CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

Summary: The CES is already winding down in Sin City and as expected tablets were the hot ticket items. Here's my short list of the most innovative mobile gadgets at the CES 2011.

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The CES is already winding down in Sin City and as expected tablets were the hot ticket items. We don't always get to see innovative products at the big show, but this year a few unique gadgets caught my eye. Two of the devices making the innovative gadget list use mobile technology in unique ways, and with the expected glut of tablets a couple stood out from the pack making the list. Here's my short list of the most innovative mobile gadgets at the CES 2011.

Larry Dignan points out that Motorola Mobility had a good show this year, and as two of Motorola's new products made my list I tend to agree. Last year I had the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with Motorola Mobility's CEO Sanjay Jha about future innovation at the company, and he impressed me with his clear understanding that me-too products were not good enough in the competitive mobile space. The two gadgets making this year's innovative gadget roundup refreshingly show the RaZR is a thing of the past and the company is clearly looking to stand out from the crowd.

Motorola's XOOM tablet is a solid entry into the soon-to-be crowded Android tablet field. The XOOM will be released by Verizon in the U.S. running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), Google's first version designed to handle tablets. The hardware in the XOOM shows the typical Motorola attention to detail, from the Nvidia dual-core processor to the 3G connectivity that can be upgraded to Verizon's 4G network. Motorola will offer accessories designed to extend the usefulness of the XOOM including a wireless keyboard and media dock to connect to a TV.

I have already designated the Motorola Atrix 4G and laptop dock as my pick for the best gadget of the CES and that selection still stands. The Atrix 4G smartphone cements Motorola's commitment to Nvidia as it also has a dual-core Tegra processor like the XOOM. The phone is a solid Android smartphone, but the magic starts when it is plugged into the laptop dock. The dock uses the processor, storage and memory of the phone to comprise a system with long battery life for those who find a full laptop is overkill. The Atrix and dock are optimized for online activities, for those times when a phone display and keyboard are just not sufficient. The Atrix will be sold through AT&T in the U.S., but no word has been given for pricing of the laptop dock.

Moving away from Motorola, the last gadget making my list comes from stodgy Lenovo, maker of the ThinkPad line of notebooks. The LePad Android tablet shown at CES would not make this list alone, but when paired with the U1 hybrid notebook shell it stands out from the crowd. I first saw this combo at last year's CES but Lenovo decided to hold off with the market release. This delay is the result of dropping its original proprietary Linux distro in the tablet, in favor of a highly customized Android distro in the current model. The LePad tablet is a full Android tablet that doubles as the display for the U1 hybrid notebook shell when popped into that unit. The U1 shell has a full Intel processor and Windows 7 onboard, so when the Android tablet is plugged into the shell the duo becomes a full Windows notebook. Lenovo has done a good job making the transition from one OS (and processor) to the other very seamless. Lenovo is readying the pair (sold separately) for China release shortly, with the rest of the world coming "later". The only down side to this innovative product is the pricing, with both units costing $1,800 as per Lenovo.

Topics: CES, Verizon, Tablets, Mobility, Mobile OS, Lenovo, Laptops, Hardware, Android, 4G

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9 comments
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  • Motorola Atrix 4G looks to be an interesting evolution

    I own a Celio Redfly so the concept of "docking" a smartphone to a laptop is not at all new to me. The good thing about the Redfly is that it worked over Bluetooth or USB so 1 Redfly worked with [b]any[/b] Windows Mobile phone.

    Once again we see MS fueling innovation. :)
    NonZealot
    • RE: CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

      @NonZealot Yes, fueling it with no actual Windows Phone 7 sales figures, tooting about Kinect and Windows 7 (so 2009)...

      FAIL from Redmond.
      cyberslammer2
      • They report sales just as Apple does.

        @cyberslammer2
        Have you ever noticed they don't tell you [i]actual[/i] sales numbers?

        With AppleTV, version 1 they never said how many where sold because the product was redesignated "a hobby".
        That Apple groups together iPod and iPhone sales together as a [i]total[/i] when the iphone was first released.
        They also say that sales of Macs "rose" by a particular percentage while never really telling anyone how many where initially or actually sold.

        They tend to group low selling products in with everything else to hide that actuall numbers of units sold.

        Are [i]these[/i] the sales figures you were talking about?
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

        @cyberslammer2 - What consumer really cared about sales numbers. Only the bitheads with nothing else to chart even care. This back and forth about actual v. non-actual sales figures is more tiresome than teenage tweebs talking about girls they'll never ever get. If you want real sales numbers get to know someone (personally) at MS that can give you the facts. Absent that, its all speculation - Booooooooorrrrrrrrrrring!!!!
        andrej770
  • Folio Anyone?

    Just sayin'...
    jgpmolloy
  • Me too innovation??

    I don't see innovation here. Just the masses following the leader.
    wackoae
  • RE: CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

    I agree with James. It is also the gadget of show for me too.

    I think some of the commenters are missing the point of the Atrix, its ultimate mobility in the superphone form factor with a FULL desktop browser when docked. I'm pretty sure there is no Redfly connected device that provides full desktop browser capabilities.
    GuyOnTech
  • RE: CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

    I have to say, after watching a rep go through the demo of the Atrix moving from powering a desktop computer type setup, to powering the laptop, to powering the TV, my mind was officially blown. The tablets were just more of the same in thinner boxes running slightly faster stuff, but the Atrix concept was the one thing that really just blew my mind. And to think, it might even make it to market, unlike so many things I got excited about from last year's show.
    violajack
  • RE: CES: Most Innovative Gadget Roundup

    I agree about the Atrix and the Xoom, but Lenovo's hybrid doesn't make sense to me the way the old HP T1100 hybrid. Taking it out of the keyboard is the very moment when I want Windows 7, as violajack noted elsewhere, people don't realize (I know you do, James) how awesome Journal especially OneNote are.
    bluespapa