Razor-thin TV named best gadget

LG’s 55-inch TV is just 0.16 inches thick and uses OLED display technology.

A razor-thin television from LG Electronics was crowned best gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Thursday and Microsoft was a big winner in its final appearance at the annual trade event.

The 55-inch (140-centimeter) TV set from the South Korean electronics giant is just 0.16 inches (four millimeters) thick and uses OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, display technology.

OLED TVs do not require backlighting and feature better color contrast than standard flat-screen LEDs and LG and another South Korean titan, Samsung, both wowed the crowds at CES in Las Vegas with 55-inch models.

A panel of experts from technology news site CNET awarded the LG 55EM9800 the title of "Best TV" at CES but also named it "Best of Show" among the thousands of new products on display at the four-day event.

CNET said it gave the nod to the LG TV over the Samsung model in part because it has an actual shipping date -- the third quarter of the year.

When the super-set does finally hit the market it won't be for just anyone -- the 55-inch LG OLED TV is expected to cost several thousand dollars.

Microsoft, which has announced that this year's CES will be its last, saw products powered by its Windows software scoop up a couple of awards.

The Lumia 900 touchscreen from Finland's Nokia was named best cellphone and the Envy 14 Spectre laptop from Hewlett-Packard was tapped as the best computer.

The Lumia 900, which runs on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system, is seen as Nokia's bid to break into a US smartphone market dominated by Apple's iPhone and handsets powered by Google's Android software.

The Windows-powered HP Envy 14 Spectre is what is known as an "ultrabook," a slim, lightweight laptop in a category pioneered by Apple's MacBook Air.

The HP Envy 14 Spectre is to go on sale in February for $1,399. Pricing and availability of the Lumia 900 have not been released.

BlueStacks for Windows, a program which will ship on some upcoming Windows 8 computers, was named best software application. BlueStacks provides access to the hundreds of thousands of Android applications.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer or his predecessor, Bill Gates, have delivered the opening keynote address at CES for the past 15 years and the US software giant has traditionally had one of the largest booths on the exhibition floor.

But Microsoft announced last month that it is bowing out of the show, which attracted more than 3,100 exhibitors this year, because the January timing does not coincide with its product development calendar.

An Android-powered tablet computer from Taiwan's Asus, the Asus Memo 370T, was named best tablet at a show which featured dozens of new rivals to Apple's iPad.

The Asus Memo 370T, which has a seven-inch (17.8-cm) screen, is powered by the latest version of Android software for tablets and costs $250, half the price of the cheapest iPad.

Other CES winners were the mirrorless Fujifilm X-Pro 1, which was named best camera, and the MakerBot Replicator, which snatched the title of "Best Emerging Tech Product."

The MakerBot Replicator is what is known as a 3D printer and can make objects as large as a loaf of bread by working off a blueprint fed into the machine.

While LG and the other winners were expected to be celebrating their awards in Las Vegas on Thursday night they should be mindful that recognition at CES is no guarantee of success in the marketplace.

Last year's winner of the "Best in Show" title was the "Xoom" tablet computer from Motorola but it has failed to make any headway against the iPad.

The 2009 CES winner was a smartphone from Palm, the Pre.

Sales of the Pre failed to live up to expectations and the company was bought the next year by HP, which has since stopped making cellphones using Palm's webOS mobile operating system.

 

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