CES '10: Special Awards Division
Highlighting only the useful products shown at the Consumer Electronics Show misses half the point of one of the largest trade shows in the world. The real attractions of CES are the odd, one-off products, the over-the-top booths and the sheer weirdness on display everywhere you turn. And so, the CES Special Awards Division makes its triumphant return this year to capture a small portion of that weirdness for those of you that didn't risk getting crushed by 10,000 people trying to get the same cab outside the Las Vegas Hilton. Enjoy!
Best On-Site Banner Summing Up the Theme of CES
Toshiba: "WATCH EVERYTHING IN 3D"
If there is one takeaway from this year's CES, this was it. 3DTVs were everywhere, and where they weren't, there were 3-D monitors, 3-D-capable graphics cards, 3-D movie projectors and iPhone cases -- and those will be in 3-D soon enough, mark my words!
Cheapest-looking 3-D Screen Award
RealView Deep Screen
3-D glasses and specially-created 3-D content are for suckers. Cheapo plastic screens are where it's at, apparently! These screens, which go over any LCD monitor or television, create a slight depth effect in standard videos and games, I suppose; but mainly they just make the image look a little bent around the edges. Not shown: a PSP edition of the screen, the V-Screen, which works even less well, if that's possible.
Most Unmarketable Gaming Product Name
This all-in-one gaming/video controller, designed for media-center PCs hooked up to living-room TVs, actually has a relatively decent design and some nice customization features. But none of that matters, because with a name like iGuGu, this thing will never sell more than 100 units. I guarantee it.
Most Thought-Provoking Question
PAMSH Bluetooth Bone-Conducting Headset: "What if you need something else other than earphone?"
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not "Do you still use earphone?" Ask "What if you need something other than earphone?"
Best Surround-Sound Speaker Chair That Looks Like It's Going to Eat You
The surround-sound effect inside this expensive, egg-shaped speaker-chair was actually quite good, but I couldn't get over the feeling that all those foam teeth lining the inside were going to close in and gobble me up any second!
Product That Makes Kyle Look Most Ridiculous
In case you're wondering, at the end of the hat brim is an iPhone on a specially designed holder, with an adjustable magnifying glass so it doesn't look so far away. I would love to try controlling a tilt-sensitive racing game with this ridiculous get-up.
Best TV Shaped Like a Polar Bear
Hannspree won this category uncontested.
Most Ridiculous Wii Controller Attachments
iConcepts Wii Sports Resort attachments
I suppose these were inevitable, but the very idea of someone putting a fake bow or canoe paddle on the end of my Wii Remote makes me weep for the future of humanity.
Most Ridiculous Product Differentiation
Monster HDMI cables
On the left, Monster HDMI cables "engineered for PS3." On the right, HDMI cables "engineered for Xbox 360." If there is any non-cosmetic difference between these cables, I will eat them both.
So Bad It's Good Marketing Line
ATI-Eyefinity: "Think of it as Surround-Sight"
I can't tell whether ATI's "surround-sight" concept is brilliantly stupid or stupidly brilliant. Probably somewhere between the two...
Speck: free booze
No additional comment necessary.
Oddest Use of Videogames in an Otherwise Non-Game-Related Company Booth
United States Postal Service: Alpine Surfer
This one almost went to iPhone case maker Speck as well, for putting a Dance Dance Revolution cabinet in its booth (each player got a free case). But the USPS -- which used Alpine Surfer to promote a new line of Winter Olympics stamps -- took the award mainly because I couldn't figure out why the USPS was at the Consumer Electronics Show in the first place. That didn't stop me from trying to get the best time for the day and winning a framed copy of the new stamps (I ended up two seconds off the best time. Drat!)
Creepiest Controller/Person Holding a Controller
CTA Digital/this guy
This sniper-rifle-shaped controller looks like it should be a Wii Remote attachment that you point at a screen, but no. Apparently it's just a wireless PS3 controller that just happens to look like a semi-automatic weapon with analog sticks and buttons on the sides. As I took this picture, I was fully prepared to dive for cover on the off chance I had misread the situation.
CES is not a show known for cosplay, but that didn't stop this lone Darth Vader from roaming the halls on Saturday.
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