It's official. This is the year of the tablet. Companies all over are trying to make the next iPad, a slim, easy-to-use Web-surfing machine that turns your finger into something like a computer mouse.
This overgrown iPhone without the phone has spawned a host of similar devices — more than 80 tablets were introduced at the vaunted Consumer Electronics Show in early January — and the one getting the most pub is the Motorola Xoom (motorola.com/xoom, price to be announced). It tops the iPad specs-wise, with the horsepower of a computer, the ability to connect to an HDTV, 4G connectivity and two cameras (the iPad has none).
It's just one of the things people are going to want in 2011. Here are three others that haven't gotten as much recognition, but will definitely get a look for me as the year goes on:
Bringrr: If you've ever walked out of the house without your phone — who hasn't? — you'll want to consider this device, which plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and alerts you if you drive away without your phone. It pairs with your Bluetooth-enabled phone and can charge your phone while you're on the go. ($30 for the non-charging Bringrr, $40 for the charging model; bringrr.com.)
LookeeTV: Here's an answer for those who want a TV in the kitchen but without all the fuss. Lookee TV fits on the countertop and connects to your Wi-Fi network to play more than 2,000 TV channels and more than 30,000 radio stations from the Internet. It also streams video, music and photos from the PC and — this sounds cool — connects to a TV via composite or component cables, supporting resolutions up to 720 by 480 pixels (that's DVD-quality). ($150, expected in larger retail stores in March.)
UltraViolet: Many big TV and movie studios hope to cash in by making it easier for you to enjoy their shows on as many devices as possible. If you buy a movie or a media file that sports the UltraViolet logo, you can register that content in an online account so you and your family can watch that content anytime, anywhere, on any device that has the UltraViolet logo. The entertainment industry, seeing profits decline from DVD sales, is trying to position itself for the next 20 years. We'll see the dawn of UltraViolet this summer. For more information, visit uvvu.com.
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