We start of the new year with stories from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where Google, Apple, Microsoft and more unveiled new technology, gadgets and plans for 2010.
Highlights from the Consumer Electronics Show
- Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer gave a keynote speech at the conference in Las Vegas, in which he previewed various tablet computers, such as ones from Pegatron, Archoes and the HP slate prototype, all o f which will use Windows 7. Sadly for Ballmer, his speech seems to have heightened anticipations for the rumored release of Apple’s slate computer. 
- One of the more controversial announcements at the CES this week was the unveiling of automotive “infotainment systems.”  Built-in dashboard computers will allow drivers to access the internet, find restaurants, use 3-D navigation systems and watch videos. While automotive manufacturers claim that safety is still their top priority and insist that safety features will prohibit drivers from ‘surfing the web’ while the car is in motion, skeptics are worried about the heightened level of distraction such “entertainments” could cause. 
- On Thursday, Skiff introduced a new a color ink e-reader. The 11.5 inch touchscreen tablet has a built-in 3G wireless connection through Sprint, allowing users to upload files, or “print to the device.”  It’s still unclear how much the device will cost or when it will hit the market.
- Leading television manufacturers demonstrated 3-D televisions on Wednesday.  Notwithstanding the success of recent 3-D movies such as Avatar, it’s unclear how many consumers would be willing to don the glasses in their living room.
Google Advances into the Energy Market
Google applied for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  this week to become an electricity buyer and seller. According to Google, their primary ambition is to widen their renewable energy options for their energy consuming data centers, as part of the company’s environmentally friendly efforts.  To read more about Google’s energy efforts, I suggest checking out Jeffery Marlow’s interview with Bill Weihl , a.k.a. the “green energy czar,” who is in charge of Google’s renewable energy research and investment project.
Google’s Nexus One Hits the Market
In other Google news, their highly awaited smartphone has finally hit the market. The Nexus One boasts a 1 gigahertz processor, compared to the average 400 to 800 megahertz of other smartphones, a highly rated touchscreen  and, of course, a direct portal into the world of all things Google- gmail, search history, documents, contacts, etc. The verdict is still out, however, on whether Nexus One has what it takes to compete with the adored iPhone. The phone is available on Google’s site for $529  without service or $179 with a T-mobile contract. If anyone’s tried it, let us know what you think!
Apple Puts Forth Patent for Thinner, Brighter Touchscreens
Apple filled a patent proposal this week for technology that would dramatically improve laptop and mobile touchscreens, making them thinner, brighter and smarter. To read more about Apple’s new technology and a detailed explanation of LCD-touchscreens, check out John Cox’s article on Network World. 
Apple Buys Quattro
Apple purchased Quattro Wireless , a mobile advertising firm, this week, for a rumored purchase price of $300 million. The acquisition marks Apple’s first venture into the advertising industry and improve their standing in the growing competition for the mobile ad market. With the percentage of smartphones continuing to rise, and no clear forerunner in the mobile advertising race, Quattro helps establish Apple as a viable competitor to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.