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CES Thrills Consumers, Retailers Alike

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last weekend got off to a rousing start and ended with a bang, with lots of excitement in between. Fans of handsets, camcorders, and portable media centers were not likely to have been disappointed. Retailers, on the other hand, were hoping for a brisk business.

Wading into the satellite radio wars was Motorola, with its iRadio music service, soon to be featured on the Rokr E2, the successor to the iTunes-enabled Rokr. The newer model will have more capabilities and fewer limitations than the original, company officials say.

Speaking of phones, Verizon was a big mover, unveiling a handful of handsets, including the Treo 700w, a Bluetooth-enabled Windows Mobile Palm that sports a 1.3 megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keyboard, video and music capture and playback, and exciting new phone features.

Expanding technologies included the first mobile WiMax phone, introduced by Samsung and aimed at plugging gaps in current service solutions. The mobile manufacturer introduced a large handful of other products, including the first to use Qualcomm’s new MediaFLO Mobile Broadcasting platform.

Not to be outdone in the publicity department, Microsoft shouted out that it had updates on the Portable Media Center, a mobile Windows-based machine that, among other things, will showcase the new Starz online movie service Vongo. As with other Microsoft products, this one works very well with other Microsoft products, including Xbox. Improved synchronization of audio and video are an attractive feature as well.

Thinking (and naming) big, Toshiba rolled out a digital camcorder called the Gigashot. This behemoth in storage capacity but not physical size combines the best of still cameras and video cameras, even allowing users to take both kinds of shots at the same time. The mammoth 60GB drive allows 13 hours of content at 9.6 Mbps, a whole lot of space at high-quality settings.

Another big name making a relatively moderated splash was Hewlett Packard, which, among other things, unveiled the nc6140, the company’s first laptop to take advantage of 3G cellular technology. This, in effect, allows the user to secure a wireless broadband Internet connections without having to be near a WiFi hotspot.

Speaking of notebooks, Lenovo was out peddling its products, too. A highlight was the EV-DO Express Mini Card, an embedded module for the company’s T60 and X60 business laptops. Like the HP nc6140, these models provide wireless 3G connectivity, in this case using the AirCard and Mini Card modules.

All in all, retailers and fans had much to ponder and get excited about. Now that the rollout has ceased, the shipments will begin. And revenue-watchers no doubt will be pleased with what they see.

This years CES Coverage was brought to you by Matrox DualHead2Go technology. Two screens are always better than one.

About Dave White

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