CES 2012 highlights: what you need to know
Updated: Phones, cameras, computing, TV, gaming and more
WORLD OF TECH NEWS
By Dean Evans
The world's greatest tech show - CES 2012 - kicked off on Monday 9 January (if you're a show obsessive, note that's a week later than usual).
Running until Thursday, the show sees the entire tech world descend on Las Vegas. We'll be hearing from the biggest names in tech to talk about their plans for 2012. The show covers more than 1.8 million square feet and has more than 140,000 attendees from across the globe.
As for every CES, TechRadar will be there getting hands on with the hardware that matters and bringing you the latest breaking news from the show. We have a dedicated CES 2012 channel where you can keep up with all the news.
Here are our CES 2012 highlights…
The biggest news at CES 2012
LG unveils stunning 55-inch OLED TVSteve Ballmer gives last ever Microsoft keynote at CESMicrosoft announces Kinect for PCSony develops new Crystal LED tech to rival OLEDIntel promises touch-enabled Ultrabooks
CES 2012: Tablets
Without an Apple presence at CES, it's a chance for other manufacturers to show off their tablet devices. But there's not the rush of iPad rivals that you might expect. Poor sales of Android tablets seem to have made the big electronics giants more cautious.
That said, this week we've seen the Acer Iconia Tab A700, which will come packing Ice Cream Sandwich and a huge quad-core processor. Nice.
Toshiba has also jumped back into tablet waters with the new Excite 10, a stylish 10.1-inch Android slab that boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core TI processor and a 1280x800 pixel display.
But it's Lenovo that has turned heads and widened eyes with its two tablet models. There's an Asus Transformer-alike IdeaPad S2 running Ice Cream Sandwich and the quad-core Tegra 3-powered IdeaPad K2, which looks an exciting bit of kit.
What of RIM? Rather than unveil a new Playbook model (that would be sheer madness), the beleaguered Blackberry builder has upgraded its tablet software to version 2.0. We wish we had some groundbreaking features to report. We don't. See for yourself.
CES 2012: Phones
While most manufacturers will be saving their big phone launches until Mobile World Congress in February, several new smartphones have been been spotted on the plush Vegas carpets.
Having absorbed Ericsson into the Sony hive mind, the newest Xperia handsets are the first without any Ericsson branding. The Sony Xperia S is essentially a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc with HD - a 4.3-inch Reality Display (1280 x 700 pixels), a 12MP camera and the promise of Ice Cream Sandwich in Q2.
You can also say hello to the new Sony Xperia Ion, a PlayStation-certified, dual-core (1.5GHz) smart phone with 16GB of internal storage and a 12MP rear camera.
Elsewhere, HTC has upgraded the Titan for AT&T. The HTC Titan 2 is the Same 4.7-inch, 1.5GHz Windows Phone that you might be indifferent to. But it's been souped up with a 16MP snapper, wide angle lens, dual LED flash and LTE support.
The US also gets the Nokia Lumia 800 dressed up as the Nokia Lumia 900. What's new? It's LTE-powered, larger screened (4.3 inches) and has a better front camera.
The LG Spectrum catches the eye with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD that rivals the Retina display on the iPhone 4. While the the Huawei Ascend P1 S and Ascend P1 trumpet Super AMOLED screens and the thinnest chassis on the market.
CES 2012: Laptops
Think the laptop is dead? Far from it. Acer launched the 13.3-inch Aspire S5during its CES 2012 press conference and promised Windows 8 Ultrabooks in the second half of the year.
Forget netbooks, chromebooks and desktop replacement systems. Ultrabooks that pay design homage to Apple's skinny Macbook Air are the new laptop form factor of choice.
Lenovo, for example, has unwrapped its good looking IdeaPad U Series ultrabooks at this year's show - the 13-inch U310 model weighs in at 1.7kg and has a thickness of only 18mm.
Intel believes that tablets can't replace laptop computers and that we'll be even happier with a convertible Ultrabook that runs Windows 8 (and is powered by Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs. Obviously).
HP's Ultrabook effort is the Envy 14 Spectre, which incorporates a roomier 14-inch (1600x900 pixel) panel and is only 21mm thick. Under the hood there's an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, and a 128GB hard drive.
Samsung, meanwhile, joins the Ultrabook club with its Series 5 devices, which will be available in 13- and 14-inch variants with 2nd generation Intel Core i5 engines and Radeon HD graphics.
Samsung also rolled out the second generation of its Series 9 laptops with a refined 'aerodynamic design'.
But the prize for strangest laptop surely goes to Intel's Nikiski see-through notebook. It isn't an Ultrabook (although a thinner version is planned). But it does feature a clever glass touchpad that doubles up as a touchscreen when you close the lid (see below).
CES 2012: HDTVs
Despite the popularity of tablets and smartphones, CES has always been about TVs. Bigger TVs, thinner TVs, Full HD TVs, 4K TVs, OLED TVs and smart Internet-connected TVs. CES 2012 is no different.
One of the stars of the show is LG's new 4mm-thick 55-inch OLED HDTV, which has got Vegas crowds dribbling down their free promotional T-shirts. 4mm. That's thinner than your smartphone. It's quite simply stunning.
Not to be outdone (although it clearly has been), Samsung also promises a 55-inch OLED telly of its own. Could this finally be the year that OLED becomes more than a headline-grabbing technology demo? Our fingers are crossed. Again. Just like last year...
As for Sony, it pressganged Hollywood star Will Smith to look impressed by its prototype Crystal LED technology. Fusing LCD and OLED, the futuristic TV works by packing in six million LEDs to give it OLED levels of clarity, colour and brightness.
In the battle of the BIG screens, LG and Sharp battled it out for the 'biggest 3D TV of the show' award. Sharp came close with its 80-incher, but LG just nabbed the gong with its 84-inch ultra definition (3840 x 2160) set. The 1mm bezel "enhances the illusion that the 3D is borderless."
And if you think 4K2K TV is good, Sharp's prototype 8K panel boasts 7680 x 4320 pixels – that 16x the resolution of HD.
Of course, the next generation of TVs will also be smarter. Sony has plans to play around with Google TV STBs, while Opera has unveiled more about its television app store.
While we wait for an Apple iTV, Lenovo used CES to demonstrate a port of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on a 55-inch TV.
Panasonic, meanwhile, enlisted the help of Justin Timberlake to launch MySpace TV, which will feature on new Viera HDTVs. Does anybody still use MySpace? And can any of them afford a TV? We're not convinced.
CES 2012: Home entertainment
Pico projectors may not have the lustre they had when first released but there's certain companies which keep churning out the pint-sized product again and again.
If you want Apple's AirPlay but don't want to spend hundreds replacing the speakers you've already spent hundreds on, Griffin has a treat for you.
CES 2012: Cameras
What can photographers expect to see at CES?