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The Online Mom Reports To You from CES in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up here today after its annual four day run. By most accounts, the show was a little off in terms of both traffic and excitement.

Understandably in the face of the serious economic downturn, the crowds were thinner than usual. More surprisingly, there was a distinct lack of blockbuster announcements, with the large national and international press contingent scrambling to come up with headlines.

However, there were some nuggets to be found among the thousands of exhibitor booths and endless aisles. Here’s The Online Mom’s top picks from the 2009 event:

1) Palm Pre
Palm’s radical new smartphone was the almost unanimous “best-in-show” pick by most CES observers. Its new webOS operating system allows for constant web updates and the ability to move smoothly between applications is almost Windows-like in ease-of-use and functionality. Who would have ever bet on Palm coming back to dominate a CES?

2) Networked TVs
Samsung, LG and Vizio were just three of the companies that unveiled network-connected HDTVs, heralding in an era of direct streaming of just about any content you can imagine. And kudos to Netflix, a company that has been busy transforming itself into a software house and is front and center of the networked TV revolution. 

3) Sony DSC-G3 Cyber-shot
This great-looking point-and-shoot camera from Sony has built-in wireless internet connectivity, allowing users to share pictures and videos directly from the camera without the need to upload to a computer first. It also comes with image sensors, face detection technology, anti-blur solutions, image stabilization sensors and all the other features that were previously the exclusive domain of high-end DSLR cameras.

4) Sony Vaio P 
At 8 inches long, 1 inch thick and 1¼ lbs, the Vaio P range from Sony is the new leader in the mini-notebook category. And it’s definitely a notebook, not a netbook, with the ability to run the full Vista package on its 1.33 GHz Intel processor and up to 60GB hard drive. The screen is razor sharp and the keyboard surprisingly easy to use for a mini.

5) Ultra-thin HDTVs
Thin is the new black when it comes to HDTVs, with many companies taking advantage of wireless technology and networking to slim down to an inch or less.  Top of the class? Probably Samsung’s Luxia LED Series.

6) Parrot by Starck Wireless Speakers
Talking of style, we loved these gorgeous looking speakers that use Bluetooth technology to completely eliminate the need for wires. The speakers have been designed for compatibility with the entire range of Apple products, including all the current iPods and the iPhone and they can also stream music directly from a PC via Wi-Fi or from a PC, Mac or mobile phone via Bluetooth. The speakers pack a real punch with up to 100 watts in total output and use NXT technology to produce an even, quality sound.

7) Casio Slo-Mo Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Only 4 months ago camera buffs were raving about Casio’s 1000 frames per second EX-F1 model, which allows users to film high-speed video. Now they’re bringing the same capability to ultra-slim point-and-shoot cameras. The EX-FS10 and EX-FC100 will offer a high-speed 30 shot per second burst rate, as well as the 1000 fps video. Users can capture a still image while viewing the movement of their subject in slow motion by selecting and saving one frame from the continuous shots.

8) Powermat Wireless Chargers
With another welcome move towards a wireless world, the folks at Powermat have come up with a series of revolutionary and space-saving products – ultra-thin mats and receivers which can provide a wireless charge to a range of commonly-used electronic devices. Powermat utilizes magnetic induction as a power delivery method. The devices are simply placed on the mat, either on their own or using a receiver, and the device charges as if it were connected directly to its usual power source. No multiple chargers, no tangle of power cords; just one power supply connected to the mat and everyone can charge at the same time!

9) PBS Kids PLAY!
PBS Kids has updated their excellent PBS Kids PLAY! learning web site, created for 3-6 year olds. Kids prepare for school by exploring everything from problem-solving and sentence-making to managing emotions. The site originally launched in March 2008 but has been significantly expanded with additional characters and tracking features, so parents can measure their child’s progress and achievements. More familiar characters and games are on their way, including Thomas and Friends later this month.

10) WowWee Toys
The Online Mom loves the award-winning line of hi-tech toys that WowWee has produced over the last few years and it looks like 2009 is shaping up to their best year yet! For the next generation of their robotics line, WowWee is introducing the Joebot and Roborover robots. For the younger set, WowWee is also introducing additional animals into the WowWee Alive collection.  This time it’s Seal Pup, Husky Puppy, Koala Joey and Leopard Cub. These plush and adorable creatures have animated facial and vocal expressions that respond to a child’s touch – and they even come with adoption papers and a family portrait!     

The Online Mom

Click here to go to our January 8, 2009 CES Report

Click here to go to our January 7, 2009 CES Report

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