3D-TV, 4-G, robots and WiFi

Consumer Electronics Show has it all

The Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas is the annual opportunity for gadgets fans to get a glimpse of the technology of the year.

As expected, 3D-TV was buzzing around. Sony seemed to be most on the ball, announcing a raft of hi-def TVs. laptops, cameras and the imminent launch of a 3DTV network, called – cunningly – 3Net. The company also said it was working on TV technology that would not require special glasses.

Meanwhile, for some reason, Panasonic have made a 13-foot TV, the biggest flatscreen in the world. The company said it had developed ultra high-speed 3D drive technology, but they didn’t specify whether it ran on a flux capacitor or dilithium crystal configuration.

Nintendo got in on the act, too, indicating that their portable console will now feature 3D as well as a 3D camera and Wi-Fi. It’s expected to be out in March.

All about phones

In the world of phones, it’s all about 4G, as our pocket devices continue to follow the long-anticipated convergence between phone, camera, homing device, personal computer and robot butler. (Weekender can’t verify the veracity of that last item as the webpage with the info is still loading on our Edge phones.) Tablets are going to be big in 2011, too, by the look of the amount of iPad-chasing gadgets on show.

Kinect continues to develop, with the CEO of Microsoft Steve Balmer revealing that in 60 days, 8 million units were sold. Upcoming is facial recognition technology, which will mimic players’ expressions as well as their movements during games. Which is all getting pretty crazy isn’t it?

Talking of robots, the show was full of ‘em. Cleaning robots, massage robots, animatronic baby dinosaur robots with real feelings, robot suits and… look, they’re robots and they’re cool. No more to say about that one


Wireless power

Netgear said it would merge wireless and wired power line networks, revealing a 802.11n Wi-Fi router with AC adaptor doubling as a HomePlug V adaptor, which uses home mains wiring as part of a network wireless reach, and they also said speeds of up to 500Mb/s would be theoretically possible using Homeplug and a new Adaptor for Home Theatre. That’s theoretically possible in the sense of using it at 4am and with power out for everyone else on every other node of the network.

Still, those are big numbers and should help people get to grips with discussions about net neutrality – or specifically, the fact that isps are keen to throttle free bandwidth in favour of premium services. It’s an argument that’s rolled on and on and no doubt will continue to do so long beyond the CES itself.