By Simon Munk
First up, the Sony Headman: a Tron-like visor that runs 3-D movies directly into your eyes at 720p high definition -- which, among other things, dispenses with the problem of having a giant 3-D TV dominating your living room.
|The Japanese company also announced the Flip-obliterating MHS-FS3/B Sony Bloggie 3-D HD Camera, the world’s first high-def, 3-D pocket camcorder. Sony’s final offering was, admittedly, a gogglebox -- but it’s one that you don’t need to wear dumb glasses for. The company showed a prototype with a 23-inch, OLED, autostereoscopic and glasses-free 3-D display from an overlaid lens on top of the screen.
|The other CES 2011 3-D hit was the JVC GS-TD1, the world’s first consumer camcorder with Full HD 1080p 3-D recording. It also comes with 5x optical zoom in 3-D, optical image stabilization, and a glasses-free 3-D LCD screen to check shots on. A finger poking out of the screen at us would not have impressed us more.
While you’re staring at your smarter TV, why not talk to it (or maybe even wink at it) as well? Microsoft used CES to announce Avatar Kinect, an upcoming upgrade to its full-body motion-sensing Xbox 360 peripheral. The spring upgrade will see the Kinect camera able to track not only waving limbs, but also facial expressions by mapping your face onto your virtual avatar’s. Raise an eyebrow at your virtual friends over that one.
Undoubtedly the biggest news of CES 2011 was what was missing: the Apple iPad 2. A shell of one was supposedly spotted, but Steve Jobs’ about-to-be-announced product was not officially in the hizzouse. What was? Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series, featuring a tilt-and-slide-away keyboard that allows the PC to transform from netbook to tablet in seconds. So was the MOTOROLA XOOM: the world’s first tablet with a dual-core processor and Android 3.0 software. Super-powerful -- and probably super-pricey too.
|No More PC Upgrades
Intel used CES to announce the next generation of its core processor, dubbed “Sandy Bridge.” Awful nickname, but legendary game designer Gabe Newell of Valve Software (“Half-Life,” “Left 4 Dead,” “Team Fortress,” etc.) described the chipset as allowing a “console-like experience on the PC.” Commentators have taken that to mean that the combination of graphics and a central processor is so powerful it’ll put a stop to the endless cycle of graphics/processor upgrades required for cutting-edge hardcore games.
Hyperspeed-data-browsing 4G phones were all over CES 2011 (Verizon’s LTE network press conference was a big ticket), but there’s another reason souped-up handsets are big news this year: dual-core processors. It’s not just PCs getting a chip-boost; the LG Optimus 2X is the world’s first dual-core smartphone (hotly followed by the Motorola Atrix).
|Also on the cell phone tip: the Casio Bluetooth Low Energy Watch. Sure, watches that wirelessly link to your phone, display emails, etc., are old news -- but not ones with battery lives that are measured in years rather than days.|
Weird Music Kit
Other crazy music kit included the MISA Kitara, a stringless guitar with a touchscreen at its heart, and the Ion Audio Vertical Vinyl -- a wall-mounted turntable, natch. More serious kit came in from respected Brit speaker-makers Bowers & Wilkins in the form of the new Zeppelin Air: the most stylish iPod dock ever, now to come with Apple AirPlay wireless streaming capabilities.
|Lady Gaga appeared at CES 2011 to launch not music kit, but a pair of sunglasses as out-there as the “Fame Monster” herself. The first result of her collaboration with Polaroid’s Grey Label line, the GL20 shades incorporate a camera and LCD screens that face outward, allowing the wearer to shoot what he sees -- and instantly display the results to the world.|
All CES Event Images: Getty Images
MHS-FS3/B Sony Bloggie 3-D HD Camera: Sony.com
Simon Munk is an award-winning journalist that specializes in consumer technology, video games and outdoor-product coverage for men. He's written for Stuff and Blender magazines and was launch editor in chief of Stuff Gamer. Simon's articles have previously appeared on Style and Tech for Men.
QUIET KEYBOARD This wireless rechargeable keyboard won’t make a sound no matter how hard you whack at the keys. Although the diNovo Edge might frustrate your attempts to show off your tireless work ethic to the boss, you can surf Internet dating sites all night without tipping off your girlfriend.
MULTILINGUAL MARVEL Expensive enough to require valet parking, the Optimus Maximus keyboard displays letters and control icons with a light-emitting OLED. It’s customizable for multitasking in multiple codes and languages -- including Cyrillic, ancient Greek, Arabic and HTML -- or for more ambitious activities like video gaming.
LASER SHOW No bigger than a cigarette lighter, the Celluon Virtual Keyboard connects to your computer using a USB dongle and emits an awesome laser-generated keyboard and mouse that allows you to work virtually -- and connect with your inner Obi Wan Kenobi.
BACK TO THE FUTURE Drawing from last century’s gilded sensibilities, this custom, retro-futuristic keyboard will make your desktop worthy of H.G. Wells’ office space. “The Marquis” keyboard has acanthus-leaf engraving on polished brass and key lettering engraved on a mirrored gold acrylic. It’ll make you the envy of any century.
LIGHT FINGER FOLLIES Every time you touch its keys, the Luxeed U7 lights up like the Las Vegas strip -- bringing a little bit of Studio 54 to your dancing fingers. Make sure they dress sharply and get their names on the list -- this is one exclusive keyboard!
PURE LUXURY: BENTLEY MULSANNE The new Bentley Mulsanne's unrivaled pedigree stands out from the pack with an ultra-smooth and more-than-capable 505 hp, 6.8-liter V8 engine that glides from 0 to 62 mph in 5.3 whisper-quiet seconds. As befits its luxury status, the car can be completely customized to taste with over 1 billion possible variations, according Bentley Motors.
STANDOUT CONVERTIBLE: MORGAN AERO 8 Although its production recently ceased, this classically styled roadster is still one of the most fun, head-turning vehicles to roam the highways. While completely hand-built with more than 100 years of heritage packed into the coachwork, its BMW 4.4-liter V8 pumps out 312 hp -- moving this homage to yesteryear from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Tiny Tower seems like a simple, if not silly, game. But that's how it gets you addicted. The premise, like SimCity, is to build your own world -- in this case a tower. The more floors you build, the more money you can make to spend on building more floors ... and the hook is set.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
How many passwords do you have to remember? Thanks to 1Password, you can keep all of your security codes safe and secure on your smartphone. All you have to do is remember one four-digit code and a master passcode, and the info is encrypted and backed up on your computer.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Yes, the camera on the iPhone 4S is better than previous incarnations. But besides flash and zoom, it leaves us a little cold. Turn your 4S into a virtual DSLR with all the bells and whistles you get with said device, plus all the features you’d expect from a smartphone, such as visual filters.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Even if you were born in the CD era, chances are you remember mixed tapes. Bring them into the digital age with the app that turns your digital music player into a virtual portable cassette deck that blasts loaded playlists and helps you create the perfect mix to play and then share on Facebook.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Didn't you hear? The end of the world is happening on Dec. 21, 2012. Skeptical? Then check out this app, which explores all the coincidences between the Mayan prediction and what science says. At the very least you'll be prepared to handle the impending end of time.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
The premise of KaleidaCam is simple: Turn your iPhone's camera into a kaleidoscope. You can adjust the trippy-ness of the created image by choosing one of four to 10 slides. It leads to hours of mindless fun for the whole family. You can even take pictures of your creations and send them to Facebook and Twitter.Platforms: iPhone
This mobile app puts Thrillist reviews in the palm of your hand so you can be the guy who knows the coolest places to eat, drink and shop. Using your device's GPS function, it'll tell you the top places to spend your time and money in more than 19 cities. You'll never have a boring night again.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android
'Tis the season for holiday parties, full of finger foods, drinks and treats. This app will track your weight well into the new year so you can stop the festivities from settling around your waist. Just log your bites, licks and tastes, and the food database will calculate the calories you've consumed. Then log your workouts to determine how many calories you burned.Platforms: iPhone, iPad
If you thrive on new music, this is a must-have app. Band of the Day introduces you to an artist that you need to know about every day. You get a bio, a song to listen to, a stream of Facebook/Twitter comments about the artist, videos to view and a list of albums that you can buy, right from the app.Platforms: iPhone
Think of this app as your secret weapon to achieving culinary nirvana. It puts all of the advice from the well-respected epicurean website of the same name in the palm of your hand. We love the seasonal options on the home screen that help make sure your feasts are weather-appropriate.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Nook, Windows Phone
Finding a new place to hang your hat just got a whole lot easier, thanks to the new Trulia mobile app. The clean design of the interface makes it a snap to search homes to rent or to buy Features include sort by price, search by location, and email real estate agents directly.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
The latest incarnation of the Bloons game franchise gets the smart-phone makeover, and it is still as addictive as ever. The objective remains the same: prevent balloons from getting from one part of the maze to the other using your arsenal of dart monkeys, rockets, battleships and other WMDs.Platforms: iPhone, iPad
The latest army of food carts has turned most city streets into a mobile gourmet road show. But how do you know when your favorite Korean BBQ truck will be by your office? Using Google maps and your iPhone's GPS, StreetEats lets you track your favorite carts and see which ones are in your immediate area and how long they'll be there.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
With all of the news available to us, it's hard to cut through the noise and get what you're looking for. Editions by AOL is an app that curates a custom, easy-to-navigate daily newsmagazine based on your interests, location, Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The more you use the app, the more highly customized it becomes.Platforms: iPad
Sick of the same old vodka martinis? Not sure what to do with that bottle of amaretto? InMyBar's simple interface lets you plug in all the booze you have in your liquor cabinet. Then, the app creates a list of all the cocktails you can make, or it lets you know what remaining ingredients you need in order to make a specific drink.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Music nerds, welcome to heaven. This app tracks music blogs and culls their favorite tunes from the Web, then lets you create your dream radio station. The genre section alone offers more than 100 options -- perfect for deep dives into your particular mood. You can even track what your friends are listening to.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Watch your favorite music videos in HD with VEVO HD, which features 45,000 videos, including intimate performances by your favorite artists; a music map showing which videos people are listening to in your area; artist tour information; and ticket-buying capabilities.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Meeting a lovely lady is now as easy as whipping out your ... cell phone. Blendr collects your favorite interests and then helps match you up with female companions who live in your area and have similar interests. Browse photos, check in to venues and even chat with folks from your own neighborhood.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
How often do you upgrade your cell phone?
|Gear + Gadgets||Entertainment + Leisure||Style||Looking Sharp Blog||The Top 11||Instant Answers|