Day 1: Gadgets Gone Wild at CES

Media players with see-through screens, incredibly thin TVs, and tiny HD camcorders characterized the opening day of CES in Las Vegas.

Skiff Reader

E-Readers are proving to be all the rage at CES this year (from low-power color displays to super thin models) and we got to take a look at the preview version of the much-hyped, large format Skiff from Skiff LLC.

With an unannounced released date or price, the flexible Skiff will deliver content on Sprint's 3G network.

We found that the e-reader, which uses resistive touch, had better and faster reactions than the similarly sized Que from Plastic Logic (which is capacitive). Both are basically the size of a sheet of paper and are marketed at readers of traditional newspapers and magazines.

The Que will come to the market in April, retailing in two versions that cost $649 or $799.

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For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2010.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1

Amongst the new crop of pocket camcorders, the inch-thick Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 stands out for its impressive features.

With a flip-out LCD screen, it shoots 1920-by-1080 HD video and also takes 8-megapixel still photos. This truly thin-and-light camcorder is compatible with both SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

Starting in February, the Xacti VPC-CS1 will retail for $300.

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Samsung LED9000 3D HDTV

Samsung introduced their LED9000 HDTV, a 55-inch 3D display which is about as thick as a pencil (0.3 inches and includes support for the new Samsung Apps store, as well as a touchscreen remote with its own TV display.

Motorola Backflip

Meet the Backflip, Motorola's third Android phone coming out in Q1 2010.

What makes the Backflip stand out is the reverse flip QWERTY keyboard and touchpad behind the display. This clamshell phone with a twist lets you have more control over the viewing angle of your display while still having easy access to your keyboard. When you're holding the Backflip, your fingers fall naturally to the back of the display.

The Backflip also boasts a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, video capture, 32 GB of expandable memory, the full Android HTML browser and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. The phone runs on Android 1.5 with Motorola's cloud-based Motoblur user interface.

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Alienware m11x

The Alienware M11X is the laptop for gamers on the go, and it's not one of those 9lb desktop replacement monstrosities.

It's packing a Core 2 Duo processor, an 11.6-inch display, weighs about 4lbs, and best of all, runs Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at over 30fps on the highest settings thanks to a dual-GPU configuration that lets you switch between a low-energy integrated graphics chip for regular use and a high-performance GeForce 335M with 1GB of memory for gaming. The price? Under $1000 for a fully-loaded model.

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Palm Pre Plus

Palm announced the Palm Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus, vital updates to their flagship WebOS smartphones. Both handsets will be available exclusively from Verizon Wireless on January 25.

The Pre Plus comes with an inductive back battery cover so you can use the phone with the Touchstone charger out-of-the-box, as well as 16GB of internal memory (double the memory of the original). The Pixi Plus, meanwhile, gets Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning that Pre Plus and Pixi Plus owners alike can use their smartphones as a 3G Mobile Hotspot for up to five other devices.

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Samsung IceTouch Media Player

Making a dash for straight-up cool points, Samsung debuted gadgets -- such as a 14-inch prototype laptop and 16GB media player -- with transparent OLED screens.

The media player, dubbed the IceTouch, is due for release later this year, with no price announced. It comes in a white model, though it can be customized with separately-sold skins.

We may be a bit befuddled as to the functional purpose of see-through screens, but they sure do look neat.

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Olympus Stylus Tough 3000

The 12-megapixel Stylus Tough-3000 is the first of Olympus's rugged cameras to shoot 720p HD video; it also has a dedicated recording button and an HDMI port. The 3.6X wide-angle zoom lens ranges from 28mm to 102mm, bolstered by dual sensor-shift/digital image stabilization.

Like Olympus's previous Stylus Tough models, the Tough-3000 lets you operate the camera by tapping its sides. This is designed to facilitate use of the camera while the shooter is wearing gloves or swimming underwater. The Tough-3000 is rated to withstand usage down to 10 feet underwater, at temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and after drops of as much as 5 feet. The Stylus Tough-3000 is due in February for $230.

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Sprint Overdrive Wireless Router

Sprint unveiled its Overdrive wireless WiMax router, which can be used to link up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to its 3G or WiMax network.

The company announced that devices connected to the Wimax network will reach speeds roughly 10 times faster than 3G.

The portable device will cost $100 with a two-year service contract that costs $60 per month and is available starting January 10.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced plans to quadruple the number of people its Wimax network reaches, which is currently at 30 million people.

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Yahoo! Connected TV Widgets

Yahoo announced today that its Connected TV widgets will begin showing up on such devices as home media boxes, Blu-ray players, and cable and IPTV set top boxes.

The first non-TV device to carry Yahoo widgets is a new ViewSonic media server called the VMP80 that will ship with Yahoo Connected TV baked in. The product is aimed at people who already own non-connected HDTVs, and who want to quickly and inexpensively add a bunch of Web video content to their viewing choices. The VMP80 media player will ship in Q1 2010 for an estimated MSRP of $159.

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Panasonic HDC-HS60

Panasonic announced the HDC-HS60 alongside two other new HD camcorders this year (down from last year’s six), each equipped with Wide-Angle Lenses and Extended Zooms.

The HDC-HS60 features 120GB internal memory and is marketed at users new to HD shooting. All three are equipped with Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode (designed to prevent shooting errors), face recognition mode, and image stabilization technology.

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