New technology shines at CES

By Brian Livingston

LAS VEGAS – The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which assembles every January in this gambling and entertainment capital, has become one of the world’s most important venues where new technology products are introduced.

With more than 110,000 registered attendees this year, CES has eclipsed the computer industry’s own Comdex show, which is held here in November. Comdex officials have said their most-recent event attracted only 50,000 people. That’s a fraction of the 225,000 who reportedly attended at Comdex’s height in 1999, although its sponsors say today’s non-crowds include a higher percentage of the big technology buyers that exhibitors covet.

CES, partly because of its sheer size, has now become an occasion for computer companies as well as audio and video entertainment giants to announce their new products. With an entire hall devoted to dealers who compete to see who can deliver the loudest car-audio systems, CES is a tough place to unearth serious new computer technology. But if you look carefully, high-tech gems can be found.

To give you an overview of where technology is heading – both in computers and in consumer electronics, two digital industries that are converging – I’ve summarized two of the many “Best of CES” lists that have come out. For my “Best of the Best,” I’ve selected the awards announced by TechTV, a cable channel focused on computers, and CNET.com, a tech-review site. Please note that their awards don’t require that a product is actually shipping (or even feasible), just that a working model of it was shown in public at CES.

TechTV’s Best of CES Awards

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