CES 2011 booth tours: the best of the rest

CES: part tech fest, part carnival, and all fun. Sadly we couldn't bring you everything we saw in the booths as they're so full and have become so immense that we'd need the entire week to take it all in; we did, however, drop by a few of the showier booths and take a handful of pics of each for your ocular entertainment. So without further ado, hop past the break and see what the likes of Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Sharp, Panasonic, and more had to offer at CES 2011.

Polaroid. Many (if not all) of us agree: there was something really compelling about Polaroid instant cameras and the surreal images they took. They allowed us to see what we shot almost immediately and long before digital pics rolled around. Polaroid made a pretty glittery appearance at CES -- with Lady Gaga in tow -- to demo the Grey Label GL30 Instant Camera, GL10 Printer, and GL20 Camera Glasses. Have a peek about the booth in the little gallery that follows, won't you?


Samsung. Okay, we can't possibly cover all the glory that was Samsung's booth here at CES 2011, but suffice it to say simply standing in the middle of its immense booth gave us shivers. Pivoting left or right from the tower dominating the booth were such notables as the Infuse 4G for AT&T, 7 Series Sliding PC, Series 9, Smart TV and Remote, and even refrigerators -- go figure, we didn't get hands-on with those.


Sony. Sony's booth at CES is tucked way back in the furthest reaches of the Central Hall, but they're not hiding for lack of product -- as the gallery demonstrates. Sony Ericsson's Xperia Arc, Playstation Phone leaks, a pile of Cyber-shot goodies, and even a portable glasses-free Blu-ray player were on offer. Other notables included an immense display along the entire back length of the booth and the Green Hornet's bullet-ridden ride.

Sharp. Sharp's booth was dark. Really dark. But instead of cracking our heads on a giant television, we stumbled into what may have been the reason for the darkness: the Information Intelligent Imaging Wall, or i3 Wall -- pronounced "i cubed wall." The wall is actually a hole in the wall and the top, sides, back, and floor are plastered with LCDs: 64 of them. The result is stunning and we can't imagine the joy -- and brutal vertigo -- of gaming on a set up like that. We managed to grab a short video of it and it's worth the peek.

Panasonic. Panasonic's booth was loaded with 3D and gaming demos; it seemed everywhere you walked there were glasses set up on stands in front of giant TVs. No wonder -- Panasonic launched a 3D camcorder and still camera, no less than 18 HD displays, a pile of digital cameras, and of course an Android tablet.


Microsoft. Microsoft's booth had a large footprint, and it had to with Kinect booths set up for people to play demos -- the folks inside looked like fish in an aquarium -- and all sorts of large displays showing off WIndows Phone 7. While there was nothing earth shattering revealed here, we did see its Touch Mouse, some news on Windows Phone 7 updates, Avatar Kinect, a new version of Surface, and confirmation that ARM support is coming to Windows. But all that tech aside, we know you're here for some grossly blown pics due to insane ethereal lighting. Feel free to indulge in the gallery below.


Intel. The Intel booth reminded us of a giant toy, gleefully lit, displays everywhere and what seemed like an endless collection of things to see and touch. The standout in our opinion had to be the Intel Labs Oasis project, but we also bumped into a Portal Demo, and all manner of Sandy Bridge goods.


Ozaki. Now, we don't usually give this much love to run-of-the-mill iAccessories at CES, but Ozaki's booth-load of funky products managed to get us all giddy. Pictured above is said company's fresh-from-the-oven iCoat Facetime acoustic amplifiers (read: no electronics involved) for the iPhone 4, and the boosted audio was impressively loud although obviously not at audiophilic quality. These cute stands -- with our favorite one being the slightly controversial gingerbread man -- also have a slot underneath to accommodate Apple's dock connector cable, allowing them to conveniently double as charging docks.

Other cool products at this booth include the iCoat Relief silver stickers for the iPad (although none of the celebrity ones will be sold due to potential lawsuits), iCoat Watch slap-on wristbands for the iPod nano (like the Griffin Slap but smaller and softer), iCoat Stand cases with a kickstand for the iPhone 4, and many more. See for yourself in the gallery below.

CSR. We swung by CSR's CES booth to have a look at the latest gadgets that feature the apt-X audio codec. In case you didn't know, CSR acquired the apt-X team about five months ago, meaning it now owns the technology to deliver higher quality Bluetooth audio. In short, out of the 756kbps bandwidth that Bluetooth's A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) offers, the regular SBC (subband codec) uses only 128kbps, whereas apt-X takes up about 350kbps for finer audio but at the expense of 20 percent more power consumption. No pain, no gain, eh? And of course, both the audio source and the receiver need to be apt-X ready in order to make use of the feature.

The new apt-X products we saw were mostly from Creative Labs, including the recently launched Ziio Android 2.1 tablet (which was actually horribly laggy), WP-300 stereo headphones, ZiiSound T6 2.1 speaker system, and the sexy ZiiSound D5 sound bar. Also present at the booth were Altec Lansing's inMotion Air speaker box and Sennheiser's PXC 360 BT headphones, but what's that MacBook Pro doing there? Turns out Apple's sneaked the apt-X codec into OS X since 10.6.4, so pretty much all Bluetooth-enabled Macs will play nice with the aforementioned devices. Enjoy the gallery!

Richard Lai contributed to this post.