CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
Gaming LCDs, color lasers make peripherals news at CES 2005
By Elsa Wenzel
(January 11, 2004)
As expected, the peripherals previews at CES stopped short of blowing us away. Instead, we became breathless pounding the convention floor hoping, fruitlessly, to uncover any radical innovations.
Flat displays reigned supreme at this year's tech orgy. This was the year of jumbo, easy-on-the-eyes big-screen TVs for home entertainment, and monitor makers followed suit and catered to gamers by showcasing LCDs with 8ms response times, such as the Samsung SyncMaster 915N, the ViewSonic VP191b, and the NEC-Mitsubishi MultiSync GX series.
Some of the most fun products were nontraditional peripherals, such as the Ceiva Digital Photo Receiver for showing off the latest digital photos from friends and family.
And the QWERTY keyboard on the compact Casio CW-L300 promised to simplify printing on CDs, DVDs, and sticky labels too.
Printer heavyweights such as HP, Epson, and Dell reserved few, if any, new printer releases for this mammoth tech fest. But Brother updated its old, small laser standby, the HL-1440, with the compact HL-2040 and HL-2070N.
Konica Minolta stole the printer stage by touting photo-friendliness for its new color lasers, including the Magicolor 2430DL. By building PictBridge camera ports into this and the larger 5440DL, Konica Minolta took a big risk by attempting to bridge the color printing gap between laser and inkjet printers. Entranced by this possibility, plus the vendor's samples, we anointed the Magicolor 2430DL with our CES Next Big Thing Award. But will this machine deliver outstanding color graphics in CNET's tests? Find out soon in our upcoming product review.
Speaking of photo printing, Canon rolled out two new inkjets with revved-up speeds, and it further streamlined the design to update popular portable models. Canon sealed its lips about the details behind the new dye-based ink in its iP90 and its Selphy CP-400 printers, except to brag about better print quality and longevity.
Kodak promoted cross-brand cooperation with its Printer Dock Series 3, which prints from cameras by six other manufacturers that adopt ImageLink compatibility and includes wireless connectivity. Owners of older printer docks will be able to buy adapters to accept ImageLink non-Kodak printers, too.
Hoping that businesses will buy into its vision of creating public printing hot spots to serve legions of traveling laptop owners, Silex introduced the WiPrint system. Will coffee shops and corporate lobbies set up wireless printers for visitors to use? We won't find out until autumn, when WiPrint goes on the market.
Opposite WiPrint's spirit of sharing, Silex also offered its SecurePrint fingerprint identification system. With biometric scanners popping up in laptops and PDAs, we wonder why this feature isn't already more widespread in the age of Homeland Security.
Scanners enjoyed a much needed makeover, especially the razor-thin, flexible Canon LIDE 500f.
We failed to find any mutant mice with fabulous features, since most of the new items were actually several months old. But Logitech is now bundling its MX 1000 Cordless Laser Mouse with the Cordless Desktop MX 3100 keyboard.
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