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Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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CES 2009 Preview: Consumer Electronics Show Gadget Gallery

Check out 50 photos of the hottest new digital-video systems, smartphones, and PCs -- including SlingCatcher, Maingear's media center, Callpod's Chargepod, and a $2,500 electronic massage chair -- in our advance look at the 2009 International CES.

The 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show, which has assumed the mantle of the must-go-to event now that Comdex is no more, got an early start this week. While the event itself kicks off on January 8 in Las Vegas, a gaggle of CES exhibitors took the wraps off their wares in a press showcase in New York City.

If the displays were any indication, the playing field may be heavily tilted towards digital video and all manner of smartphones.

Bud*Bud earpieces have dual earbuds for sharing.
(click for larger image and full CES gallery)

Innovative methods of routing video dominated the CES preview. Sling Media showed off its SlingCatcher, which wirelessly routes video from a PC to any television in your house. The digital-video device smartly solves an often-unacknowledged problem. Namely, how do you watch an iTunes-rented movie from a comfortable position? Rather than having to sit at your computer or contort your body to face the PC's display, SlingCatcher funnels the video to its most natural output device.

Utilitarian video of another sort was in the spotlight at the preview. Archerfish accented a perhaps unexciting nevertheless highly functional computer-controlled security system aimed at homes and small businesses. Going beyond standard motion detection, the setup can be alarmed to notify users if, for example, a person is lurking near your car, or even if a wayward auto has blocked your driveway.

Electronically controlled massage chair.
(click for larger image and full CES gallery)

On the consumer telecomm front, Samsung and Motorola served notice that they intend to compete vigorously with Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's Blackberry. Both vendors showed off a bevy of smartphones and Bluetooth headsets, and a multitude of new offerings will be on display at CES.

PCs also had a place at the preview, though largely in the video-friendly role as media-center consoles. Maingear emphasized its Axess HD media center, a Windows Vista-based system powered by AMD's heavy duty Phenom X4 9550 quad-core processor.

Click on the link to see our complete gallery of 49 pictures from the 2009 CES press preview.

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