Behind the big stands of the Samsungs, Sonys and SanDisks of this world lie the thousands of the smaller gadgets that make CES the rich tech fest that it is. It's normally here you'll find the most interesting bits and bobs and this year was no exception.
The show's theme of the wireless home was expressed nowhere better than with eCoupled who demonstrated how easy and probably lethal life in the home could be if we all embedded chips in our furniture.
With files and folders the key possessions of the future, it was up to the IoSafe Solo to demonstrate how well it could look after our assets come rain, wind, snow, fire, two-storey building collapse and 30ft of water, the last of which could probably power an entire home for a year if the Hydrofill had anything to do with it.
On the computing side of things, it was Windows 7 causing everyone to go touchscreen mad - so much so that we're even getting rather cute little multitouch peripherals now too from companies like evoMouse. But, for something slightly more sedate and understandable, it was good to see Logitech improve the Lapdesk to the point where it now runs decent audio too. Perfect for vegging out anywhere your bottom takes you.
The gadgets that really caught our eyes, though, were...
Star of the Show: Light Touch Projector
- 10-inch WVGA projection
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
- Battery life
- 2 hours
- 2GB + microSD slot
It may not be available until an OEM picks it up, but it was the Light Touch projector from Blue Optics that stole hearts, captured imagination and glued eyes. Everyone loves a touchscreen, so a projector that can turn any surface whatsoever into just that was always going to impress.
The idea is that you connect it the Internet or your phone over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and interface with the thrown light courtesy of the IR projection that's also chucked out at the same time. Like all good concepts, no one's quite sure how the technology is going to be best applied, but full credit to this UK-based firm for wowing the crowds.
Future Flier: The Android Microwave
On the surface, a silly idea. At the heart of it, only slightly less so. The idea is that, if there were any appropriate apps, you could get download specific programs for perfect cooking of whatever you want to put in there or an app to feed back to the Android microwave to maintain optimum performance. More than anything, the idea is that you can apply the theory of software and services to just about any appliance.
Top of the Flops: ION iType
People will buy this, but jamming a light-weight, sleek mobile internet device into a mains wired desktop dock doesn't really seem like the stuff that the future is made of - especially when it looks like a ZX Spectrum and feels like a lump of cheap tatt. How about just using a laptop?
The Best of the Rest
The world's first portable TV with an AMOLED screen would be quite a toy to have. The 3.4-inch 480 x 272px display has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and battery life of 2.5 hours to pick up free to air digital TV. Dolby sound and headphones jack included.
The Powermat made a dubious arrival at CES 2009 but this time around the company has had the sense to dispense with the clunky mobile phone cases and instead develop a series of Li-ion batteries that make any handset chargeable by magnetic induction.
So which was your favourite and what will you be holding out for from CES 2010? Let us know in the comments.