For one week each year, the stars align and there is harmony between Microsofties, Mac heads, Mandrake users, motorists, mall rats, men of the cloth, monorail drivers, mimes, Max Headroom impersonators, and even some items that do not begin with the letter M.
It is a week of peace, enchantment, magic, and credit-card usage. That is because for one week each year, all interested parties are too busy keeping track of product announcements from CES, Macworld, and the Detroit Auto Show to argue about why their operating system and automobile manufacturer of choice is the awesomest.
Said week was this past week, a week dubbed (if only by me) Ye Olde Fantastick Weeke of Electronicks Showes. So many items are announced, demoed, and hyped during this stretch that it is enough to make a gadget aficionado's head a'splode.
- The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up this past weekend in Las Vegas, and there was plenty to be excited about. Cell phones are becoming more like portable media centers. There are some mighty contenders to iPod's MP3 throne, including our Best in Show pick, Creative's amazing . HDTVs continue to get bigger and cheaper. The difference between HD-DVD and Blu-ray was adequately showcased. Nifty emerging tech ideas abounded, including a top-shelf robotic chimp head. But there were also things to not get excited about, such as the fact that the PlayStation 3 will probably cost 8 bajillion dollars and a bag of chips.
- Ever the thunder stealer, Steve Jobs saw all tech bids from Las Vegas and raised them with Apple's new offerings at Macworld 2006. Apple unveiled the Intel-based, dual-core MacBook Pro and iMac Core Duo, signaling the end of the PowerBook laptop line and the molasses-filled G4 processor. Apple's and suites also got key upgrades for 2006. Perhaps the most surprising announcement from Macworld was the lack of an announcement: no new iPods just yet. Instead, the $50 iPod Radio Remote add-on lets you listen to FM stations on your iPod. Speaking of iPods, James Kim has discovered a really easy way to put DVD video on them.
- Meanwhile, in Detroit, some downright fancy automobiles revved their engines at the Detroit Auto Show. Retro-futuristic was the style of choice this year, with Lamborghini, Dodge, and Chevy all showing off concept cars that hearkened back to classic designs from the 1960s and 1970s. But it was the Nissan Urge that took the checkered flag in terms of innovation, thanks to a dashboard and steering wheel that turn into controls for an Xbox racing game when the vehicle is parked. Alas, none of these dreamy rides are on the market yet, but you can always run out and buy our Tech Car of the Year, the 2005 Acura RL.