2011 Consumer Electronics Show Recap: The Hottest Tech for the Year Ahead

I was actually pretty spot on in terms of my pre-CES predictions. (See “2011 CES Preview: 5 Key Trends to Watch“) In terms of showstoppers, there weren’t many. In 2010, with the global success of Avatar (NYSE:NWSA), the tech world (NASDAQ:QQQQ) seemed quick to try to bring the 3D bandwagon into the living room for consumers, which became the talk of last years show.

This years show boasted over 120,000 attendees and featured over 20,000 products. From smart TV’s to tablets and connected cars, here’s your post CES breakdown:

4G and Dual Core

As I mentioned in my previous post, 4G and a faster mobile network from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) was announced. Many are assuming this is a pre-cursor to an announcement that Verizon will carry the iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL). Journalists were actually sent an invite for a special last-minute Verizon press conference on Tuesday, where it is assumed the announcement will be made.

The big talk of CES was the Motorola Atrix (NYSE:MSI), which won in the best cell phone category for CNET’s Best of CES. The phone boasts a dual core (multiple apps functioning at once) and AT&T’s 4G Network (NYSE:T). Plus, this standout addition–a laptop style dock, which is basically an empty laptop shell that connects to your phone bringing the Web browsing and media experience from the phone to the bigger screen. These new phones aren’t just smart phones but super phones.

Tablets

There were probably 50 or more featured tablets this year at CES, all aspiring to be the iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) killer. Motorala (NYSE:MSI) won the hearts of techies in this category too with many buzzing about their Xoom, which seems to beat the iPad (for now) with its front and rear-facing camera–one which records in full HD–higher resolution screen supporting Adobe Flash (NASDAQ:ADBE) and using Verizon Wireless’ (NYSE:VZ) network.

Another product that stood out in particular was a sliding hybrid laptop/tablet by Samsung, that will be priced at $699 when it arrives in March.

Smart TV’s and the Connected Living Room

Honestly, there were no real innovations on the TV hardware end, besides the usual suspects like Samsung releasing the beautiful, ultra-thin “world largest LED 3D TV“, with a Tron-like silver metal backing and base.

And if you don’t want to wear the typical throwaway glasses, you can op with something higher end like Oakley’s new line of 3D glasses featured on the show.

More of the buzz, however, was happening around the apps and content available on TV besides TV shows. According to DisplaySearch, more than half of TVs sold in 2014 will offer web service. Many of the TV’s included Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) connected TV. Plus, others featured their own apps stores (like our smartphones) and socially connected features allowing you to Tweet, Facebook and even Skype from your TV.

Apple TV (NASDAQ:AAPL) competitors also joined in the game at CES, with CISCO (NASDAQ:CSCO) introducing a new cable TV set-top box that would marry web video with traditional TV programming. Boxee also showcased its new Iomega device, while announcing a new partnership with a major network—CBS (NYSE:CBS).

Overall, many of our day-to-day gadgets came together this year bringing the trend of the connected lifestyle and living room to the forefront more than ever before. Not only does this connectivity include bridging the gap between content on the so-called web and TV screen, but connecting are actions from one gadget to the next. For instance, Samsung showed how its Galaxy Tab had the abilities to wirelessly connect to its TV. We’ll see all our devices begin to have the same capabilities in the future.

High-Tech Cars

Many examples of a more eco-friendly and connected cars were showcased this year too. General Motors (NYSE:GM) unveiled their EN-V (Electric-Networked Vehicle) concept car. The car is designed to park itself and automatically return to the user when summoned from a Smartphone application. While it seats two people, it is half the size of a Smart Car for two, allowing six into a normal parking space.

Ford (NYSE:F) also revealed its electric app-enabled car. The car not only has a touch screen, but a “My Ford Mobile” app available on the Android. The Chevy Volt also showed off the Powermat in its cars—its new wireless charging pads for cell phones.

These 5 trends were created by Shira Lazar, digital trends and tech expert. Visit her blog ‘On the Scene’ at CBS Online or shiralazar.com.

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