Wrap-up: Monitor industry rests on its laurels

A wrap-up of the showing of monitors from CES 2010.

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
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Eric Franklin
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Samsung's six-screen monitor. Exciting? Sure. Accessible? No, not really. Samsung

LAS VEGAS--Coming into CES 2010 I wasn't expecting much. Most vendors I'd made plans to meet with didn't have anything really new and exciting planned. At last year's CES, we saw the emergence of 16:9 monitors as well as the first real rumblings of LED backlights and 3D technology.

At this year's show, most vendors seemed to be leaning heavily in the LED direction, with some vendors, such as AOC, outfitting the majority of their lineup with LED backlights. Monitors with LED backlights didn't really start taking off until late last year, even though they'd been one of the "next big things" at CES 2009. It really wasn't until the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 that the LED marketplace got exciting.

And Samsung is looking to follow the success of the super-thin XL2370 with an even super(er) version of the PX2370. Samsung also showed off its three- and six-panel multiscreen monitor using AMD's Eyefinity tech. Great if you have $1,900 to $3,100 to spend.

In the 3D space, both ViewSonic and LG announced new 3D monitors coming soon.

Even given all the 3D and LED hype, Dell did its own thing this year by announcing only one new monitor, the Dell UltraSharp U2711 at the show. The U2711 has an incredible 2,560x1,440 on a 27-inch screen and an IPS panel that retains the viewing angle from nearly any perspective. It also has all the connection options one could possibly need on a monitor. It's like a souped-up version of the U2410 without some of the performance downsides that monitor saw.

All in all, the monitor industry seems to have embraced LED backlight technology and is slowly adopting 3D as a useful feature. Still, even with this apparent trend, the industry has no clear, focused direction. Will we eventually move to OLED? Will touch screens ever be a necessity?

It seems this year monitor vendors are resting on their laurels and aren't taking many, if any chances. While 2009 saw a fairly boring first six months and some exciting releases in the second half of the year, maybe 2010 will be a more balanced year all around.