There's a fine line between useless gimmicks and worthwhile, innovative features. Sony's thrown so much technology at the little, chromium-plated Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 that some of it's surely got to stick. It can be yours for around £280, from Currys and PC World, among other retailers.
If cameras get much thinner than this, you won't need an LCD display, because you'll be able to see straight through them. The DSC-TX1's slimness makes it supremely pocketable, although this raises its own issues. For example, make sure you use the wrist strap, because sliding down the front lens panel to switch the camera on is like trying to wrestle a bar of soap.
The lens is a fairly ordinary 4x 'folded' zoom model that remains inside the camera body while you're shooting. It's round that back that things get interesting, mostly because there isn't anything around the back except the LCD display. The DSC-TX1 is controlled entirely by touch, via big, chunky icons. There's an assortment of chimes to provide audio feedback when you select an option.
The display is only the start, though. Elbowing convention in the groin, Sony's used a 10.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and a variation on the Exmor processing system in its digital SLRs to provide some extraordinary features.
Take the 'sweep panorama' mode, for example. In this mode, you don't just shoot a series of individual overlapping shots in the usual way. Instead, you pan the camera in a single movement and it takes all the shots automatically, stitching them together in-camera. The results aren't perfect, but they're good enough.
The DSC-TX1 is pretty handy at action shots, too, with a 10-frames-per-second continuous-shooting mode. We've seen such modes before on compacts, and they usually chop the resolution down to a couple of megapixels, but the DSC-TX1 can shoot 10fps at full resolution. That's quite something.
This high-speed motion-capture technology is used elsewhere too, such as in the 'handheld twilight' mode. Don't worry about low light or shake, just hold the DSC-TX1 as steady as you can and leave it to take six shots, which are then stitched together into an image that's ten times better than you could ever have expected.