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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Four Products and Trends to Look Forward to at CES 2011

CES is upon us! On Thursday, we’ll be bombarded with gigantic TVs, motion control systems, and computers and smart phones of all stripes. There’s a natural tendency to get caught up in the excitement of CES and let slip a few details in advance of the show. It's all part of the fun, and now's the perfect time to get hyped up for days of grand reveals and cutting edge products.

Lenovo, Opera and Motorola are just a few of the companies who have kicked off CES early. Ready to get pumped for CES? Read on to take a look at a few things we're looking forward to from this year's show.

Opera for Tablets
Opera may not get as much love as Firefox or Chrome, but it’s a fast and competent browser that recently hit its 11th release. This week Opera teased a new browser: Opera for Tablets, which likely means “Opera for Android tablets.” The video below highlights smooth scrolling and zooming in the browser. Android tablet owners may have a faster web experience to look forward to in the future; Google's stock browser does the job, but a finely tuned Opera experience specifically built for tablets sounds intriguing.

Lenovo and Motorola Tablets

Lenovo is known for its laptops, but this CES will see the company branching out into the burgeoning tablet market. A Lenovo Android tablet called the LePad will be on the floor at CES along with an ultraportable laptop equipped with AMD’s Fusion APUs. This isn't the first time Lenovo has shown off tablets, but the models they had on display at CES 2010 never made it to market. Lenovo’s been hard at work on its tablet/laptop hybrid system the U1 since last year, which docks with the LePad to create a more fully-featured computer.

Meanwhile, Motorola will finally officially show off the Android Honeycomb tablet its been teasing since last month. Want a video? You got it.

Lenovo and Motorola are hardly alone in the tablet sector--in fact, we could be seeing upwards of 80 tablets at this year’s CES. Feeling inundated yet?

An Early Look at Windows 8
Steve Ballmer has the honor of delivering an opening keynote at this year’s CES. While on stage, Ballmer may be planning to show off a feature of Windows 8. We likely won’t be seeing much--if anything--of the full OS. But with Microsoft’s efforts to improve the touch capabilities of Windows, Ballmer may have some slate functionality to talk about during his keynote address. Windows 7 was a great step for Microsoft, but it doesn't deliver the best touch experience out there. Hopefully Windows 8 will iterate on the solid design improvements of Windows 7 while maximizing the operating system's touch potential.

A Bevvy of HTC Phones

The HTC EVO Shift is already good and official, but there’s more HTC smart phone fun on the way at this year’s show. A leaked Rolling Stone ad highlights the Thunderbolt, which looks an awful lot like a new version of the EVO for Verizon thanks to its 4.3” screen. The ad includes the HTC Inspire 4G for AT&T, too--we don’t think you’ll be getting any real 4G out of AT&T’s network, but at least it’s likely to be a solid Android device for the carrier.

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