Tech heavyweights kick off the year at CES

The economy may be sliding but innovation at Asia's tech giants is alive and well.

Sony's VAIO P.

Sony's VAIO P.

Sony Cybershot G3

Sony's latest Wi-Fi-equipped Cybershot camera, the G3, now packs a Web browser. That means users can upload images and video from the camera directly to Web sites, so long as they are near a Wi-Fi connection. The camera has 4GB of built-in memory, a 10.1-megapixel image sensor and a 4X-optical zoom. Sony has teamed with sites including Shutterfly, Picasa and YouTube on its Easy Upload service. Like all Sony cameras it uses MemoryStick media cards. It is available now in the U.S. for $500.

Casio fast-shutter, slim camera

Casio unveiled a small, thin digital camera that features its innovative fast-shooting function, which has been available until now only on larger models. The EX-FC100 camera is 16mm thick and can manage burst-shooting at up to 30 frames per second and high-speed movies at up to 1,000fps. The high-speed picture mode allows for all sorts of neat tricks, such as the ability to shoot a bunch of pictures in close succession and then pick the best shot, while the high-speed movie mode produces a super-slow-motion effect when the video is played back at standard 30-frame-per-second speed. It shoots at 9.1-megapixel resolution and is out in March for around US$350.

TransferJet

TransferJet could revolutionize the way we hook up gadgets. It's a high-speed (375Mbps), short-range (about 3 cm) wireless technology that is intended to replace things like USB cables. It debuted last year on the booth of inventor Sony, but a consortium has since formed around the technology and Toshiba was demonstrating it this year. The Toshiba prototypes include a PDA (personal digital assistant) and a television adapter (pictured). When the PDA is brought close to the TransferJet pad, the images inside are automatically transferred to a TV connected to the pad and appear on screen. The first products are due later this year or in 2010.

Panasonic portable Blu-ray Disc

Last year at CES the battle between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD was still big news. Twelve months later and not only has that ended, but we're seeing the first portable Blu-ray Disc player. The DMP-B15 has an 8.9-inch screen with 1024-by-600 pixel resolution and will run for about three hours on battery power. That's long enough to get through almost every movie on the market, and even two if they're short. Also included is Viera Cast Internet access and BD Live support, and you can watch movies off an SD Card too. It's due in the U.S. in May at a price yet to be announced.

Samsung thin TV

Flat-panel TV makers are locked in a battle to make ever-thinner sets, and it was Samsung that delivered the slimmest at CES. Its new Luxia sets are between 6.5 and 7 millimeters thick across the body and were demonstrated in screen sizes of 55, 46 and 40 inches. The sets have an LED backlight, which means they use a bank of LEDs behind the screen to create the light shone through to illuminate the image on the display. Samsung hasn't announced when they might be available.

Sony Flexible OLED

A flexible color OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen that could be used in future highly portable electronics devices was one of the R&D highlights at Sony's booth. The 2.5-inch screen was manufactured on a thin sheet of plastic, so it's 0.2 millimeters thick and can be gently bent while it's showing video. The prototype screen has a 160-by-120 pixel resolution and weighs just 1.5 grams. It's not likely to appear in products for several years.

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