Here's what caught our eye at CES, plus some of the devices we would have liked to see.
LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- This year's Consumer Electronics Show was the biggest yet with major launches from more than 3,100 companies as attendees were bombarded with a seemingly endless number of Ultrabooks, smartphones, tablets and OLED TVs.
Companies such as Nokia(:NOK), LG, Casio, Samsung and Lenovo were out in force during the event, showcasing their latest, greatest technologies.
Read on for some of the hottest technologies at CES 2012 ...
LG's 55-Inch 3D OLED TV
I talked about how breathtaking this product was on TheStreet's new Tech Trends blog earlier this week, but after viewing it again, I can now officially say I think it may change the way we watch TV forever. Everywhere I went at CES from the floor, to the parties and receptions, people were buzzing about the stunning picture quality of this device.
Casio's Relief Painting Technology
While it's unclear if this service will ever be sold to the general public (and also whether consumers would really want it), I was impressed by Casio's 3D photo technology which enables 2D snapshots to come to life without the use of special glasses. The company demonstrated their technology by displaying photos of cats and dogs that seemed to leap out of the wall.
LG's Smart Manager Refrigerator
Showcased at CES, LG's Smart Refrigerator really deserves some praise. The fridge works with the owners' smartphone app to display a list of food inside, as well as their location and expiration date. It recommends dishes that can be cooked using the items inside the fridge, offers online grocery shopping directly from the fridge's LCD panel, or a smartphone, and helps you diet. The best part: the fridge even includes a "blast cooler" that can chill a bottle of beer in less than five minutes and bottle of wine in eight minutes.
Samsung's Galaxy Note
Samsung's Galaxy Note combines the portability of a smartphone with a tablet's large display to create a category all of its own. The 5.3-inch device, which runs on Google's (:GOOG) Android 2.3 operating system, also includes a stylus (called the "S Pen") which allows users to jot down notes and sketch pictures while they're on the go. The S Pen is designed to be as precise as a real pen and is pressure sensitive, meaning the harder you press on it, the thicker the line.
During CES, Samsung demonstrated the S Pen's capabilities by featuring cartoonists who sketched caricatures of conference goers using the device.
The Galaxy Note reminded us of a more advanced PDA. Its native apps include a scheduling program called S Planner, and S Memo, which lets users record ideas in all different formats, such as text, voice, photos and handwritten notes.
As expected, Nokia launched its Lumia 900 phone at CES, the Finnish handset maker's first Windows offering to feature 4G LTE connectivity. Nokia's third Lumia smartphone, the blogosphere had been awash with chatter about the Lumia 900, also rumored to be called the Nokia 'Ace'.
The latest addition to the Lumia family has a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display (which Nokia describes as its largest display), a 1.4-GHz processor, and a main camera containing exclusive optics from famed German lens specialist Carl Zeiss. The device will be available via AT&T(:T).
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Lenovo's oddly-shaped laptop sits in stark contrast to many of the sophisticated, business-like ultrabooks debuting at CES: it's fun (well, that's how the company characterizes it). Part tablet, part ultrabook, the Yoga features a 360-degree flip-and-fold design that allows users to switch back and forth between using a touchscreen and a keyboard, which doubles as a stand.
The device features a 13.3-inch screen, runs on Windows 8 and allegedly gets eight hours of battery life. Prices and release dates weren't announced.
And here's what we didn't see ...
Apple's(:AAPL) iPad 3:
We all know that Apple snubs CES every year, but that doesn't mean we can't dream about seeing the iPad 3 magically turn up.
Rumors continue to abound about the iPad 3 -- in fact a prototype of the device was supposedly circulating at CES. The tablet reportedly looks similar to the iPad 2 but with an improved camera. Reportedly shipping between February and March, the iPad 3 may also have Siri capabilities, better battery life and minor hardware upgrades.
Despite a slew of gorgeous, massive TVs from makers like LG, Panasonic and Samsung, the most buzzed about product wasn't even at CES this year: The Apple TV.
Rumors about an alleged iTV began to circulate last year when the Steve Jobs biography hinted the late Apple founder had "cracked" the code on making an Internet-enabled set.
Possible features for the product include voice controlled channel surfing, streaming sync between iOS devices and DVR storage within iCloud.
Samsung's Galaxy S3:
The highly anticipated Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S3 is set to compete with Apple's iPhone 5. The device, expected to be released at this year's Mobile World Congress in February, is rumored to run on a quad-core chip made by ARM Holdings(:ARMH) which will allow for multi-tasking. The handset is also rumored to have 3D display and a large 4.65-inch screen (which may even be bendy and flexible).
The phone is the newest model in the successful Samsung Galaxy S series, which has sold more than 30 million units worldwide since its launch.
Sony's(:SNE) PlayStation 4:
Sony's much buzzed about PlayStation 4 didn't make an appearance at CES, nor will it be at video game trade show E3, the company said.
Sony typically has a 10-year lifecycle for its consoles, meaning the 5-year old PlayStation 3 still has a few more years before it's replaced. The PlayStation 3 has sold more than 50 million units since its launch in 2006.
The PlayStation 4 is rumored to include a movement-based controller, similar to the Kinect.
--Written by Olivia Oran in Las Vegas.
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