What mattered on CES Day 1

On the first official day of the Consumer Electronics Show, the steady flow of new product announcements continues. Here's the stuff we think is worth seeing.

LAS VEGAS--Have we mentioned ultrabooks?

Dell XPS 13 Scott Stein/CNET

On the first official day of the Consumer Electronics Show, we got introduced to a few more devices in this category, which is quickly establishing itself as the most heavily promoted product at this year's show. Dell today announced its high-end XPS 13 . Dell had been relatively quiet on the ultrabook front until now. And its new entry is a solid one: the system goes from 6mm-18mm thick and weighs just less than 3 pounds.

A newcomer from Taiwan called Inhon showed off the carbon fiber InBook , which bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain Apple laptop. At this point, every major computer maker has an ultrabook under its belt. Now we wait to see how much this form factor resonates with consumers.

All the small things
Even though it's a little late to the game, Intel took the wraps off plans to get its chips into smartphones and tablets this year. At a press conference today, Intel showed off the first Windows 8 plus Intel-operated tablets ever, the first Intel smartphone from Lenovo, the first Ivy Bridge ultrabooks, and a bunch of tablet and PC prototypes.

Lenovo's new Intel-based phone.
Lenovo's new Intel-based phone. Corinne Schulze/CNET

We got some hands-on time with the Sprint Galaxy Nexus. It's not a particularly petite phone. But reviewer Jessica Dolcourt likes the fact that this version of the Galaxy Nexus comes with Google Wallet .

Tell us more
We're very interested to see where Razer takes its Project Fiona concept for a serious gaming tablet. The tablet will run Windows 8 and is intended to be a mobile device that's a legitimately good platform for serious video games. The company says it's targeting a sub-$1,000 price tag and that the final version of the product should be out by year's end.

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A unique camera from Polaroid has us both intrigued and perplexed. The Polaroid SC1360 looks like a phone and runs Android. But it has a 16-megapixel sensor and a 3x zoom lens, and uses Wi-Fi (or, at extra cost, cellular) for uploading to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. It's an interesting concept. But we're left wondering who this is for.

Polaroid SC1630
Polaroid SC1630 Joshua Goldman/CNET

TV time

Simple.TV
Simple.TV
Samsung and DirecTV partnered up to make watching DVR-recorded shows in other rooms a bit easier--one day after Dish Network unveiled its own multiroom DVR setup. The companies said Samsung's new line of Smart TVs, announced yesterday , will allow viewers to stream recorded programs to TVs in other rooms. That alone isn't new. What's interesting is that it won't require other devices; the television sets themselves are capable of managing the DVR stream. The companies are calling the technology "set-top boxless viewing."

Another new contender, called the Simple.TV , is a next-generation DVR for the cord-cutting crowd. The Simple.TV ($150 and due to become available in the spring) can record over-the-air HDTV and Clear QAM cable, along with traditional DVR functionality like pausing live TV. What sets it apart from traditional DVRs is that it doesn't have an HDMI or any kind of video output. Instead, it relies on streaming video to another device, such as a Roku, iPad, Boxee, or Google TV.

Mod your bod
At a tech show of this size, it's easy to get caught up in all the gadgets that are faster, smaller, cheaper, cooler! So when companies making health-related devices get a moment in the spotlight, it's almost a refreshing break to think of the ways technology is helping make people healthier.

The Ion Proton Sequencer is roughly the size of a laser printer. Life Technologies

Qualcomm used its keynote this morning to announce a contest it's sponsoring with the X Prize Foundation to create a Tricorder-like device a la Star Trek. The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize , as it's called, will be won by the first team that creates a mobile platform capable of most accurately diagnosing a group of 15 diseases across 30 patients in three days.

At the keynote, Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric Topol showed off two devices that can monitor vital signs such as pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Topol also sees a future in embedded sensors that go into your body and, for example, could detect a possible heart attack long before it happens.

In the actually-here-now department, Scientific-equipment giant Life Technologies unveiled a laser-printer size DNA sequencer designed to decode an entire human genome in a day for $1,000 by the end of 2012. Getting gene sequencing down to that price and quick turnaround makes it much more feasible for regular people to find out more about their genetic makeup.

 

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