Best Technology at CES for Travelers

CES sign

CES or the Consumer Electronics Show rolls into Las Vegas every year, with new toys and desires for tech addicts to drool over. This year was no different, with loads of TVs, 3D technology, e-readers, and more. But what does it have to offer the traveler? I've poured over reports from the show, and have showcased a few things that, once they're released, would help you out on your next trip.

Mini-Tablets

What if you could take a computer with you without having to take...a computer? Traveling with an iPod Touch is freeing, you get internet access without having to lug around all the cables and clutter. A new generation of small computers is coming out in the near future that will be nearly as portable, but (hopefully) more functional than the tiny Touch. The Dell Slate is one of the most promising candidates appearing at CES, as it's got an iPhone-like interface, big touchscreen, and even a slot for a SIM card (for mobile internet, I'm assuming). (Available in 2010.) The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid also looks promising, as it's one part netbook, one part tablet. (Available Summer 2010.)

Power

Who doesn't hate clunky laptop power adapters? Kensington has lightened your load with their new Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapters. Not only will it take up less space in your bag, but this slim power brick gives you an extra spot to charge your USB devices. (Available for pre-order for $99.99)

For everyone who travels with any amount of battery-powered technology, there's hope for a better, and lighter, future. RCA has developed its Airnergy system, which charges batteries whenever it's in the presence of Wifi signals. As if we all needed one more reason to be obsessed with finding mobile internet. (Available Summer 2010 for $40.)

On another mobile-charging front, Case-Mate has made some cool advances in wireless charging with it's iPod Touch cases. While these cases won't save you much of any room in your bag, they open the door to a world where our devices don't need separate cables to keep running. (Coming soon for $89.99)

Smartphones

Smartphones have been a blessing to travelers, great communication, internet access, and more, all in a tiny packcage. Palm announced some cool new phones, the Palm Pixi Plus and the Palm Pre Plus, which are great improvements over the original versions. They're great for anyone on Verizon, but not so great (yet) for anyone wanting to travel abroad.
Inbrics has come up with an awesome Android phone, the M1, for anyone who's been jonesing for a small, functional smartphone with a keyboard. I love my G1, but seeing this phone makes me long for something new. (Both available January 25, 2010.)

Cameras

For me, it's hard to get excited about new cameras. In the past, new models have been all about more megapixels, slightly different designs, and little that's truly exciting for travelers. But Sony has announced (and put up for pre-sale) a new CyberShot model that has some useful features for anyone who loves to share their photos on the net. The DSC-HX5V includes both a compass and GPS, which means that all your photos are geotagged AND can tell you what direction your facing. It's never been easier to figure out what's in your photos. Now, if only we could get those features into more cameras. (Available for pre-order for $349.99)

Kodak has done well in the pocket camcorder arena lately, starting with the Zi6 (which we own and love) and recently moving to the improved Zi8. But at CES, they've released a sturdy, attractive, and waterproof version called the Playsport. It's a more durable version of the Zi8, so it's fully HD and can be taken along with you when you go snorkeling. (Available April 2010 for 49)

A hair over a 1 inch wide and with full HD, Sanyo's latest Xacti VPC-CS1camcorder looks like a promising candidate for the ultra-light traveler. (Available February 2010 for $299.)

Other Goodies

For travelers who want to take their computer, but don't want to take an entire computer, Iomega has created their v.Clone software that will allow you to make a backup of your home computer on a portable hard drive, and run it on any other (Windows) PC. I'm not sure how well this would work in an Internet cafe, but it sounds promising for anyone who wants an alternative to toting around a laptop on their round-the-world trip.