Best Products of CES 2009: Let Us Introduce You

From robots to new ways to share TV to Palm's hot Pre phone to colorful camcorders, we've scoured Las Vegas for the best of the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show.

Prime Time for Pocket Camcorders

Not only did major manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic introduce their first pocketable video rivals to the Flip Mino HD and Flip Mino at CES 2009, but other big-name companies upped the ante with their next-generation pocket camcorders. For example, RCA announced its latest model--the slender, 720p high-def Small Wonder EZ209HD--priced at just $120. But the weather-resistant, 720p high-def-recording Kodak Zx1 (shown above) may be the new mini-camcorder to beat, especially if it lives up to the performance of its Zi6 predecessor.

The Zx1 feels solid in the hand, lets you choose from a range of case colors, comes with two rechargeable AA batteries and an HDMI cable, and stores video footage on a user-supplied SD or SDHC card. It will be available in April for the very nice price of $150. --Tim Moynihan

Visit our collection of car tech shown this week at CES. Looking for more gadgets and gizmos? Here is some show-stopping tech we spotted.

Full PC World Coverage of CES 2009

Yahoo's Widget Magic

Yahoo takes a compelling shot at marrying TV content to Web content with its newly announced Connected TV Widgets platform. The Yahoo mini-apps install on Internet-connected TVs, and they can bring everything from YouTube videos to eBay content to your living-room TV. --Mark Sullivan

New Breed of Web-Ready Video Phones

Two impressive touch-screen VoIP video phones that can also browse the Web and play back music, photos, and movie files debuted at this year's CES. We'll be watching (and hoping) for the U.S. launches of the iRiver Wave-Home (pictured) and the Google Android-powered Touch Revolution NIMble Home Phones, the latter developed by the product design leader responsible for the first iPhone's touch screen. --Danny Allen

Undoing the Damage of Compression

Turning music into MP3 files diminishes its sound quality by flattening out its dynamic range. But the IHome iP1 ($299, due out in May), an iPod dock boombox, seemingly restores your MP3 files to their original glory as it plays them. --Edward N. Albro

3D Gaming Comin' Atcha

The new $199 nVidia GeForce 3D Vision Glasses Kit might succeed where many others have failed in the ongoing effort to bring 3D gaming into the PC mainstream. Though you'll need a fancy new 120-Hz monitor, HDTV, or projector, the goggles already support a large number of games and work with any 8800 GT graphics card or better. --Danny Allen

Palm's New Web OS

Perhaps the most talked-about announcement at CES 2009 was Palm's Pre smart phone with Web OS. According to Palm, you can access just about anything on the phone with a flick of the finger. We can't wait to get our hands on it. --Ginny Mies

Asus Pulls a Keyboard out of Its Hat

Asus's Eee Keyboard media PC concept was one of the most unexpected surprises at CES 2009. It combines familiar Intel-based netbook specs, wireless HDMI, and a 5-inch touch screen that can show the full Windows XP desktop. It could launch by year's end, running Windows 7, rumor has it. The setup is almost like a Commodore 64 on steroids. --Danny Allen

Racing for Rich Chickens

The Simcraft Apex SC830 race car simulator moves just like an actual race car: Turn to the left, and the car pitches in that direction. Slam on the brakes, and you’re thrown forward. (Check out our video of the Apex in action.) The Simcraft is just like real racing, except that you won’t get plastered onto a wall at 175 mph. Okay, it costs $40,000, but a guy can dream, right? --Edward N. Albro

A Truly Open Video and Music Manager

Boxee is a free, open-source project capable of running on Intel-based Macs, Apple TV, and Linux systems (and soon on Windows PCs). Connect the box to your television, and you'll have access to Netflix, CNN, YouTube, Hulu,, Shoutcast, and many other sources of video and audio content. You'll also see content recommendations from friends who use Boxee. --Edward N. Albro

Cool Mobile Music Apps From FlyCast and Slacker

I saw a lot of my favorite mobile music apps expanding across platforms. Most notably Slacker exhibited a personalized radio app for the BlackBerry, and FlyCast's streaming Internet radio app (shown above) now supports Android OS. --Ginny Mies

Un Poquito Pico Projector

Pico projectors are often thought of as business accessories, but Samsung Mobile's MBP200 Pico Projector includes features suitable for both work and play. The MBP200 has a music and video player, a generous 2.2-inch screen, and external speakers, plus support for Microsoft Office and PDF formats for display. --Ginny Mies

Battle of the Flat-Screen Bonanzas--Samsung Wins!

Sharp's wall of flat-screen TVs has been a signature feature of its CES booth ever since the company's Aquos line took off years ago. But this year Samsung, parked right next door, took the prize for sheer hugeness. Keep it up, guys; it's all good for us spectators. --Yardena Arar

Kodak's Wii-like Theatre HD Player

Anyone looking for an affordable, dead-simple way to stream photos, videos, and music from a PC to an HDTV should check out the Kodak Theatre HD Player set-top box. Hook up the box to your TV, place an install CD in your PC, and start basking in multimedia content, including Web access to Flickr photosets, YouTube videos, Internet radio stations, and customizable home-screen feeds for weather, news, and sports. Everything is accessible via a well-designed, motion-detecting, Nintendo Wii-like remote.

Kodak's Theatre HD Player costs just $300, and it includes an MMC slot for saving photos directly to your PC across a home network. Setup looks to be a breeze, and the remote control is flat-out fun. --Tim Moynihan

I'll Take "CES 2009" for $200, Alex.

Syndicators of Jeopardy filmed 11 episodes of the game show at CES 2009. (The episodes will air sometime in March.) Except when episodes were being taped, CES attendees could walk into the studio in the convention hall and have a look at the set. --Nick Mediati

Team TV Viewing

Monsoon makes a video place-shifting device similar to the Slingbox, which it calls the Hava. This year, the company has upped the ante by enabling Hava users to see what their Monsoon-using friends around the world are watching, and to tune in if they like. --Mark Sullivan

Invasion of the TV Snatchers?

A group of zombified TVs invaded CES on Thursday morning to protest the lack of effective recycling and takeback programs from HDTV manufacturers. These zombies, members of the Electronics Takeback Coalition, were quickly escorted out of the convention hall. No word on whether they found any human brains to consume while on the showroom floor. --Nick Mediati

Video Sharing Through Muvee's Shwup

Muvee, an online video-editing service, is rolling out a new "social video" Web site called Shwup where Muvee users can form groups and share their video and slide-show creations. The movies and slide shows move in time to the music track you put behind it. Pretty cool. --Mark Sullivan

Short Circuit's Number Five Is Alive--Sort Of

At a media event showcasing its wares, chip maker Via put its embedded processors to a clever use, using a chip set to drive a replica of Johnny Five, the robot that stars in the 1980s film Short Circuit. --Nick Mediati

More Slide Shows:

For a look at the products we think missed the mark at CES 2009.

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