Thursday, April 24, 2014
Consumer Electronic Products for 2012 PDF Print E-mail

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the technology industry's annual mega-convention, bringing together more than 140,000 attendees to Las Vegas to see the latest and greatest products, services, and applications for your smart-phones. Some of the most innovative products found at CES 2012 include:

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LG OLED TV

For years, the future of TV display technology was said to be OLED (organic light-emitting display) technology, which offers excellent performance (absolute black levels, ultra-fast panel and excellent viewing angles) without the need for back-lighting. The technology is already used in many cellphone displays, but--after years of teasing 24- and 30-inch models--both LG and Samsung came to CES 2012 with full-size 55-inch OLED TVs that they're pledging to release before the end of the year.

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Best Car Technology: QNX CAR 2 Mobile Apps Platform

Techies know that Canada's Research In Motion is hard at work upgrading the next generation of BlackBerry smart-phones to a new operating system known as QNX. What's less well known is that QNX is also being prepped for deployment to cars. At CES 2012, the QNX-powered dashboard showed wowed attendants with an innovative application of near field communication technology to instantly and automatically pair a Bluetooth smart-phone, Ultra HD voice technology that brings stereo CD quality audio to phone calls, and apps integration for both front and backseat passengers.

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Best Cell Phone: Nokia Lumia 900

The current market for smart-phones is dominated by Android phones and Apple's iPhone. But two experienced juggernauts have teamed up to take them on: Nokia and Microsoft. The Lumia 900 represents Nokia's return to the U.S. market, with a new super-phone running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system. If the gorgeous design isn't enough, there's a brilliant touch-screen display, support for 4G LTE, and a powerful camera.

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Best Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1

The big trend in cameras is the move towards so-called "interchangeable lens cameras," or ILCs, which generally offer much better quality than point-and-shoot and megazoom cameras, but in smaller and lighter form factors than dSLRs. Fujifilm is tossing its hat in the ring with the new X-Pro 1, its first mirror-less model. Targeted at professionals, the camera incorporates several innovations, including a promising new sensor with a color filter array and lovely hybrid viewfinder, all in a sleek retro design that builds on the company's earlier X100. 

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Best Emerging Tech product: MakerBot Replicator

Regular printers may be boring, but 3D printers are not. Not only can they be used to create new bones and military spiderbots, they can also be used to make figments of your imagination come to life. If you're thinking of getting your own, check out the newly-announced MakerBot Replicator. Sure, you can't print a car out with it, but it can at least make larger objects that its predecessor, the Thing-O-Matic. It can also use two colors at once.

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Best Home Theater Product: Simple.TV DVR/Video Streamer

The Simple.TV DVR might just be the next-big thing for cable-cutters. It's improbably a DVR without a built-in hard drive or video output, instead letting you supply your own hard drive, then stream live and recorded over-the-air TV to the Simple.TV app available on iPad, Roku, Boxee, Google TV. Simple.TV can stream your live and recorded over-the-air TV outside your home network (Slingbox-style), as long as you sign up for the $5/month premium service. Think of it like your own personal cloud-based video server for your over-the-air TV. Hands-on: Simple.TV might be the next big cord-cutting device

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Best Computer: HP Envy 14 Spectre

In the laptop realm, CES 2012 has been all about ultra-books, the thin, light, and supersleek Windows alternatives to the MacBook Air. The newly announced HP Spectre distinguished itself from the pack with an all-glass lid and palm rest. The glass is made with the same super-strong Gorilla Glass found in cell phone screens. At a CES devoid of many eye-popping laptops, the Spectre could be the most stylish of the bunch. Beats Audio is included on this premium ultra-book, along with an inset analog wheel for volume control, support for near-field communication (NFC), and HP Wireless Audio.

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Best software/App: Bluestacks for Windows

Windows 8 just got a kick in the apps via BlueStacks. The program, which will ship pre-installed on select Windows 8 machines, will bring the entire Android marketplace to Microsoft's nascent OS when it eventually ships (word is, that will be by the end of 2012). So when Windows 8 launches, more than 400,000 Android apps will be at your fingertips. Even better, BlueStacks is designed to be fully integrated into Windows' new "Metro" interface.

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Best Networking/Storage Product: D-Link Amplifi HD Media Router 3000 (DIR-857)

Wireless routers are backbone of any home network, but they're no longer limited to just converting your home broadband to Wi-Fi. The D-Link Amplifi HD Media Router 3000 DIR-857 is perhaps the best do-it-all. The DIR-857 will optimize online video (Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go) with blazing dual-band speeds and an "HD Fuel" feature which prioritizes video streams. Additionally, it's got USB 3.0 for optimal connections to connected devices (printers, storage) and the ability to access and manage via a web browser, iOS, or Android apps and direct access to Cloud.

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Best Tablet: Asus Memo 370T

The Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet upended the tablet market at the end of 2011 by offering "good enough" small-screen tablets for under $250. If the Asus Memo 370T is any indication, may see the list of caveats at that price point all but disappear. Powered by the new quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, the 7-inch Android 4.0 tablet proves that premium performance doesn't require a premium price. In spite of its low asking price, the Asus Memo 370T comes stocked with 1GB of system RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8 megapixel camera, HDMI output, and a 1280x800 resolution IPS (in-plane switching) screen.

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