Each January I get gadget lust the week of CES; it's not just because the gadgets are cool--it's because you really can see how the future and even human behavior is evolving is changing because of technology.
Some of my favorite gadgets this year?
I love the idea of the tablet; this year is supposed to be the year of the tablet; unfortunately most of the tablets look and act the same. Lenovo has a pretty impressive hybrid netbook that's screen completely detaches from it's frame; it's a great concept, but I'm not crazy about how it turns into a Linux computer when it's detached, and is Windows 7 when attached. I was more blown away by MSI's dual screen concept; the computer puts a full-size touch screen keyboard on one of the screens (see pictures below); this concept can really go a lot of different directions, so it's something I'll keep an eye on in coming months. I currently use a MSI netbook, and it's a solid startup company.
Another wicked cool concept at the trade show is the Light Touch Pico Projector; this computer projects a 10 inch touch screen computer onto a flat service. I could see this sort of thing (if the price is right) working in kitchens, coffee tables, or any place with limited space.
I will be honest, the next concept is honestly one of the dumbest things I've ever seen and I'd never buy it--but it's still crazy what they've done. It's a transparent laptop by Samsung.
Sony pulled a Chumby this year with it's Internet alarm clock (?). It's $200, which I think is about $150 too much, but it's still a glimpse into the clocks of the future.
eReaders, like tablets, offered a wide array of pretty unimpressive devices. All of them basically do the same things Amazon's Kindle has been doing for 2 years (aside from the obscenely overpriced color one). One that had promise was the Skiff. It's not exactly innovating, but it does seem to be the perfect solution for people who want to read newspapers and magazines electronically (it's a better size than other devices). I suspect it will lose interest when the price is announced--my guess is it will be 400 to 600, which is just too much for most consumers.
Microsoft usually does little to impress me (mostly because they announced things people have known about for months). xBox's Napal is kind of cool, but it's not like they haven't explained this concept before. The best from MS I've seen is the Arc Keyboard. It's not exactly revolutionary, but it's more stylist than anything else they did this year.