CES is all about the hottest and latest tech, from 3-D TVs (yawn) to every single kind of e-reader imaginable (double yawn). And while the circuitry of these devices typically blows minds, their exteriors are often an afterthought. It's like having Einstein's brain in the body of Brian Peppers
[note to eds.: or replace Peppers with Sam the Chinese Crested Dog
] -- genius, but a little tough on the eyes. So we want to give props to the companies at CES that realized how often we do judge books by their covers, and to reward those who took pains to make the outsides of their gadgetry match the capabilities within them. Check out our top picks for awesome design at CES 2010, and foam at the mouth with a jealous wish you'd been there with us.
Asus Waveface Concepts
This week, Asus
exhibited some of its ideas about the future of digital life with the Waveface concept collection, comprised of three remarkable devices. The Waveface Ultra is like the next evolution of the wristwatch, bringing both time and other relevant data to your hand. The transparent display also folds flat when a larger image area is necessary. The Waveface Casa is a remarkably wide flat-screen display that acts as both a TV and Internet portal. When not in use, elegant wave-shaped fins cover the top and bottom, only revealing useful info. Our favorite, though, is the Waveface Light -- a thin, flexible computer with a touch display that can either bend into traditional laptop shape or lay flat as a delicately curved tablet. Of all the concept products we've seen this year, these are the ones we would most like to see go into production.
Asus Eee PC Seashell
Asus brought another mouth-watering design to CES this year, a new Eee PC netbook boasting a glam makeover by none other than Karim Rashid
. The Eee PC Seashell 1005PE contains the new Intel Atom N450 and runs Windows 7, but we're more impressed by the tantalizing wavy-grid texture of these minis. With one model for design dudes and another for the ladies, the Seashell comes in both hot pink (Rashid's go-to color) and coffee. It ships later this month.
mPower Emergency Illuminator
We never thought that a flashlight could be sexy, but we have to admit that we got all hot and bothered when we saw the brand-new mPower Emergency Illuminator. Manufactured by Porsche Design Studio ('nuff said), this heavy-duty torch features both a blinding LED lamp and a USB connection for critical device-charging. And the insides of this beautiful little beast are just as good; while one chamber holds two standard 3-volt lithium batteries, the other contains a single mPower On Command Reserve Battery -- a small cylinder that keeps the electrolytes separate from the electrodes until manually opened. It'll apparently last 20 years until put into use, basically negating the need for ever having to buy another (unless you routinely get caught in dire situations). The Emergency Illuminator will be available in March, at the pricey-but-worth-it sum of $289.00.
Regen ReNu and Side Light
Eco-conscious start-up Regen
has just launched the ReNu solar charger, and it looks mighty fine, indeed. The shapely square panel can hang in a window or just sit in its dock to collect the sun's rays and power your gadgets, with a digital display that lets you know of optimal light areas and shows a log of your energy consumption. By allowing consumers to interact more directly with their electrical source and use, Regen hopes that more responsible practices will follow. And we're ready to shut off all our tech toys when the sleekly minimal Side Light debuts late in 2010, featuring integrated solar cells and up to four hours of dazzling LED light on a full charge.
Polaroid PIC 1000
YES. The old Polaroid instant camera is coming back! We received precious little info on these retro-modern beauties (sadly, only prototypes that won't go into production until next year), but we do know that the PIC 1000 cameras will come in blonde wood and two metallic finishes, boast red-eye reduction and a timer, and work with Instant 1000 film. With Lady Gaga suddenly stepping on board at Polaroid as creative director, and with her remarks Thursday
about how much she loves the nearly defunct instant Polaroid film, we're hoping to see more designs like this in the near future.