The Hottest Products of CES 2011

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The Tablets of CES 2011

This year's Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada offered some of the most exciting product announcements we've seen in any previous CES show thus far.  The past three years' CES shows have been rather snoozy, to be honest, with the economy taking its toll on product design investment and innovation.  However, this year's CES showed great promise of not only emerging technologies and product innovations but with the sheer number of announcements and the notable increase in attendance (as well as city traffic, which was a nightmare), it was all a very encouraging sign of the health of our nation's economy and that we're finally on the up-tick. 

Regardless, we took time here to wrap-up our show favorites from the major players, in this Hottest Products of CES 2011 showcase.  These were the stand-outs in our opinion, in a sea of technology deep and wide enough to make any self-respecting geek grin from ear to ear.

Asus Slider and Transformer Tablets:
Is it a tablet? Or a notebook? The Eee Pad Slider is a little of both and features a 10.1” IPS touch-screen, but also a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Powered by a dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC, it also sports built-in digital cameras on the front (1.2MP) and rear (5MP) for video chat and digital photography. Mobile users will appreciate the Android 3.0 operating system, though the demo we saw was based on FroYo 2.2, since Honeycomb isn't quite ready for prime time obviously.  There were a number of slate manufacturers at CES in fact, tapping their feet impatiently in anticipation of Google's upcoming tablet OS. If you want something with a bit more spacious keyboard an convertible netbook feel , Asus is also working on the Eee Pad Transformer. With a slim lightweight design and 10.1” capacitive touch-screen, it is for people who want to enjoy multimedia on the move, but still want to have a full computing experience and access to the web, email and other productivity applications.




Asus Slider Android Tablet - Click for high res.



An optional docking station turns the Transformer into a full-fledged notebook with a QWERTY keyboard for desktop use.  Battery life is projected to offer as much up to 16 hours, since both the screen and keyboard have their own discrete batteries. As with the Slider, front and rear digital cameras make for easy video chat and picture taking.  The entire HH team that attended was definitely jonesing for a Transformer.


Asus Demos Slider Android-Based Tablet PC

With a slim lightweight design and 10.1” capacitive touch-screen, it is for people who want to enjoy multimedia on the move, but still wish to have easy access to the web, email and other productivity applications. An optional docking station turns the Transformer into a full-fledged notebook with a QWERTY keyboard for desktop use, while extending battery life up to 16 hours. As with the Slider, front and rear digital cameras make for easy video chat and picture taking.


Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Tablet Netbook:
Lenovo’s new IdeaPad U1 Hybrid is a 2-in-1 device that combines a slate with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Android with a keyboard base and full Windows 7 functionality driven by an Intel Atom processor under its hood. The slate portion of the U1 Hybrid has a 10.1-inch panel and feels smooth and solid in your hand. The base unit turns the slate into a netbook with 92% full-sized keyboard.  It's sort of the best of both world for the ultra-portable crowd, considering a thin-and-light notebook but augmenting with a tablet solution as well.  When detached the switch to Android is seamless and though our demo was running 2.2, we're told Honeycomb will be available upon Google's release.

Although we won’t see the IdeaPad U1 for a little while here in the States, we’re definitely anxious for this baby to hit the market. China pricing for the U1 Hybrid is right around $1300, and it sounds like it will be about the same when it hits our shores.  We're hopeful Lenovo will see clear to sharpening the pencil on that pricing though.

 
Lenovo's ThinkPad U1 Hybrid - Netbook/Tablet Extrordinaire


Lenovo Demos The U1 Hybrid for us behind closed doors...

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