Two distinct trends stuck out at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011: tablets and 3D. But which one will this year be remembered for?
Both technologies have been tried before (3D in the 1980s and tablets in 2005) and failed to catch the public's ongoing interest. But both Avatar and the iPad have given them a good chance of success this time around.
Every method of 3D delivery was on offer this year, with glasses-less technology stealing a good degree of the limelight. But even the best technologies required the user to concentrate in a manner similar to the old Magic Eye pictures or lose the 3D effect. It'll be a while before this technology is good enough, and cheap enough, for the lounge room.
While 3D may yet again falter due to a lack of content, content is what will ensure the popularity of another CES 2011 TV trend. Most TV manufacturers had a "smart TV" on show which promised not only internet streaming but browsing and content sharing.
Of course, it wasn't all TVs and tablets that stuck out this year, so check out the next few pages to see some of the best technology you'll see in 2011 and beyond.
While tablets were one of the most visible technologies at the show, the one that generated the most excitement was the Motorola Xoom. It not only boasts a 10.1-inch screen, two cameras and the latest version of Android, but also an on-board barometer for on-device weather prognostication!
LG showed off its smart TV platform which featured "cards" instead of windows, included an on-board browser and search, and will enable BigPond Movies in addition to further content offerings in the near future.
The LG Magic Motion remote enables intuitive web-browsing with Wii-like control on LG's smart TVs.
/ Photo: Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia
The new flagship Panasonic plasma, the VT30, promises to be the best yet. It seems that everything that the company could improve with the plasma, it did, with higher brightness and blacks and a lower power consumption. It will come in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, and will ship at the start of Q2 2010.
Slim is still in according to Samsung and both its D7000 and D8000 televisions feature bezels that are only 0.2 inch thick. They also boast smart TV functions and 3D. After giving up the performance crown to Sony this year, could these TVs be a return to form for Samsung?
Video visors have come and gone over the years, but as far as we know none of them have been made by Sony. The "Headman" simulates a 100-inch screen of 720p 3D video and includes headphones. Only a prototype at the moment, though.
/ Photo: Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia
The Motorola Atrix is a smartphone that can be placed into a laptop docking unit that converts it into a fully functioning computer. While pretty cool, we can't be sure that this has widespread appeal. "Road warriors", however, will love it.
What would a CES be without the world's biggest or slimmest something? Here is the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, which runs Android, features an 8.7mm thickness at its thinnest point and will come bundled with Sony's Exmor R image sensor for better photos.
/ Photo: Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia
"Sexy" and "laptops" are not two words we use together often, but if we did it would be to describe the Samsung 9 series laptop. Borrowing nomenclature from its highly regarded 9 series TV, it is warranted for this beautiful competitor to the MacBook Air.
Could Lady Gaga be the next Elvis? Elvis Presley's birthday occurs during CES, and it's hard to walk 50 metres in Las Vegas without seeing at least one of him. So, too, did this year's show have at least two Lady Gagas. One may have been real though, and she was on hand to launch the new Poloroid Grey Label glasses. A pair of glasses with an in-built camera and dual-OLED screens? Just as bonkers as the "real" thing.
Not a tech gadget as such, but for fans of the mobile game Angry Birds: Knock on Wood this appears to be a great boardgame version of the original. While you won't get stars as such you compete against others to knock down towering constructions with a plastic bird and catapault. It's expected in May for under AU$20.
Some of the best gadgets this year were tucked away behind glass, but it doesn't stop us from imagining how much potential they have. This was the case for the Razer Switchback prototype laptop, which featured customisable LCD keys reminiscent of the Optimus Maximus.