Each and every January, what seems like, the entire consumer electronics industry gathers for CES in Las Vegas. Companies hawk their goods like Dickensian market flower girls, retailers root out the hottest products like wild boars snuffling for truffles, and journalists get mind-bogglingly drunk and fall off expensively rented VIP tables.
However, before the madness begins, the organisers study, mull over and ruminate on what they believe will be the best gear on show, asking a panel of judges made up of industry wigs both big and otherwise on their opinions along the way. And the final honourees, the crème de la crème will take pride of place in the Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Showcase in the lobby of the convention centre during the show.
The awards are split into many categories, some familiar to Pocket-lint readers, some alien, and many products are listed as also rans. But, only the best get into the Best of Innovations final run-down, after all it's got "best" in the title.
Among those honoured for the 2011 event are the HTC Evo 4G which has been wowing owners stateside for a while, the Kodak PlaySport Video Camera (currently available on Firebox.com for £99.99), and Sony's Google TV offerings. Kinect also wins an award in the Electronic Gaming Hardware category, and the Jabra Stone2 Bluetooth set takes top honours in Wireless Handsets Accessories.
CES Innovations Awards 2011: Best Innovations full list
Audio Components: Classe CA-M600 Power Amplifier
Computer Hardware: Digital Storm Black|OPS with 3D Vision Surround Technology
Computer Peripherals: HP Photosmart eStation
Digital Imaging: Kodak PlaySport Video Camera
Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology: Joos Orange
Electronic Gaming Hardware: Kinect for Xbox 360
Enabling Technologies: DisplayLink Interactive Networked Graphics Chip
Online Audio/Video Content: Sony Internet TV & Blu-ray Disc Player Powered by Google TV
Headphones: Sleek Audio SA7 Wireless Hybrid Earphones
Health and Wellness: Etymotic Electronic BlastPLG Earplugs
High Performance Audio: Magico Q5
Home Theater Accessories: MonsterVision Max 3D Glasses
Home Theater Speakers: GoldenEar SuperCinema 3
In-Vehicle Audio/Video: Audiovox Mobile MultiView Cam with Pedestrian Warning
In-Vehicle Accessories: Firstech DroneMobile
Integrated Home Systems: Trane ComfortLink II Thermostat
Major Home Appliances: Kenmore Elite Dishwasher with Interactive Color LCD Controls
Personal Electronics: Dynamics Card 2.0
Personal Electronics: Recon Instruments Transcend
Portable Multimedia Accessories: Belkin Grip 360° + Stand
Portable Power: GE Wattstation
Wireless Handsets: HTC Evo 4G
Wireless Handsets Accessories: Jabra Stone2
For more info, and to see the other products nominated in each category, visit cesweb.org.
What do you think of the list? Any glaring omissions? Let us know in the comments below...