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A look at the most exciting gadgets of CES 2009

Its name may be the Consumer Electronics Show, but this year's event had plenty to excite business users. ZDNet UK takes a look at the most interesting innovations at CES 2009
By David Meyer, Contributor
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1 of 6 David Meyer/ZDNET

Over the past year, Asus has released what feels like dozens of Eee netbook models. The Eee range has also picked up serious competition from almost every other PC manufacturer.

At CES 2009, however, Asus showed that it is far from running out of ideas. The Eee T91 tablet netbook, pictured above, is one example. Aside from its swivelling screen, the device's specifications are not too different from those of other 8.9-inch-screened netbooks, but that multitouch screen is a feature we are likely to see reoccur in other netbooks — particularly when we see Windows 7 appear in a year's time.

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2 of 6 David Meyer/ZDNET

Having already built an Eee PC into a monitor, Asus has now done something similar with the Eee Keyboard.

Inside, the device is a fairly standard Eee PC, using a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 16GB or 32GB of solid-state storage. However, the Eee Keyboard has no display beyond its five-inch touchscreen — the intention is to hook the machine up to a television set and use it as a media centre. This can be done using either the wired HDMI connector or the keyboard's built-in, ultrawideband-based, wireless HDMI connectivity.

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They have been around for the best part of a decade, but Secure Digital (SD) cards have evolved yet again.

The first evolution past the original specification was SDHC (High Capacity), which took capacities up to 32GB. However, the new SDXC (eXtended Capacity) format, announced on Wednesday, should have a maximum capacity of 2TB — larger than most of the external hard drives people use today.

The new format will, according to the SD Association industry body, be ideal for professional photographers or those who want to have 100 high-definition movies on their handset.

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4 of 6 David Meyer/ZDNET

Sony has always denied any intention of producing a netbook, but the Vaio P — billed as a 'lifestyle PC' — has had commentators in a quandary.

Introduced at CES, the Vaio P has many of the qualities of a netbook — the low-powered Atom processor, small screen, light weight and solid-state storage option are examples — but a couple of features set it apart from the standard 'netbook' crowd. One is its use of Vista rather than XP or Linux, but the greatest difference must surely be its price. At a starting price of £849, the Vaio P will cost more than twice as much as rivals such as Samsung's NC10 or the Eee 901.

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Netbooks were originally introduced as consumer devices but, thanks to their cost and portability, have always had potential for the business user.

HP's latest, the Mini 2140, is explicitly billed as a business netbook. Launched at CES on Monday, the machine has a brushed aluminium chassis and includes corporate-style features such as 802.11n Wi-Fi and HP's DriveGuard technology. DriveGuard uses an accelerometer to warn the hard drive if the netbook has been dropped, quickly parking the disk before the PC hits the ground.

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From the outside, HP's Pavilion dv2 looks like a standard, multimedia-oriented, ultraportable laptop. The innovation, however, lies inside — the machine is the first to use AMD's new chip bundle for what it calls 'ultra-thin' notebooks.

Ultra-thin notebooks, according to AMD, are cheaper than full ultraportables but more powerful than netbooks. The dv2 is a case in point, as it has a 12.1-inch screen and 1.6GHz Athlon Neo processor, but can also handle high-definition graphics and run Windows Vista.

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