Some of our colleagues from our sister sites are off to this year's 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, so we've asked them what creative, stylish and fun gadgets they're hoping to see there.
After the barrage of preshow product pitches and chats with industry insiders, our beat editors have a fairly good idea of what we'll encounter in the major product categories this week in Las Vegas. We asked each editor to summarize the major trends and key products they anticipate seeing in their product areas at CES.
Notebook and Desktop PCs
With Intel and nVidia providing vastly improved integrated graphics systems, you can expect machines to come to market that are capable of piping out high-definition video and audio with ease. And while the vaunted tablet design may not advance beyond the conceptual stage until mid- to late 2010, more netbooks and notebooks will sport touch-friendly displays, courtesy of Windows 7's support for multitouch.
The humble desktop is poised for a comeback, but gone are the days of the classic beige box. In 2009, new designs clambered into the mainstream and provided a much needed boost for the desktop's languishing image. Ultracompact netbooks like the Acer Aspire Revo R3610 bring the home-theater experience at a fraction of the size (and price), while all-in-ones like the Sony VAIO L117FX/B condense a traditional PC's components into a single, elegant shell.
We expect to get first looks at smaller, slimmer designs at CES, with the latest and greatest chipsets from Intel and nVidia inside the shell. Netbooks will offer improved media playback, whether you're streaming from Hulu or watching a film in Blu-ray format. All-in-ones will support the full breadth of Windows 7's multitouch and Aero offerings without being sluggish, skimping on features, or jolting buyers with sticker shock.
At last year's CES, we saw 3D displays from various companies, but they were mostly a novelty. This year, recent developments suggest that HDTV manufacturers are making a big 3D push. New 3D technologies, such as the upcoming HDMI 1.4 specification and the recently-approved Blu-ray 3D, are on the way. Both could help make 3D television more common. You'll need a 3D TV to get the most out of Blu-ray 3D, for example; and the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament will be broadcast in 3D.
Also, expect the shift toward refresh rates of 120Hz, 240Hz, and possibly higher to continue: LG demonstrated a 480Hz LCD prototype at last year's CES, so we might see some 480Hz HDTVs introduced at this year's show. Green and thin are also in, se we'll likely see an increase in the number of LCD TVs that use LEDs for backlighting. LED backlighting is more energy- and space-efficient than traditional fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting, and LEDs can allow for local dimming--that is, you can dim portions of the backlight to make dark areas of the TV's picture look darker--which permits higher contrast levels.