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The best of the best in technology

CLICK AND HACK special to the daily

Every year around this time, hundreds of thousands of people gather to see the biggest trends in technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This year from Jan. 8-11, tech companies showed off the best of their new crop of gizmos, gadgets and everything else you can imagine.While CES, as it’s called, is known for its debuting of crazy toys that most of us have little need for even if we could afford them, it is also the launching pad for electronics that will soon be the items we just can’t live without. To help us hone in on what’s hot, the editors of CNET selected the best of the best, featuring these items on their site. The following are our favorites, beginning with the new Creative Zen Vision M. This super cool MP3 player is poised to take on iPod, boasting a brighter screen, a rainbow of fun colors and better battery life. The player was named Best in Show by CNET.com. Also winning praise was the Pioneer Inno (formerly called the AirWare). The Inno is a standalone player/recorder for XM satellite, and can record 50 hours of programming. As if that weren’t enough, the unit can also be used as an MP3 player. Now we just need this same goody for Sirius.Another award-grabbing item was the Sanyo Xacti HD1, a very hip camera that packs HD Video and flash media recording. Our favorite feature may be the OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display which is bright and clear while taking a small toll on the battery.The Samsung ZX20 was a favorite in the cell phone category. The phone supports the new 3.5G HSDPA network that isn’t yet widely available for cell phones in the US. It’s a bit like broadband for the cell phone – very fast – enabling streaming audio/video and the ability to download graphics-heavy web pages. Even without the network, you can still enjoy the other great features including an MP3 player, Bluetooth 2 and instant messaging among others.But the CES is about more than cell phones and electronic toys, it is also a showcase for new technology that will change how we live and work. Belkin showed off their new Cable Free USB Hub. Users simply plug a USB dongle into a PC or printer and the device can wirelessly communicate with the hub, and best of all, it’s cheaper than Wi-Fi and faster than Bluetooth.And finally among our best picks, a new operating system from Microsoft called Vista. Bill Gates introduced Vista during his keynote address which kicked off the event. In addition to enhanced security features, the system promises better, clearer and more intuitive ways to organize and use information. It also boasts easier ways to navigate video, auto and image files. While details are sketchy, you can learn more by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista, and watch for Vista to hit the shelves later this year.For more highlights of the show, including CNET’s best picks, visit http://www.cnet.com.Email clickandhack@friscocomputerstore.com.


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