CES 2010: Picks and Pans

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Scene and Heard

CD Press Kits, Still? C'mon guys, we're out of the Noughties. CD-ROM press kits may be cheap to produce, but considering the volume of laptops--netbooks, all-day computing notebooks, and otherwise--that don't come with CD burners, it's fairly ludicrous for so many vendors to still hand out CDs, as opposed to USB flash memory drives. --Melissa J. Perenson

Is a Recycling Bin Too Much to Ask For? No wonder Greenpeace is ticked off. With all of the events and booths dedicated to green technologies, why couldn't the CEA provide more recycling stations? Garbage cans on the show floor were overflowing with Red Bull cans, soda bottles, and lots of paper plates that once held greasy convention food. --Ginny Mies

Stalking the Wild Gadget: One of the big press events (Digital Experience) went all out with a safari theme, including women in skimpy giraffe costumes and outrageous face and body makeup. Think Cats with spots and platform footwear. --Yardena Arar

Tablets, Slates, and E-Readers, Everywhere

Blame (or Thank) nVidia for the Tablet Craze: If you're already sick of hearing about tablets, you can blame nVidia's revamp of the Tegra Mobile processor technology. Tegra allows devices to be smaller and more power efficient by bundling multiple processor cores onto a single chip, and scaling their power consumption to fit the task at hand. There's a lot of promise here: 1080p content on a 3-pound device with all-day battery life will be sure to please any gadget-junkie. We'll just have to wait and see if the performance lives up to the hype. --Nate Ralph

E-Reader Done Right: I've seen a lot of e-readers lately, and in spending some quality time with Spring Designs' $349 Alex Reader, I came to appreciate much about the company's approach to e-readers. It doesn't have the biggest display, nor the most colorful one. But this Android-based device does have a highly usable and well-integrated LCD, and its ability to flow content browsed anywhere on the Web to the e-reader gives this model a unique edge over the competition. --Melissa J. Perenson

Actually, I Liked This One Better: E-readers were one of the hottest categories of the show this year, and the most compelling new model we've seen is the Plastic Logic Que. This 10.7-inch reader sports a capacitive-touch display that lets you gesture through page turns; it also downloads books from Barnes & Noble's e-book store. It will be available in April in a 4GB Wi-Fi version for $649, and an 8GB version with Wi-Fi and 3G for $799. --Robert Strohmeyer

Crushed by an Avalanche of E-Books: A slew of new e-book readers (including the much anticipated Plastic Logic Que and iRiver Story), plus Amazon's announcement of a global Kindle DX and the unveiling of Microsoft-centric Blio software for graphics-heavy content, were the major symptoms of e-book fever at CES. If the makers can get the prices down, e-books could really go mass market. --Yardena Arar

(For a slideshow summary of these Picks and Pans, see "The Best of CES 2010" and "The Biggest Bummers of CES 2010.")

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