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CES 2011: The best so far

Our picks of the most exciting treats in store for CES 2011 in January, from glasses-free 3D to multi-core smart phones and tremendous tablets.

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show that fills Las Vegas with the pitter patter of geek feet every January, promises to be a corker in 2011. Last year was all about 3D TV, ebooks and wireless charging, all of which left us shaken but not stirred. Sure, telly, books and um, charging, are okay, but wait till you hear what's in store this year.

Expect big things from Motorola, which will launch a range of new mobiles, including 4G phones for the US. It will also be showing off its new Android tablet, sporting the lastest version of Android, Honeycomb, and rumoured to be named the Xoom. We're expecting  a 10-inch screen and brains provided by a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. 

If you're playing CES bingo, you just spotted your first buzzword of the game. Dual-core, multi-core or manticore, this will be the year processors get multi-headed. That means faster processing at lower power with longer battery life -- the golden fleece of gadgets. This bright multi-core future is already being plugged for the BlackBerry PlayBook, but plenty more is on the way.

For example, we expect to get some hands-on time with the dual-core Tegra 2 processor in the LG Optimus 2X, a smart phone with a 4-inch screen and Android 2.2 Froyo on board. The Optimus 2X will be joined by the mysteriously codenamed LG B -- if you believe the leaks, this could be the thinnest smart phone yet, and thinner than an iPhone 4

LG is also bringing out a platter of non-phone goodies, including the new BD690 3D Blu-ray player with a 250GB hard drive and wireless connectivity over Wi-Fi Direct, which may turf that dedicated media streamer off your totem-pole of black boxes.

There's bingo buzzword number two -- 3D. Sure, it's left over from last year's CES, but this is the year that 3D gets cheaper, and manufacturers experiment with ways to get us to buy into the third dimension. 

One of the reasons we can't really fall in love with 3D TV is the geeky glasses, which just don't look that hot when worn over our own geeky glasses. Toshiba could be leading the charge to autostereoscopic, glasses-free 3D. We look forward to seeing if we can manoeuvre our heads into that 3D sweet spot on a screen larger than the one we loved on the Nintendo 3DS.

Another bingo buzzword from 2010 we expect to explode into the mainstream is tablets. Now the iPad has softened up the market, we're planning for plenty of the keyboard-less computers.

Android, Windows, BlackBerry and Palm operating systems will all be vying for spots on the small screen. Expect powerful beasts from Acer, Asus, MSI and HP, and more portable puppies from Motorola, LG, BlackBerry and Palm.

But we're really looking forward to the freakish newcomers -- like the dual-screen wonders that offer two displays for twice the price of one. For example, we hope to get our hands on the Acer Iconia and its two-faced friends.

Other rumours we'll be clinging to on that long transatlantic flight to Nevada include new phones from HTC, more motion-gaming gadgets like Microsoft Kinect, and plenty of freaky tablet accessories like this one from Elliptic Labs, which adds motion control to the iPad.

This year's CES runs starts on 6 January, so be sure to stay tuned to CNET UK for all the action from the show.