2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: Personal Electronics

Take a look at some of the most innovative tech of the year--and the most innovative tech of the near future. Here are the 2011 Personal Electronics Innovations honorees.

2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: Personal Electronics

The Consumer Electronics Association has been rewarding forward-thinking technology with its Innovations Design and Engineering Awards for 35 years, honoring hardware and software products that do things differently.

Here's a closer look at some of the 2011 honorees in the category of Personal Electronics, including computer hardware that was honored in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology category. There's even more where these winners came from: Visit the official 2011 CES Innovations Awards page for a complete list of winners in each of the 35 categories. Plus, see which products had the highest scores across the board in our CES 2011 Best of Innovations slideshow.

ZAGGmate With Keyboard

The iPad is an undeniably cool device. But some users began to have trouble when they wanted to use the tablet in typing-heavy situations, such as taking notes at a meeting. Another challenge is protecting Apple’s wonder of design from scratches, blemishes, and hard jolts. The ZAGGmate with keyboard ($100) handles both problems in a direct way: The accessory acts as both an add-on Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad and a protective metal shell for when the device is not in use. As the company points out, it does in one piece what the alternative does in three by providing a case, a keyboard, and a keyboard prop all in one package. Empty, the ZAGGmate looks like a metal tray with a keyboard at the bottom. You place the iPad face-down in the tray so that only the back of the iPad is exposed. When you prop up the iPad inside the shell, the keyboard sits flat at its base, making the whole thing resemble a laptop. You can prop up the iPad in landscape or portrait orientation, and adjust its pitch to ten different angles. The ZAGGmate is made of hard aluminum that matches the outside of the iPad, and it uses military-grade padding to protect the tablet. -- Mark Sullivan

Garmin Nuvi 3790T

As more and more location-aware products enter our lives, interest in single-function GPS devices seems to be waning. But the Garmin Nuvi 3790T makes a solid case for the stand-alone GPS device. For starters, the 3790T is a sleek-looking device with a multitouch display for easy interaction and a slim shape that makes it ideal for use in your car or just walking around. But the device is also feature-rich, with subscription-free traffic and navigation that even lets you know what lane you need to be in for your upcoming turns. In addition, the 3790T has a microphone that allows for hands-free navigation and lets it double as a Bluetooth mic for your cell phone. -- David Daw

Oakley HDO 3D Gascan

When I heard that sports-eyewear maker Oakley was going to start making 3D glasses, I thought to myself, "That's nice--I'll bet they're sticking generic 3D lenses in a set of stylish frames." Wrong! The company's new 3D Gascans are mostly about the quality of the optics. The company came up with its own technology for making high-quality 3D: curved lenses. (The cheapo glasses you use at the movies have really flat lenses.) And in a demo Oakley showed to me, its lenses were capable of presenting far crisper images than others. Oakley's lenses are for passive 3D systems, including most movie-theater 3D. -- Harry McCracken

Philips GoGear Muse MP4 Player

Distinguishing yourself in the music-player market these days is difficult, but the Philips GoGear Muse MP4 player manages admirably. The Muse offers great performance thanks to its on-board digital signal processor and Philips's TrueSound technology. The Muse also provides a touchscreen and an appealing user interface, along with the Philips Songbird app to make syncing music, photos, and movies with the device quick and easy. -- David Daw

Scosche Flipsync II

It's not uncommon for people to take their Apple Dock Connector to USB cables to work, or anywhere else they might spend a significant amount of time. Although that's great for keeping your iPhone charged, it also means you have one more cable cluttering up your precious desk space. Furthermore, cables are not the most travel-friendly of accessories, with their tendencies to tangle and get caught on things. The Scosche Flipsync solves the problem by taking the standard Apple USB 2.0 charge-and-sync cable and miniaturizing it into a keychain about the size of a car-alarm remote control. The USB plug and dock connector flip out of the plastic enclosure when you need them, and nicely fold away when you're finished. With these connectors on your keyring, you'll be able to charge your iPhone or iPod anytime you have access to a USB port. And with a $20 price tag, it's only a dollar more than the standard Apple cable. -- David Dahlquist

Powerstick PowerTrip

If you're looking for a powerful portable phone charger, nothing beats the Powerstick Powertrip. A fully charged PowerTrip can charge five BlackBerrys or iPhones without need for recharging. When you require a bit more juice, the PowerTrip provides plenty of options: In addition to power from a traditional wall socket, this device can charge via USB cable or even by solar power. It also has a built-in processor to ensure that it isn't giving more power than your phone needs. As if all that weren't enough, the PowerTrip has one more trick up its sleeve, offering up to 16GB of internal storage for backing up your phone's data. -- David Daw

Energizer Inductive Charger

It's starting to look like the wireless-charging future is finally arriving, and the Energizer Inductive Charger with Qi (the new wireless power standard) is one of the devices helping to bring wireless power to the masses. The inductive charger is really two devices: the thin and smart-looking wireless charging pad itself, and the Qi-enabling cases for BlackBerry or iPhone that let you charge up your handset wirelessly. Simply pop on the case and drop your phone on the charging station for fast, easy, wireless recharging. -- David Daw

Energizer Recharge Smart Charger

For a high-tech spin on a more traditional power option, try the Energizer Recharge Smart Charger. This handy device gives an unprecedented amount of information about your rechargable batteries. Just pop your batteries into the well-designed Recharge Smart case, and the built-in LCD screen will show not just a fuel gauge of how much charge your batteries have, but also a countdown of how many hours it will be until your batteries are back at full power. -- David Daw

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