The CES 2009 Gadget Parade Begins

The 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show is now formally open, but we gathered this collection of innovative CES gadgets ahead of time for your viewing pleasure.

iGo Goes Green

iGo, best known for its multicharging gear for travelers, is going green with three new products--a surge protector, a wall outlet, and a notebook charger (shown above) that all stop drawing power once your device or notebook is charged.

LG Earbud Jewelry

This may look like a woman who's into big jewelry but it's actually a booth worker who was nice enough to wear LG Electronics's latest Bluetooth headset. It's not out on the market yet, so no pricing is available, but hey--it's definitely a different look for the Bluetooth earbud fashionista. LG is said to have additional phone-related jewelry in the works--specifically, a wristwatch.

Charge Wirelessly with Powermat Charging Mats

You can place up to six devices compatible with Powermat technology on a Powermat, and they will charge wirelessly. No plug-in needed. The company offers five different types of their thin mats, which contain a variety of receivers that connect to your device. The Powermat company claims that the device's magnetic induction technology will even allow users to sync iPods or transfer video at decent transfer rates.

Blaupunkt Internet Radio

Got a Bluetooth cell phone? Then you have the underpinnings for a Blaupunkt Internet Car Radio, expected to appear in the U.S. by midyear. Blaupunkt, a big name in car audio, is partnering with a firm called MiRoamer to let you stream content from thousands of Internet radio stations in what's being billed as the first in-dash unit to support this capability.

The radio will be offered in two configurations. The one shown here is the more expensive, estimated to run about 349 euros at launch overseas; a more conventional sized radio screen will run about 249 euros (U.S. pricing hasn't been determined). Both models will depend on a Bluetooth-to-cell phone hookup for the network connectivity to stream the content aggregated by MiRoamer.

Viable VPAD + Touchscreen Tablet

Think videophone/computing device for the hearing-impaired and you've got the Viable VPAD +, a touch-screen tablet with a range of connection and data input options (up to and including sign language interpreters). It's available now from Viable for $699, with no service charge from the company.

MSI U115 Laptop with Solid State Disk and Hard Drive

MSI claims that its MSI U115 Hybrid laptop is the first in the world to contain both a solid-state disk (SSD) and a conventional hard-disk drive. Among other uses, the company says you can temporarily shut down the SATA drive in what MSI calls ECO mode. This allows all data access and storage to be handled by the SSD, which MSI says can give you up to 12 hours of battery life.

Novint Falcon Game Bundles

The weird mechanical ball-like mouse replacement in the photo is the Novint Falcon, a game controller that adds the sensation of 3D touch to compatible virtual environments. The Falcon has been around for a couple of years, but at CES the company is unveiling bundles that include special Falcon-optimized editions of high-profile games such as Left 4 Dead, Half Life 2, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and others. The technology is amazing. I tried it out with a series of textures (ranging from hard textured cement to a sticky ball of molasses), and it indeed felt like I was touching everything.

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