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Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas

January 7, 2011 12:43:03 AM PST
Thousands of high-tech gadgets of the future are on display at the massive Consumer Electronics Show that opened Thursday in Las Vegas. There is a lot that can make a family's life easier and more fun.

Today's technology has a name -- in fact, several names: "mommy tech," "fitness tech," "health tech," "appliance tech" and more.

"Vendors are finally getting smart enough to take that core technology, whether it's mobile technology or a faster processor or graphics, and saying, 'Hey, this isn't just for a hard-core gamer or some guy who wants to watch a 3-D football game,'" said Robin Rankin, founder of Living in Digital Times.

So what can technology do for the rest of the family? How about a floor cleaner by Mint that sweeps and mops automatically? It even dances in rhythm. The cleaner uses the North Star Navigation system to do its thing.

This app uses GPS too for the whole family.

"We have a new application called 'Neer' that's available on Android and iPhone that helps young families share their location to help answer questions like, 'Has my spouse left work?'" said Ian Heidt, project leader of the Qualcomm Neer Team.

Another device can help manage your fatigue. It's called the Fatigue Science ReadiBand.

"So this is a sleep monitor. We call it the ReadiBand, and what you can use it for is to see how well you sleep at night, particularly new moms or even the babies, see how well they're sleeping," said Hunter Downs, chief science officer, Archinoetics.

Health tech is a very important part of the show. United Health Group has a hula-hoop challenge using Xbox and Kinect video games to get show-goers in shape.

And there is something to get the kids' minds in shape. Are your kids tired of using their thumbs to play video games or learn things on the computer? Well now there's Sifteo. They are mini-cube computers. You get three of them and you manipulate them so you can play games or you can learn things.

Meanwhile, Whirlpool thinks your technology should save your energy and your money.

"These are the industry's most resource-efficient laundry pair on the market to date," said Monica Teague, spokesperson for Whirlpool Corp. "It will save consumers 82 percent in water usage and 86 percent in energy usage."

Many are calling 2011 the "Year of the Tablet," as 50 new tablets were unveiled, all of them hoping to compete with the iPad.

Motorola, Linovo and Vizio all showed off new models.

Verizon's new "4G" network is the fastest in the country, and the company is hoping to cash in on that advantage by selling tablets and smart phones that devour data.

Motorola's Xoom tablet will come with a 10.1-inch screen and two cameras, one for video chatting and one for high-definition videos. The Xoom will begin selling in the first quarter. Initially it will work with Verizon's 3G network and will be upgradeable so it can work on the speedier 4G network in the second quarter.

There are unconfirmed reports that Verizon will also get to sell a version of the iPhone, breaking AT&T Inc.'s exclusive hold, but analysts don't expect Verizon to reveal one at the show.

About 140,000 people are expected to attend this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which is 2 million square feet of gadgetry.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.