Great Gadgets from Christmas Past and for the Present

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Great Gadgets from Christmas Past and for the Present

by Chris Preimesberger

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Gdgt Takes Over San Francisco Galleria

Yes, it's spelled "Gdgt" and pronounced "gadget," not "gidget," or in any other interpretation. Several hundred people on Nov. 12 wandered through the displays of 40 device makers and two stories' worth of new products that will be on retail and virtual shelves soon for the holiday season.

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AT&T: Thanks for the Memories

AT&T, which didn't have any new products to show at the conference, showed some IT artifacts instead, including this bunged-up but still presentable portable telephone that takes up about a third of the space inside this standard-size briefcase.

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Not Exactly a Tablet PC

More of AT&T's history lesson. Left: an AT&T EO Personal Communicator (1993). It was similar to a large personal digital assistant with wireless communications and it competed in the market against the Apple Newton. Right: a bricklike Motorola CellularOne mobile phone (1988).

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Blasts from the Past

More of AT&T's history lesson. Left: an early Motorola Simon mobile phone (1994); center: a replica of one of Alexander Graham Bell's liquid transmitters (1876); right: a Bellboy pager, one of the first on the market (1970). The Bellboy only made sounds and you couldn't turn the sound off very easily so it wasn't that convenient to use.

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Early Skyper

More of AT&T's history lesson: Here is a Bell PicturePhone that was introduced at the 1964 Seattle World's Fair—which also brought the world that iconic Seattle landmark, the Space Needle. The Bell PicturePhone has push buttons for One-Way, Two-Way, View Self, Video Call and Off.

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Desiring a New Phone?

The HTC Desire Z on T-Mobile is a "standard Google experience" version of Android v2.2. Its Z-Slider function is a popular feature, opening to a full-function keyboard as shown.

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Snazzy New Lexmark Printer Impresses the Crowd

The new Lexmark Genesis does all the requisite functions—print, scan, copy and fax—that any good printer will do. It stands apart from competitors with a feature called Instant Preview using camera technology. It actually takes a 10-megapixel RGB picture of an image in a couple of seconds; then you can copy it, send it to a computer in a few seconds, fax it to somebody or send it to the cloud to Twitter, Facebook or online sites like Picasa—whatever you need to do. Pricing is decent: $399.

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Kodak Finally into 21st Century Photography

Kodak hung onto film for as long as it could. In fact, a lot of photographers still use the old-school method of creating photos and Kodak is happy to provide their supplies. But now the Rochester, N.Y., company is fully invested in digital products and its wide range of its cameras were popular at the Gdgt show. At the top of its line in 2010 is the PlayTouch high-definition 1080p touch-screen videocam with 3-inch screen.

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New Windows Phones

LG's new Quantum and Dell Venue Pro mobile phones running Windows 7 just came into the market on Nov. 15, and are available in Microsoft retail stores and in the company's online store.

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More New Windows Phones

LG Quantum, the HTC Surround and the Samsung Focus are also hot in the marketplace for Windows 7-driven phones.

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Look, Ma, No Wires

You can unify and manage both PC and mobile phone calls using the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC headset. The Plantronics Savi 430 brings you top-quality wireless audio from your PC—no wires, ever.

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Surrounded by Gaming Action

This young guy was having a great time testing out a hot new gaming platform.

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Not Action-Packed, but Important Nonetheless

This Belkin deluxe power strip, called the Smart AV, might be an item to consider for your home entertainment center (TV, DVR, Xbox, Blu-ray, etc.). The two plugs at the right are always on for items like a PC, for example. The TV would go into the green plug at left; then, when you turn off your TV, the power shuts off up to the five others in the middle automatically. Standby power is stopped, saving significant power usage over time.

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3D Laptops

Hewlett-Packard showed three new Envy premium laptops at the show. One of them (center, top) was designed by rapper Dr. Dre to produce audio "the way you hear it in the studio," HP rep Connor Driscoll said. The new 14-inch Envy notebook (center, bottom) is a C-level executive-class notebook with all the latest tech inside. At the highest end of the Envy line is the 17-inch laptop with 3D video capability (left), which also has all the premium features HP can deliver. Pricing for the 17-inch dream machine? About $1,500.

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