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Top geeks speak out on the best tech of CES 2010

To help sort through the madness of CES, I interviewed some of the top thought leaders in the industry about the best products and trends at CES 2010.

To help sort through the craziness of CES I interviewed some of the top thought leaders in the industry about the best products and trends at CES 2010.

I asked all of them the same two questions:

  1. What was the most interesting new product you saw at CES?
  2. What is the most important tech trend you see gathering momentum coming out of CES?

Watch their responses in the following videos and read the highlights below.

Veronica Belmont (Host, Tekzilla)

Most interesting product: Copia E-reader and PlasticLogic QUE

Most important trend: 3D home theater

Harry McCracken (Editor, Technologizer)

Most interesting product: Skiff Reader

Most important trend: Alternative computing devices

Tom Merritt (Executive Editor, CNET)

Most interesting product: PlasticLogic QUE and Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Most important trend: 3D TV

Lance Ulanoff (Editor in Chief, PC Magazine)

Most interesting product: PlasticLogic QUE or the Skiff Reader or the Entourage Edge

Most important trend: 3D TV

Molly Wood (Executive Editor, CNET)

Most interesting product: Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Most important trend: 3D TV and E-readers

Dave Zatz (Editor, ZatzNotFunny)

Most interesting product: Lenovo IdeaPad U1 and Popcorn Popbox

Most important trend: E-readers and slate computers

Robert Scoble (Founder, Building43.com)

Most interesting product: 3D video games and the Google Nexus One

Most important trend: Car tech and the always-connected world

Leo Laporte (Founder, TWiT TV)

Most interesting product: Lenovo IdeaPad U1 and Pico projectors

Most important trend: Mobile computing + Web apps

See also: The five best products of CES 2010, for business users

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

39 comments
echerlin
echerlin

The products that will have the greatest impact on me and my work are the low-cost, sunlight readable Pixel Qi screens now coming into production. They will become standard in dozens of market segments as fast as they can be designed into new products. The first generation appeared in the OLPC XO education laptop. The commercial versions are even better.

georgeou
georgeou

I definitely agreed with what he was saying the most.

GDK in DFW
GDK in DFW

I just don't see 3D becoming that big a deal, but the cosumer electronic companies are needing another format / standards war to drive them to do anything innovative. 3D doesn't seem viable until you can screens / displays that make the experience feel fully immersive -- even 50 inch TVs still allow for "non-content" to get in the way of the experience -- furniture, pets, people, and the eyewear. But I really see many people getting over-saturated with entertainment content, and opting to forego it due to the amount of information content they are having to stay tethered to on a daily basis for work, family, hobby, finance, etc. -- and I just don't see 3D adding any "killer app" properties to the non-entertainment information delivery experience.

metaphysician
metaphysician

Just what we need - more incompatible ebook formats. I've been reading books on my Palm for years now, with its multiple formats. Now we are getting a bunch of new systems, some of them holding your purchases for you, so you can't save a copy off-line. Do any of these new whiz-bang readers read text files?

skee
skee

I hate to say it but Leo Laporte hit the nail on the trend to watch out for really...mobile apps on whatever device is the real game changer...3D TV is years away...you could really say the development of so many potentially usable mobile devices is what to watch out for. If Apple or IBM or 'insert next big invention' come up withe something that people will use then it will shake the PC world up dramatically. We are already seeing a huge increase in demand to be able to do more on the Blackberry platform, we just have to drag the business leaders into realizing they should pay for the development.

Zithrob
Zithrob

A couple of vendors apparently had laptops in production that had USB 3.0 (HP and ASUS). At more than double the speed of USB v2, v3 could provide a platform for greatly enhanced peripherals, external storage and connectivity.

Zithrob
Zithrob

Seemed like most of the stories in the media were about eReaders, with pricing ranging from $150 - $750. Market is still shaking out here. Tablets were talked about A LOT, but few examples. The schizophrenic Lenovo dual-OS tablet seems an odd solution to me - why do I need a second OS to use my laptop in tablet mode?

Zithrob
Zithrob

TV vendors are looking at continually disappearing margins as unit prices head below $600, and hoping for another rush similar to the last five years as tube TVs were replaced. Sorry guys, it doesn't enrich the viewing experience THAT much!

vikas.checker
vikas.checker

3D TV will give me easy view to my 3D components being created in China b4 I accept them to be shipped over to the US.

Phillip.Webster
Phillip.Webster

The technologies I have seen rely on the viewer using 3D glasses. I still think that this is a niche market feature that will not take off until a natural vision product is produced. The glasses do not work on people with an eye dominance issue.

thampton_z
thampton_z

I agree that 3D is only in the "fad" stage. I just purchased my first flat screen TV. Now that they are in a reasonably affordable universe for the masses - 3D is only a news story for some time.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Most consumers purchased HDTVs within the last few years and won't be willing to drop more money any time soon. Until the glasses go away, 3D won't gain any momentum. There's no 'trend' except the one of developing products there may not be a market for any time soon. Look at Blu-Ray; few are willing to replace their existing DVD players, and the Blu-Ray media are more expensive than DVDs. 3D sets and content will have the same issues. ESPN is supposed to have a 3D network by third quarter. Who do they think is going to be able to watch it?

Lab309
Lab309

Readability in sunlight (and low cost) might propel sales of these screens, but apparently the 10" demo has a 1024 x 600 pixel display. I'm not sure, but apparently a 4:3, 10in screen is 8 x 6 in., so about 100pel/in or so resolution (?). 10pt Times New Roman at at least 300 dpi I can read for a few hours, but reading these screens (Windows screen captures are 72dpi!) is too tiring. Sure, you can always blow the text up 300%. You could also have read an 80-character line on that 5in Osborne I screen with the same kind of creative scrolling. Any true 300dpi (or so) screens coming up?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

it can charge your phones and/or devices faster. The faster data rate for backups to USB drives is also nice, too, but I don't think we'll be doing as much of that in the future. Network backups are taking over, for both IT and consumers.

vikas.checker
vikas.checker

3D TV will give me easy view to my 3D components being created in China b4 I accept them to be shipped over to the US.

paulb
paulb

I have a lazy left eye. That means I have very limited vision in that eye. I never go to 3D movies where you have to wear those coloured 3D glasses as it does not work for me. The same for 3D books like medical anatomy books where you have the glasses in the back. I still see the coloured photographs as if I wasn't wearing the glasses. Perhaps one day when they invent 3D hologram type TVs where one can walk around the screen and see the movie from all angles, then you will have a true 3D scenario.

rkendsley
rkendsley

I agree that 3D TV is not something the masses are clamoring for, but this might be something the gamers want to see more of. Whether that market can sustain the 3D TV manufacturers remains to be seen. As far as 3D, they should keep it at the theater to create a unique experience and make going to the movies more of a draw. Much like color movies were before wide spread adoption of color TVs.

BaapidMakwa
BaapidMakwa

Who would really want to watch it? It's bad enough with the now-old trend to hand-held cameras, and scene transitions designed to remind you the camera operator can't hold steady while scratching his backside. Now we get to do it in 3D. Goodbye, Home Theatre! Hello, Home Vomitorium!

nriddle
nriddle

Wait and see is how I feel about 3D tv now. The technology is old but it seems like the global marketing machines are just hopping on the bandwagon. With Avatar being the 'landmark' as 3D is being pushed out to us, I have a feeling that this is a true marketing scheme that is being implemented. To what degree it is successful, we'll wait and see. Even as ESPN pushes it out with World Cup game and other tournaments, you should be able to see what consumers they are targeting and let's face it. It's not the brightest bunch. While I'm not dazzled by it, I'd bet that its going to become prevalent based solely on the marketing being done for it and the market that it appeals to. We'll see..

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

The economics totally argue against it. Most people are just getting converted over to HD (or are still getting converted over) in many cases. Plus, the 3D TV experience just isn't that impressive. I don't think people will see it at a store or at a friend's house and think "I gotta get that." Instead, I think most people will think, "Wow, I'm not really missing much." Once the video is up, you'll hear the skepticism of 3D from several of these commentators as well.

boweb
boweb

Absolutely the next thing. First we are going to get laser TV for even higher resolutions and contrast and other practical uses. Like the Pico. But 3D TV in HD( obviously) is the next step. Without glasses that is. Real life pictures with depth view is what the market is developing to. There are already TV/PC monitors available to watch 3D without glasses. That is, if the media is made for it. But even then, software has been developed to transform already made pictures into 3D ready media. It will be an exiting development for the market the next few years. Al these old (Home)movies in 3D..

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

>Network backups are taking over, for both IT and consumers. Having realized that my little home system will benefit from NAS more than USB/Firewire drives, I am in the process of setting it up. USB is too doggoned CPU intensive. Intel loves the fact that it encourages consumers to buy a new 'puter with a faster CPU.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you're not looking at these with existing video technologies, why do you think you'll start doing it with 3D? You can do pre-shipment inspection now.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

3D should be a theater exclusive to put asses in seats and boost ticket sales? I mean, seriously. Who would want to see a fuzzy Avatar 3D on shakey cam footage when you can get the real experience only in the movies. This is coming from an average movie viewer who only goes to the theatre and drops $11 on a ticket when it's really worth it. Consumers just don't care about 3D TV. It will be to television as Blu-Ray is to DVD. All Blu-Ray can offer is higher-definition DVD. This is the law of diminishing returns in action. Just look at the leap that DVD was over VHS. Look at the leap HD televison is over SD--especially if you're a gamer. I moved a few months ago and my plasma is still in storage. I refuse to hook up my X360 to a SD television in the meantime. I digressed a bit, but this just goes to show that the difference has to be noticable and compelling to make consumers take notice en masse. Like Blu-Ray, 3D will be an even less popular niche with only hardcore techies that hang out at the AV Forums in their spare time.

boweb
boweb

We went to see Avatar in 3D, but I must say that I was a bit disappointed by it. The cinema in our area showed it with 3D glasses. Which I found to small to look through, also these glasses removed a lot of color from the movie because of the tinted glasses. Though it was en nice experience, it was seriously lacking on picture quality and viewing comfort. Completely transparent( and no color loss) glasses would have been a lot better, no glasses even better. But thats to morrow.

BaapidMakwa
BaapidMakwa

Remember the first time you saw an HD TV in a store. Early on, it seemed only a handful of high-end video stores put demo material on the HD sets that would convince anyone. For a while, it seemed that only the Discovery Channel would bother, and in-store video distribution systems remained pathetically bad. With more HD content available, including broadcast channels, that has changed. Still, until I spent some time watching true HD, with content that exploited the capabilities (NFL football is one example), HDTV was not very impressive. The same thing happened with stereo TV, 25 years ago. Still, I can't think of a lot of things that would compell me to don glasses for home 3D viewing. Except, perhaps, a Creature from the Black Lagoon marathon.

boweb
boweb

..what you call 3D. If you mean 3D with glasses, streamed to your set through the cable, then I suppose it will be an fad. Though an nice one, not very revolutionary in technology. 'Real' 3D TV without glasses, not an projection system but an 'standard model' flat screen, would be something to like an to miss. To miss like HD and BlueRay if you don't have it yet. Maybe an more correct term would be something in the line of 'Effect TV' with suggested 3D effects.. The technology is there for that kind of products.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

It's just a hassle. YOu need special glasses and there are few movies that use this technology. I would not pay extra for it.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

A buddy of mine who lives in Korea said he saw a pocket device that was multi-touch and had the "3D without glasses" effect. He said it felt like you were looking in to it like it was a deep container except it was flat like an iPhone. This product is not availble for purchase yet anywhere but he said that the 3D TVs are already on sale in Korea. This technology will be huge and I am excited to see all the different applications for it.

tbostwick
tbostwick

After the wrap and eventual war between HD DVD and BluRay - the technology with 3D is only going to be accepted by a few. Wherein the picture quality is superb with BluRay compared to regular DVD - the difference with the element of 3D is that it's not everyone's cup of tea. Most folks either hate it or love it, end of story. The software and technique needed to convert a movie to 3D are expensive, and easily done wrong (ask James Cameron). Also, we've gone from regular TV sets, to flat panel - first plasma, then LCD, and now LED.... Just don't see many folks dropping the coin on yet another set for their home - esp. when you consider they've bought a new set within the last 2 years and now have to "buy something new to replace it" - which is a concept with electronics that has about run it's course.

boweb
boweb

Matte black plastic glasses with tinted lenses. Mirrored on the outside. Seems you gotten a better deal over there.

minithumbs
minithumbs

the ones I got here in Australia where clear big and round lenses

snideley59
snideley59

What about those of us that already wear glasses for things like...vision? I'm not going to be all that interested in a technology that requires Pinnochio's nose to hold on to all the corrective devices

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That's why I disagree with those 'top geeks' who see it as a trend for 2010, especially in regards to consumer electronics.

jk2001
jk2001

It wasn't a big deal. The main thing "stereo" brought to TVs were audio output jacks. When the audio was connected to an amp and a pair of decent speakers, everything sounded better. It wasn't stereo per-se that made things sound better. It was the speakers. Likewise, this big boom in HDTV isn't really about the image resolution - though that matters. It's about flat screens. Old CRTs that got above 30 inches were huge. They weren't going to fit in small houses or apartments. They weighed a lot, and required two people to carry the thing. Now, with flat televisions, you can sell a 40 inch television, and someone can carry it to the car. 30-something inchers are sold right off the store shelf. If image quality were the issue, people would be complaining about these low-res channels with crappy video, but they're not. They're happy that there are more channels. They're basically watching video that looks worse than old TV, on really nice TVs that really show off the flaws, and they seem happy with it.

boweb
boweb

I think you are overreacting a bit. If the intention is to be perfection, then maybe. To make it a viable product, not really. There is an difference between converting and adding. Rename the adding process to converting. And we have conversion. Its all in the interpretation. . We can be sure that the manufacturer's are not looking for perfect items, but rather perfect products. 3DTV, as presented on CES2010, is far from perfect. Not that we lack the skills to make them. There just is no need to produce them yet.

KiloWatt1975
KiloWatt1975

Converting IS a big deal, when you would want to convert to 3D. I can do stereo rendering now, and you would need a Cray to make converting everything over to 3D economical, software, plus several years. It is hard enough now to get SD old movies converted/scaled to HD. Heck, even the broadcasters are bulking over on this side of the pond, to buy HD gear, where the EU has had WScrn signals for what, 15 years? If wishes were horses.

boweb
boweb

..is for most of use not clear. I suppose 'real 3D' home systems, where you can walk around the image, is not something for the next 5 years. HDTV with depth view will be. And could be called 3DTV more then the demo on CES 2010 which is unpractical but an fun addition. Probably the reason they presented it this way. To be unpractical but fun for now and leave other technology's to be marketed and exploited first. Remove the glasses and obviously you have an killer product. The difference is converting movies with depth view isn't that big of deal. We are not talking about converting it to real 3D, but rather add depth view, which adds to the resolution and the experience of the picture.

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