With thousands of new technologies jostling for
attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas, the choice for gadgets lovers is
By Jo Twist
BBC News technology reporter, in Las Vegas
Everything from strange exercise equipment which
requires the use of your entire body, to the largest
plasma screen in the world which towers at 102 inches (2.6 metre),
was on show.
The BBC News website highlights a small selection
of the products which caught the eye
as the tech fair packs up for another year.
KODAK EASYSHARE 1
This sleek, silver-encased camera reflects one of the main themes of this
year's show - the ability to share multimedia content
much more easily.
Kodak mix photos with wi-fi technology
It has wi-fi built into it so that once a picture has
been taken, it can be e-mailed anywhere without the
need for wires, a PC or any other device.
"This is built for women," said Kodak's Mary-Irene
Marek. "We researched women all around the world and
they told us they wanted a product that took good
pictures, but that was not a phone."
The emphasis on performance as well as design reflects
that changing stereotype that women just want their
gadgets to look pretty.
It opens up with a flip, not only to protect the
camera in a handbag, but also to provide a large,
three-inch LCD touch screen with a straightforward
It has a 3x optical zoom, and a four mega pixel image sensor,
256Mb in-built memory, an SD memory card, and three
hours' of battery life.
It also talks wirelessly with Kodak's printer dock,
and takes 30 frames a second worth of VGA video, which
can also be e-mailed wirelessly to others, or to
Kodak's online Easyshare service.
The camera comes out worldwide in June and won the G4tech prize in the digital
imaging category at the show.
PLANTRONICS SKYPE HEADSETSs
Skype, a service which allows people to make free or cheap phone calls over their broadband connection, is an example of a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service that has grown in popularity as more people get high-speed internet access.
Plantronics has designed the CS50 USB noise-cancelling headset to complement VoIP.
The headset has eight hours talk time and is just about to hit the shops.
"VoIP is a technology that is really coming into its own," said Plantronics' David Jones.
"It is moving into its pre-teen years in terms of acceptance. The quality and reliability has gone through the roof now."
"In audio technology, a key component is to have devices that convert from analogue to digital and back again to analogue. You also don't want an echo."
GARMIN STREETPILOT C330
Gadgets that work in
the car, whether they are fully integrated audio and
DVD/video systems, or simply the latest in handsfree
technology had a much greater emphasis at this year's
In-car navigation systems are increasingly popular
The car space is being seen as just as important for
technology as the living room.
But in-car GPS satellite systems are quickly improving
too and are growing in popularity.
Garmin's StreetPilot C330 has a built-in 2GB hard
drive and comes with thousands of pre-loaded and
The interface of the device looks very easy to use,
and has large colourful icons on a touch screen
Drivers select the category of place they want to
find, selecting the eating icon for example. It then
displays types of restaurants, such Chinese, which the
It then reads out the directions. The 3.5 inch display
also gives drivers 3D or birds'-eye view map options.
The C330 comes out in May in the UK.
CREATIVE ZEN MICRO PHOTO
Creative Labs' latest addition to its digital music family to rival Apple's iPod is a colour display version which can store photos.
Creative's media players rival the Apple iPod
It comes with 5GB of memory on board, and has an FM radio and voice recording.
It can store up to 6,000 images, uploaded via a USB connection, about 1,500 songs and has an easy-to use touch sensitive navigation system.
The difference between Creative's offering and Apple's photo iPod is the display. It has an OLED display instead of Apple iPod photo's TFT.
OLED gives sharper images,
which is important on what is quite a small display at
1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
Like its predecessor, the Creative Zen
Micro, the players come in an array of bold colours.
"The original inspiration for the design came from Asian porcelain bowls so you get this rounded shape," said Lisa O'Malley, Creative Zen brand manager.
The look and feel is a key aspect of the product, she said.
It comes out this summer and won the G4tech best in show in the digital music category.
MSI MEGA VIEW 566
PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER
Recent research by
the Consumer Electronics Association, organiser of
CES, has suggested that women make up 57% of the
consumer electronics market.
Video and fashion on the move
Women want good performance, no fuss, and stylish
design in their products, research suggests, and also
like to be able to personalise and customise their
gadgets to fit in with their lives.
"Women are an important customer of computers and
electronics today yet very few companies directly
address their needs head-on," said Rex Wong, MSI
MSI's Mega View, which made its fashion statement
debut at the show, is a lightweight Linux-based device
which plays and records in MPEG4 from any video
It also plays MP3/Windows Media music files and stores
It also plays DivX video and claims to be the first
portable media centre that is certified for the video
It comes with 20GB on-board, and has an SD card slot.
The display is a good-sized 3.5-inch (8.9 cm) TFT LCD.
The face plates can be removed and swapped from grey to pink,
red, and other colours.
It comes out in the UK at the
end of the first quarter of this year. It was a
finalist in the G4Tech video-to-go category.
SAMSUNG TX-R3079WH HDTV
High-definition TVs are fast becoming the must-have technologies in the living room, and with programming in the format fast catching up with demand, high-definition is set to transform how people watch the box.
Samsung have reduced the size of CRT TVs
In Europe, there is a lack of broadcasts in the format, as issues of standards start to be ironed out, but gaming in high-definition could well drive demand for the sets.
High-definition offers extremely high-quality, 3D-like images. But the sets, which are usually plasma LCD based, are still expensive.
Samsung though has developed a new technique to create high-definition CRT (cathode ray tube) sets which are a third thinner at the back end than conventional CRT sets.
This also means that the sets are about a third of the
price of plasma screens.
The CRT HDTV is aimed at people who are nervous of
spending so much on a technology, like plasma, that
has been criticised for "screen burn" - when a mark from a static image is left etched in the screen.
"People trust CRT technology and are comfortable with
it - many are still scared of plasma or LCD because of
screen burn. We are still educating the public
though," said Samsung's Genevieve Cosen.
The set is due out in June this year and was an
innovation in engineering and design award winner at
this year's show.