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From seriously fast phones and tablets to better 3D TVs and PCs, here are the 13 products that will make a significant difference this year.
Best in Show
Okay, so the [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215751/nvidias_keg_pc_casemod_need_we_say_more.html|Beer Keg Computers]] and the [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215750/mint_robots_bust_a_move.html|Dancing Robotic Floor Cleaners]] are what make CES so much fun. But they aren't the products that will really change the technology world this year. That honor goes to the Big Deals, the game changing products that everyone will want. Here's our list of the biggest Big Deals from the opening days of CES.
Motorola Droid Bionic
The [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215732/motorola_rolls_out_droid_bionic_verizons_first_4g_lte_phone.html|Motorola Droid Bionic]] is probably the most impressive phone we've seen with its 4.3-inch display, dual-core processor and support for Verizon's LTE network.
LG Optimus Black
Following closely behind the Droid Bionic is the [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/215621/worlds_thinnest_smartphone_lg_says_new_optimus_black_is_it.html|LG Optimus Black]], an incredibly thin and powerful dual-core phone. LG says it's the slimmest phone in the world (of course, that depends in part on how you measure it). The company also brags about the NOVA display, which it says is brighter, higher contrast and uses less power.
The suspense in the world of tablets revolves around whether devices based on the Android OS can successfully challenge the domination of Apple's iPad. One of the first real tests will be the [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215716/motorola_xoom_android_30_tablet_announced_let_the_tablet_wars_begin.html|Motorola Xoom]], a tablet about the same size and weight of the iPad that will run Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb"), along with Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform, using a dual-core 1GHz processor. The Xoom should be out by the end of March. And you'll be able to update the hardware to support 4G speeds later in the year.
The [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215794/blackberry_playbook_a_video_introduction.html|Blackberry Playbook]] will test whether there's room for more than two operating systems in the tablet field. The Playbook, also due in the first quarter, runs the company's own tablet OS (the result of RIM's acquisition of QNX earlier this year). It also has a [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/206392/blackberry_playbook_vs_ipad_vs_galaxy_tab.html|dual-core, 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.]]
Vizio Polarized 3D TVs
Consumers haven't been very excited about 3D TVs so far, and for a few good reasons. The 3D effects aren't nearly as good as those at the movie theater. Plus you have to wear heavy, expensive active shutter glasses that make you look like a dork.
[[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215535/handson_with_vizios_new_theater_3d_hdtvs.html|Vizio's new E-series, M-series, and XVT-series TVs]] don't make a huge leap in terms of the quality of the 3D images, but they use polarized glasses that are lighter, cheaper and can actually look stylish.
LG's Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) 3D TVs
These are [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215746/handson_with_lgs_film_patterned_retarder_fpr_3d_tv.html|LG's versions of polarized 3D TVs]]. Again, the glasses are slimmer, cheaper and less likely to give you a headache. But don't expect 3D that will cause you to jump out of your seat.
Panasonic's revamped connected TV features
Panasonic's new [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215743/panasonic_expands_connected_tv_3d_tv_offerings.html|Viera Connect]] (nee Viera Cast) is a significant expansion in connected TV features. You can use it to watch archives from several sports sites (MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS) as well as use Web apps like Facebook, Napster, Skype, Ustream, and Gameloft. You can even play full online games with the remote for your Panasonic TV.
Lenovo's IdeaCentre B520
The [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215509/ces_2011_lenovo_announces_new_ideacentre_allinones.html|Lenovo IdeaCentre B520]] is just one of the first in what looks to be a significant trend in desktops this year: 3D all-in-ones.
This powerful system features Intel's second-generation Core- i7 processor and it supports Nvidia's 3D Vision. You can watch 3D movies on the B520's Blu-ray drive or do some 3D gaming. The B520 also offers integrated 5.0 speakers, a TV tuner, and can be loaded up with up to 16GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage space.
Olympus XZ-1 Advanced Point-and-Shoot Camera
If you want power in your pocket, the [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215858/olympus_rolls_out_rival_to_canons_s95_and_new_interchangeablelens_camera.html|Olympus XZ-1]] could be the camera for you. This competitor to Canon's PowerShot S95, this 10-megapixel shooter features wider apertures at both wide-angle and telephoto settings than most other cameras in this class. And the control ring around the lens offers fast access to aperture, shutter, and ISO settings.
Sony Handycam HDR-TD10
If you want to shoot the best 3D footage possible, the best choice right now seems to be [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215548/sony_unveils_3d_camcorders_big_and_small.html|Sony's Handycam HDR-TD10]]. This camcorder has not only two lenses, but two image sensors and two processors. That means you should be able to shoot 3D footage at higher resolutions. And you don't need glasses to see the 3D effect on the TD-10's display.
HP Pavilion DM1
The [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215432/hp_announces_fusion_netbook_with_lte.html|HP Pavilion DM1]] promises to be a netbook with much more power than your average netbook. The DM1 runs on Advanced Micro Devices' new Fusion processor, which bundles a graphics chip and CPU into a single piece of silicon. That should give you the ability to watch 1080p video while still getting the marathon battery life you expect from a netbook.
Casio Tryx Camera
If you can do a method air grab or a nosegrind without breaking your neck, you might be interested in [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/215726/casios_shapeshifting_tryx_camera_looks_like_a_treat.html|Casio's shape-shifting Tryx camera]]. The Tryx is just over a half-inch thick and can be bent into lots of interesting shapes to help you capture your latest tricks.