Seven cool new gadgets--coming soon

Consumer Reports

At this time of year, electronics companies make a lot of new product announcements; actually, "a lot" is an understatement. Often, though, the products on display are still in the prototype stage, and consumers won't see them on retail shelves and sites until much later in the year—if the products even make it to market.

So which of the myriad enticing devices we’ve heard about recently, from the Consumer Electronics Show and elsewhere, will we actually be able to get our hands on in the near future—within the next couple of months, or even sooner? Here’s a list of very covetable products that are promised to be coming soon.

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Verizon announces it will
offer the iPhone

Verizon gets the iPhone!

Apple iPhone fans have been waiting a long time—ever since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, in fact—for a choice in carriers. Till now, it’s been available only on AT&T. Finally, Verizon Wireless announced it will offer its version of the iPhone 4 in early February of this year. But bear this in mind: The Verizon iPhone will not run on Verizon's new high-speed 4G LTE network (at least, not this version of the phone) but instead will run on the carrier’s CDMA EVDO network. One cool feature Verizon has added is that the phone will feature free hotspot capability for up to five devices—meaning laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices will be able to get online through the Verizon iPhone, no cord required. Pricing for the Verizon iPhone will be $199.99 for the 16GB model and $299.99 for the 32GB model with a new two-year customer agreement.

 

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Vizio 3D TV

Vizio's "passive" 3D TV

Maybe you've wanted a 3D TV, but the bulky and costly glasses have held you back. Here’s good news: Vizio is offering the industry's first "passive" 3D TV models, which use the kind of inexpensive, lightweight 3D glasses you get in movie theaters. The company’s first model, a 65-inch XVT3D-series set (XVT3D650SV), should be available right now, at a suggested price of about $3,700.

 

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Sony’s HD camcorder
with built-in projector

Sony's HD camcorders with built-in projectors

Sony unveiled three very intriguing high-def camcorders: Each includes a tiny projector embedded on the back of the flip-out LCD, which Sony says will be able to project a 60-inch diagonal image onto any flat surface. The camcorders include other nice features: The PJ50V (which includes a 220GB hard drive) and the PJ30V (32GB of Flash memory) each has a 12x optical zoom lens and includes a built-in GPS receiver for geo-tagging content. The PJ10 has 16GB of built-in Flash memory and includes a 30x optical zoom lens. And all three camcorders will include a 3-inch touchscreen LCD. The PJ30V and PJ10 will be available in March, and the PJ50V will be available in April.

Olympus's Tough cameras

Are you tough on your cameras? At CES this year, Olympus introduced the TG-310 and TG-610, the latest additions to the company’s waterproof, freeze-proof, and shockproof line of cameras. Both cameras feature a 14-megapixel sensor, dual-image stabilization, and HDMI connections and can record 720p resolution high-def video. Although pricing wasn't disclosed, Olympus says both cameras should be available in the U.S. in the "first quarter of 2011.”

 

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Motorola’s 4G phone for AT&T

Motorola's 4G phone for AT&T

AT&T claims that the Motorola Atrix 4G, an Android 2.2 phone that features a 1GHz dual-core processor (just like LG's recently announced Optimus 2X), will be the world's most powerful phone. Even better, it will run on the network’s fast HSPA+ network. The Atrix has a high-resolution HD display and includes a revolutionary, super-thin laptop dock for which ATRIX 4G is the "engine," as well as an HD media dock that will "enable a revolutionary browsing, application and media experience." It will be available in the first quarter of 2011.

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Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo's 3D portable gaming

We recently had a chance to play around with the venerable company’s next entry into portable gaming, the Nintendo 3DS: No glasses are required to view its 3D display. The graphics were clear, and the 3D effects added a new dimension—pun intended—to the gameplay. A slider on the 3DS lets you lessen the 3D effect, all the way down to 2D. Two cameras on the back of the system let you take 3D photos. You can import your Mii characters from your Nintendo Wii system, or automatically create new ones by taking a photo of yourself with the built-in camera. The 3DS will ship in the U.S. in March, for around $300.

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Asus 12.1 inch tablet computer

Asus's first of four tablet computers

Tablet computers were the biggest story at CES this year, and Asus started the show off with a bang, launching four tablets. The first one to ship will be the Eee Slate EP121, the largest tablet we've seen, at 12.1 inches. It will use an Intel Core i5 processor and run Windows 7 Home Premium. The widescreen display is a capacitive touchscreen that's LED-backlit and has a resolution of 1280 by 800. You can choose between 32GB and 64GB of SSD storage and up to 4GB of memory. It will be available this month for $1,000 to $1,100.

 

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Copyright © 2006-2011 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

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