bandwagon.

One such manufacturer, Motorola was scheduled to present their new computing tablet device at the CES.

This new tablet is said to feature video chat capabilities and a dual core 3D processor. Its operating system will be Google’s new Android version 2.4, which is called “Honeycomb.”

Research In Motion is another company introducing a new computing tablet device.

It is called the “BlackBerry Playbook.”

While the iPad supports a 9.7-inch display screen, the BlackBerry Playbook uses a smaller, 7-inch screen.

The BlackBerry Playbook uses 1GB of RAM – which is more than the iPad’s 256MB of installed RAM.

The BlackBerry Playbook produces high definition video in 1080p, and features support for Adobe Flash, front and rear-facing cameras, and face-to-face video chat.

High Definition television maker Vizio is also introducing a mobile computing device called the “Via Tablet,” which includes an 8-inch multi-touch screen.

Vizio is partnering with a company called OnLive, which is a cloud-based gaming system provider. Vizio will incorporate OnLive’s gaming service into their new Via Tablet.

Technology company Asustek Computer, which is known for its notebook and netbook computers, plans to introduce their new “E Slate E121” tablet computing device at CES.

The E Slate E121 is equipped with a 12-inch touch screen and has an Intel Core i5 processor running with the Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

It is rumored Asustek may reveal another computing tablet model at the CES.

Asustek also introduced a new gadget at the CES which allows you to operate your personal computer by using controlled hand gestures and body motions.

So, not only can we talk to our computers, we can browse through the Internet and maneuver around applications by using hand and body movements.

I sense some of my readers might find this way of interacting with their computer a bit comical.

This new gadget by Asustek is expected to be released to the general public later this year.

Lenovo is another computing developer and manufacturer which is set to introduce a consumer tablet computing device at this year’s CES.

Lenovo’s computing tablet is called the “LePad” and is reported to use the Google Android operating system.

MicroVision also demonstrated their “Mini-Tablet” at the CES, with an embedded “Pico projector,” which can display widescreen images of up to 100 diagonal inches.

My readers may remember the Bits & Bytes column from Nov. 5, 2007, where the topic of Pico projectors was discussed.

Other computing tablets also make their first public appearances at the 2011 CES.

Apple’s next iPad device is smartly called the “iPad 2,” and is expected to be released this April.

Famous celebrities attended the 2011 CES, including CNN’s talk-show host Larry King.

Two-time NBA Champion and NBA All-Star, Bill Walton, was also at the CES and signed autographs.

Celebrating their 40th year together, the popular musical group “Earth, Wind & Fire” also at the CES this year and performed live.

Be sure to read next week’s Bits & Bytes, as your ever-diligent columnist reviews in greater detail, the entertaining highs (and lows) of the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

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