CES: Tablets, connectivity, and in 3D (week in review)

Going gaga for gadgets in the desert, while Facebook basks in new valuation. Also: are the DVD's days numbered?

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
4 min read

As promised, the big star of this year's Consumer Electronics Show was the tablet, but Internet connectivity and 3D everything were vying for the spotlight as well.

Motorola plans to dethrone Apple's iPad with its new Android-based Xoom tablet. The Xoom--one of many tablets unveiled at CES--betters the iPad in some ways. It comes standard with front- and rear-facing cameras, including one that can record in HD, compared with none in the current version of the iPad. It also boasts a larger screen with a higher resolution, supports Adobe Flash, and uses Verizon's network instead of AT&T's.

Motorola Xoom running Android 3.0 Honeycomb (photos)

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Surprisingly, not everyone is touting the "iPad killer" tablet. In fact, Sony would be happy with coming in second. "We'd really like to take the No. 2 position (in the tablet market) by 2012," Kunimasa Suzuki, deputy president of Sony, said at a roundtable discussion. "iPad is the king of tablets for sure. Who is going to be (the) second player?"
•  Lenovo unveils Windows 7 IdeaPad Slate
•  Dell targets Gen Y with Streak 7 tablet, speedy gaming
•  Samsung's 4G Galaxy Tab revealed
•  MSI tries the Windows tablet game with the WindPad
•  Hands-on with the Vizio VIA Tablet
•  Samsung introduces Sliding PC 7, a unique Windows tablet
•  Acer unveils 10-inch Iconis A500 tablet
•  Android Honeycomb video shows slick tablet OS

Watch this: Sony Glasses-free 3D LCD Display

Like many companies at CES, Sony has its focus on 3D. Indeed, the entertainment and electronics giant announced a slew of new 3D-compatible products that transcends the company's line of products, from TVs, camcorders, and Blu-ray players to laptops and game titles. Sony Chairman Howard Stringer predicted that 2011 would be "a year in which 3D becomes personal." One of the ways Stringer intends to get into U.S. homes is via a new 3D channel called 3Net, which will launch in the coming months and feature 24-7 3D content.

Some of the 3D products announced at CES:
•  Sony jumps into 3D laptops with the Vaio F series
•  Sony launches prosumer 3D camcorder
•  LG unveiling premium 3D eyewear at CES
•  Panasonic's midline plasmas get 3D, Internet
•  New Dell XPS 17 adds 3D
•  iPont shows no-glasses 3D conversion tech
•  Samsung debuts new 3D monitors

LG takes on the smarter, green home (photos)

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For many companies, connectivity was a word most associated with TVs. But LG was thinking efficiency over entertainment, touting its line of Thinq "smart" appliances, which use a Wi-Fi connection and a smart meter to bring features, such as programming appliances to work at off-peak times or diagnosing appliance problems through customer service online.

GE also showed off its smart appliances, which use the wireless protocol Zigbee to communicate with a smart meter and Nucleus, a phone charger-size gadget which acts as a networking hub for connected devices. GE is also readying an energy display, first shown this week at CES, which is a small screen to show consumers how much energy they are using and give them notifications.

More headlines

Microsoft to fix Windows holes, but not ones in IE

Patch Tuesday will have fixes for three Windows holes but IE vulnerabilities reportedly being exploited in attacks will not be among them.
•  Microsoft warns of Windows flaw affecting image rendering
•  Researcher reports apparent China interest in IE hole
•  Missing e-mail, folder bug in Hotmail fixed
•  Hotmail's recent message loss hiccup explained

Funding gives Facebook a $50 billion valuation

Social-networking giant has raised $500 million from investor Goldman Sachs and Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies.
•  Assessing the fate of the 'Facebook Way'
•  Demand forces Goldman to end Facebook solicitation
•  LinkedIn may go public this year, or not

Will Hollywood's 'UltraViolet' plan replace the DVD?

A group of film studios, consumer electronics companies, software makers, and ISPs say they are offering consumers an easier way to store, view, and access content. Critics say it's PlaysForSure all over again.

Google gets halt of Microsoft contract with Interior Dept.

Judge says there were deficiencies in the procurement process that led to U.S. government agency preparing to grant $49.3 million contract to Microsoft for e-mail system.
•  To fight spam, Google Apps adds e-mail signing

EA to discontinue online services for several games

Electronic Arts plans to shut down online service for many legacy titles starting as early as next week. Titles include The Lord of the Rings, Madden 10 for the PSP, others.
•  Zynga, Activision Blizzard sued over patent

GOP readies major push for Internet transparency

Republicans are preparing to vote on new rules using the Web to shine light on Capitol Hill, including requiring bills be posted before votes.
•  Oops! New GOP leader's Web site points to a Dem

Big media fails to turn ISPs into copyright cops

Two years since the RIAA said Internet service providers would increase pressure on customers to stop pirating content, no major ISP has publicly committed to the program.
•  'Hurt Locker' lawyers continue antipiracy fight

Also of note
•  Man uses computers to discover four planets
•  China crackdown on porn shutters 60,000 sites
•  NASA working on waking Mars Spirit rover