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CES 2011: Top Early Picks--New Tablets And Car Gadgets

Jacob Chung |
January 5, 2011 | 12:53 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The LePad being unveiled. (Creative Commons)
The LePad being unveiled. (Creative Commons)
Rooms were filled to near capacity as press and exhibitors mingled sampling hors d'oeuvre and demoing tech innovations at the Unveiled event at the Venetian Hotel conference room Tuesday night. 

Unveiled is a “pre-event,” where select few exhibitors are given the show floor to show off this year’s innovative technology award winners. Amid the hundreds showcased, here are a few that caught my attention.

TABLETS

Surprisingly, tablets were far and few in between at this event. Albeit Unveiled is considered a “pre-event,” but the tablets demoed were impressive but not unexpected for the most part. 

Lenovo again brought their LePad along with another tab their calling IdeaPad Slate

The IdeaPad Slate will be running Windows 7 powered by Intel’s Oak Trail Atom Processor. Along with the snappy processor the IdeaPad Slate will include a 10.1” screen with a full HD resolution and will come with a docking unit that will transform the tablet into a laptop form. Unlike the LePad however, the IdeaPad Slate will be operate strictly with Windows 7. 

The IdeaPad Slate at launch is expected to run starting at a price point $500 and will vary with features added. 

The LePad also received a slight revamp as it will now be running Android operating system as a tablet instead of the proprietary, Linux-based operating system displayed at its launch in 2010. 

The LePad is slated for launch in China Q1 in the first quarter and is expected to start at $520 for the pad itself and a grand total of $1300 with the entire U1 set. 

The other tablet at the event was the CL900, a commercially inclined tablet from a Motion Computing

Built to military specs to withstand commercial use, the CL900 offers a 1366 by 768 resolution, 10.1” capacitive screen that’s both finger and pen friendly.  Powering the tablet is an Intel Oak Trail Atom processor, an option of 1 or 2GB of ram, and either a 30 or 62 GB solid-state drive. (Definitely sensing a theme here.) 

GADGETS

Ever walk down the street and think, “Man, only if I can somehow convert my kinetic energy into a more usable form of energy to charge my gadgets?” No? You’ve never thought that? Well one company did. Not only did they ponder the thought, they put it into action. 

Tremont Electric, a company based out of Cleveland, Ohio, demoed what they’re calling the “World’s 1st charger for hand-held electronics that captures and stores your kinetic energy.” 

The device, nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator), is a nine-inch rod-like device that weighs in at 11 ounces and converts kinetic energy from everyday activities like walking, running, and even bicycling into 1000mAh of harvestable energy in a lithium polymer battery. Using a USB 2.0 standard, this little wonder will be able to power your iPod Nano from your daily commute. 

In other not so mind-shattering news, Technocel introduced an impressive unit properly named Battery Boost that was worth a mention. The unit has both a USB and micro USB input that charges itself via built-in 600mAh lithium ion battery and powers other gadgets with the power stored. The kicker is that the device can also serve as a microSD card reader. 

Disclosure: Technocel presented Press with units to test and keep. 

CAR TECH

As expected the car tech industry started the show with a bang. Toyota introduced their new in-dash system, Entune, which will compete with other connective in-car systems in the market like Microsoft Sync. Users will be able to install the Entune application onto a smartphone and connect the in-dash system with content from smartphones. 

Mainstream applications such as Pandora, OpenTable and others, will be included in the system allowing users to connect and control said apps via an in-car system. Also included inside Entune is a search engine making the system a truly connected system: search engine of choice, Bing. 

No word on the specific date of availability or pricing though Toyota did mention it will be sometime this year on select vehicle models

Toyota didn’t hog all the limelight though. Not to be out done, OnStar held a separate press conference following the Unveiled event to announce their venture into the aftermarket. In an effort to expand their market, OnStar will now be offering a unit to be installed in vehicles outside of the GM family. 

The aftermarket system will come in the form of a rearview mirror and be available spring of 2011 for 99 percent of recent cars in the current US market. 



 

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