Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider
LAS VEGAS — After a week of keynotes, booth tours, and almost no sleep, it’s tough to digest everything we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.However, we’ll try.
The biggest trends, as many predicted, focused on Ultrabooks, Windows Phone and Windows 8, and Smart TVs. For the most part, those gadgets were impressive.
But there were some real duds too.
Keep reading to find out the biggest winners and losers at CES.
On Day 1 of CES we saw Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer not once, not twice, but three times at three different keynotes. He was simply everywhere. Although it's Microsoft's final year at CES, the company stole the show with its Windows Phone, Kinect, and Windows 8 demos.
When Samsung introduced its new voice and motion controlled Smart TV, our snap judgment was that the company finally found a way to beat Apple to something amazing instead of dishing out another reactionary device. Unfortunately, the Smart TV didn't impress us. The voice controls are clunky and don't feel natural at all. What's the point of saying 'channel up' or 'TV off' etc. when you can just use a remote. If TVs are going to have voice control, we want it to add some value to the experience. Instead, Samsung's voice-controlled TV feels like a cheap gimmick.
Nokia's new Lumia 900, which is reportedly due to launch in March, was the darling gadget of CES. The company's booth was relatively small, but was constantly packed with people dying to give the Lumia a try. It also won several 'Best In Show' awards from publications like CNET.
PC manufacturers are rushing to catch up with Apple's MacBook Air by offering a slew of new thin and light laptops. We stopped by Intel's booth to check them out. While some like Samsung's Series 5 and Toshiba's Portege are impressive, most of the others are pretty crappy.
We were highly sceptical of Samsung's Galaxy Note when the device was first unveiled overseas. Now that it's coming to the U.S. and we had some hands on time with the device, we've changed our tune. A 5-inch phone/tablet may sound odd, but when you think about how little time you actually spend talking on the phone nowadays, it really makes sense. The stylus is also pretty useful. Handwriting recognition is spot on and there's almost no lag when you write.
We admittedly haven't been keeping up with Sony's gaming plans very much, so we were pleasantly surprised when we got to try out the new PlayStation Vita. The gaming system launches next month and has a brilliant touchscreen display. There's also a touch-sensitive backing that adds a great new dynamic to gameplay.
Verizon is continuing its big LTE push. So is Sprint. But as the two carriers churn out Android phone after Android phone, they're missing out on the next big thing: Windows Phone. Yes, Verizon has one Windows Phone model, but it's missing out on the sexy new LTE devices like Nokia's Lumia 900.
We were blown away by Microsoft's Windows 8, the new OS launching later this year. This isn't the same old boring Windows design you've been using for over a decade. It's fresh, functional, and runs well on both tablets and PCs.
We can't wait to try it when the preview version launches next month.