The keynotes have passed, the press conferences have wrapped up, and the show floor has closed its doors on CES 2009. As an estimated 130,000 people start to head home it's time we look back on our pick for the top 10 stories that made the 2009 show memorable, for the right and wrong reasons.
Las Vegas is all about glitz and showmanship and, once that wears out, all that's left will be the cold hard light of day. Overall CES got by, but it neither prospered nor showed revolutionary advances. This made picking the list and awarding just 10 places particularly tricky.
The Consumer Electronics Association, by contrast, gave out more than 300 awards this year, out of about 1,000 applicants. That gives an awards strike rate that would have the average betting shop customer fighting to put money on, and not a few chief executives or marketing directors it seems.
So here it is, our take of the highs and lows of CES 2009.
The Best ...
Iain Thomson: We knew beforehand that the Palm press conference was going to be important. The company has been dying by degrees for years now and this really was their last chance to try and get back the hearts and minds of users.
Well, they didn't disappoint. The Palm Pre is one of the most exciting bits of kit I've seen in years, and my immediate reaction was I WANT ONE NOW. The Pre has a few faults to be sure - it's only for the US market (big mistake), it's short on memory and doesn't have removable storage - but the operating system is fantastic and I'm actually tempted to buy one for the first time in years.
Whether the Pre will mend Palm's fortunes is still in doubt; the company has a long way to go yet. But the Pre gives me hope that the company that kick-started the handheld PC market might actually survive in it.
Shaun Nichols: Everyone likes to describe their latest smartphone as an 'iPhone killer', but few ever come close to matching the style and experience Apple delivers.
Palm may just have done it this time. Though there are still a lot of questions surrounding the Pre, most notably price and availability, we may be looking at the next big thing in smartphones.
Windows Mobile could be the big loser here. The Microsoft OS now faces the prospect of having three other big systems to compete with between the BlackBerry, Palm and iPhone operating systems, not to mention Google's Android.
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