This wasn't a very good year for technology trade shows. The economy had companies pulling out or lessening their presence, Apple announced they weren't going to be attending MacWorld, the biggest Apple tradeshow in the world and Bill Gates didn't open this years CES with his usual Microsoft keynote speech.
Not a good look. But shit kept moving. Companies still descended upon Las Vegas armed with the hottest consumer goods their R&D departments could conjure up. A lot of it was hot, a lot of it was not. We picked our 6 favorite products from the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show that you should be on the look for this year. Get ya paper up.
6. BEST CAMERA: Polaroid PoGo Camera
• What, you thought you weren't gonna see Polaroid again? Although they stopped making their legendary cameras, Polaroid kept trucking, releasing the Pogo portable photo printer that allows you to instantly print photo's from your camera or mobile phone. For '09 they've combined that Zink powered Pogo printer with a 7.0 MP camera that allows you to print out pictures right after you take 'em. It's a little bulky, but c'mon, it's a new age Polaroid.
5. BEST OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7
• Microsoft finally realized that no matter how many commercials you throw Seinfeld or Pharrell in, no one's gonna believe Vista is the best operating system on the market. They also realized that instead of trying to convince us to overlook Vista's flaws and use it anyway, they should just hit the lab and comeback with better product. It's called Windows 7, and though it's based on Vista's architecture, 7 shaves off some of the excess garbage and presents a complete but subtle overhaul of the user interface that, combined with an equally attractive machine, may be something Seinfeld and Pharrell may actually use.
4. BEST LAPTOPS: Sony Vaio P & Dell Adamo
• Remember when we said, Window's 7 would be great as long as it was paired with an equally attractive machine? This is that machine. Details are scant at the moment, but we're guessing there'll be an Intel Core 2 Duo somewhere underneath it's brushed aluminum casing.
• Sony is the king of the small ass laptop. They continue their reign with the P series. Not quite a Netbook and not quite a PDA. We're not sure what it is, or if we'd even buy ($900?!) or use one, but it looks sick. That's worth something, right?
3. BEST HDTV: Samsung Luxia
• Every year at CES, TV's seem to get thinner and thinner. Last year we saw the introduction of Sony's OLED 11'' monitors and this year the trend continued with a number of companies showing off their razor thin sets. Our favorite of this year's CES was the Samsung Luxia line that sports a profile like an Ashley twin, measuring a hair over 1'' thick. It also sports four HDMI ports so you can have everything hooked up, USB connections and Yahoo!'s widget technology so you can check the news, browse eBay and watch YouTube from your TV. Yahoo! also plans to introduce widgets that allow you to stream online TV shows and movies. You'll never have to leave your couch again.
2. BEST STANDARD: WHDI
• Everything's going wireless. Don't believe us? Check below and read about the Palm Pre's wireless charging! What you know about that? The hot new standard (a universally agreed upon technology. i.e. USB, DVD, WiFi) that was being touted at CES was WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface). WHDI allows you to stream a "high-quality, uncompressed wireless link which can support delivery of equivalent video data rates of up to 3Gbps (including uncompressed 1080p)." It can always travel through walls and go past 100 ft, so you can stream your high def content to multiple TV's in your crib.
1. BEST MOBILE HANDSET: Palm Pre
• Truth be told, we thought the iPhone would reign supreme as the hottest handheld on the market for a couple more years, but the Palm Pre has us looking for our AT&T receipts. Not only is it aesthetically stunning, the software powering the Pre, WebOs looks like a mix between HTC's touch flow and Mac OS X and is the most fluid, attractive, full featured, envy inducing system we've seen since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in '07. Combine that with a full QWERTY slide out keyboard, a full featured web browser, a 3-megapixel camera, wireless charging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 (with support for stereo Bluetooth), GPS, 8GB of storage, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and high-speed USB 2.0, and you pretty much have the mobile phone we've been waiting for since the StarTec dropped.