04:07 PM
Gina Smith
Gina Smith

Slideshow: CES: What Gina Wants For Her Birthday

I love the Showstoppers event my old friend Steve Leon puts on every year. All the hot tech products show up, it's never too crowded and it's an amazing way to catch up with old contacts and colleagues you missed on the show floor. My intrepid CES team -- photog Nevin Berger and ace videographer Matt Conner were with me all week long -- did a lot more than schmooze. We checked out a boatload of tech. Some of them announced right at Showstoppers, such as RealNetworks' Unifi cloud management techn

The new BMW Z4 Roadster includes full-featured infotainment technology. It links to Pandora, Google Maps and Google Local Search, and includes full media device connectivity.

What I especially liked was the QNX-based systems on board: The Com Box and its Car Infotainment Computer (CIC). Through the two of these, you get dynamic cycling through touring, commuter information and navigation info on screen, plus album art, weather details and visuals from the speedometer and tachometer.

The QNX application platform also makes hands-free calling and communicating easier, with its text-to-speech email ability (it displays when the vehicle stops) and dialing phone numbers embedded in emails or texts through its iDrive control. Did I mention I want this car for my birthday?

Check out the display in the new BMW Z4 Roadster.

Alcatel-Lucent's 4G technology enables outrageously fast connections in the new breed of high-tech cars.

Ambient announced version 3.0 of its ArtRage technology. Artist David Kassan showed us how ArtRage, now available on the iPad and other tablets, includes natural painting tools naturally suited to talented oil and watercolor painters. This would exclude me.

Painter David Kassan told me he prefers ArtRage over competing technologies because of its ease-of-use and ability to add what looks like real oil painting style texture.

Announced at Showstoppers, the Vulkano Flow connects to your set top box, allowing you to remotely view whatever is showing or recorded on your home TV on any mobile device.

The Vulkano Flow supports all the standard connections you'd expect.

Real announced that the beta version of its new Unifi product will be released later this quarter. The technology enables you to move important data like your songs and photos from your PC or Mac and move it to the cloud, where it'll be available to any mobile device or phone. The cost: Under $10 a month. Not too shabby.

Did I mention I wanted cool stuff from this slideshow for my birthday? These little mobile phone covers wouldn't set you back too much. Wait. Journalists can't accept gifts. Dang.

Call me sick, but I love monsters almost as much as the monster-branded electronics available now for Monster High, the new Mattel franchise. The monsters shown here are supposedly descendents of the most famous monsters of yore. Loving it!

You're getting a sense of my taste now. Skulls, swords, flames and flowers adorn these whizzy laptop and iPad covers.

I don't mean CES goers are crazy, per se, but the sheer number of people on the show floors was insane.

I saw this device all over the place -- someone has a good show planner.

Printing 1600 DPI color at 60 pages a minute? Come on. But I saw it and it's true.

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