ABCs of CES

Twenty-six things we loved, hated and just couldn't avert our eyes from at this year's Consumer Electronics Show

About 130,000 people attended CES this year. Gaffers and booth babes, engineers and security guards, drivers and technicians by the thousands devoted months to staging the world's largest consumer electronics show. And by this time today likely nothing more remains in all of Vegas than a lone, abandoned flash drive and some tumbleweeds.

Forget the world's smallest violin, we're going the denial route.

Click here for a look at 26 of our picks and pans--from favorite sleeper debuts and sweetest celebrity shills to the most awful sales pitches and product ideas. Light up an electric cigarette, lean back in your $7,500 recliner and join us. It ain't over till we hit "z"!

Please click here to launch the gallery.

Turbine In-Ear Speakers

Audio

Be still my heart, and everything other than the massive bass probably damaging my eardrums for life. The sound isolation on the Turbine In-Ear Speakers was flawless, the audio crisp and the buds comfortable. At $150, they seem like a steal. Still, Monster loses a few points for not inviting us to chill with Luda.Courtesy Monster
Bendy Bioplastics

Bendy Bioplastics

Around the corner from Sony's wafer-thin TVs was this tiny working prototype of a flexible, color OLED screen made from organic materials. If it's successful, the ramifications for future e-readers, laptops and more (one of the concept designs on display was a wrist-cuff Walkman) are major. Of course, this means the ol' "Sorry, boss, can't read that document on my BlackBerry" excuse is out the window. Click here to watch it flex.Abby Seiff
Cigarettes

Cigarettes

I puffed on the E-Cig, smoke came out and nicotine went in, and the "E-Smoking Liquid" numbed my tongue. The guy demonstrating it promised that it's a totally safe alternative to smoking or a way to quit: "My little nieces smoke it, no big deal." Er, pass.Abby Seiff
Desks

Desks

Wireless charging might be a bust as is, but PowerMat's prototype future home outfitted with the tech in its ideal state was spot-on. Why shouldn't our desks power everything on them instead of just sitting there? Lazy, good-for-nothing desk of today . . .Abby Seiff
Excrement

Excrement?

This made-for-TV-style product was a hit with exhausted attendees who doubtless just wanted a chance to rest their dogs in some warm water. We wonder if the disgusted gawking of passersby was worth it.Abby Seiff
Framing

Framing

Coby must know something the rest of us don't, because two thirds of the company's booth was filled with digital picture frames ranging from keychain-size on up. Do people really buy these?!Abby Seiff
Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero

EA Games ought to be on its knees kissing the feet of its publicists right about now. I counted no less than a dozen booths using Guitar Hero as their draw. Between Samsung's Ultimate Gamer challenge and blogger playoffs sponsored by SanDisk, to countless spots in the South Hall's gaming area, the game (in its many, many iterations) must have raked in millions in free publicity.Abby Seiff
Holgas

Holgas

These weren't retrofitted with digital card readers or transformed into giant flash drives or anything. They were just there, in pretty colors, reveling in the limelight of the lowest-tech product at CES.Abby Seiff
iRobot

iRobot. I Robot, Too!

iRobot revolutionized the personal-robot industry. And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they were very, very flattered by this year's show.Abby Seiff
Jams

Jams

Will.i.am's "Yes We Can"—lyrics of which came from Obama's influential speech—won for Outstanding Short Format Informational at the first-annual Global Media Awards. The YouTube sensation has garnered more than 15 million views since being posted last February. If only it came in hologram version.Sean Captain
Kickback

Kickback

The Novint Falcon is hardly new (nor is its pistol grip), but the company's slapdash booth was consistently surrounded by spectators. Their glee as they gunned down their virtual mortal enemies was palpable, and after feeling it in action, it's easy to understand why. Kudos is deserved for a company that makes an extremely solid product and just sticks with it.Abby Seiff
Lasonic boombox

Louder

Party like it's 1989. The version of Lasonic's boombox now in stores has an iPod dock that fits any iPod. The version ready to launch has a CD player. And the drumbeat of progress plays on.Abby Seiff
music mixer

Mix It Up

This dirt-cheap music mixer aimed at kids was all but abandoned by the hoards heading for Mattel's main toy attraction. Like a simplified Pacemaker, it lets users distort music, add licks and beats, and record songs. Child's play.Abby Seiff
Netbooks

Netbooks

If netbooks represented the height of innovation last year, this year they're one step away from becoming the next throwaway thumb drives. It seemed like everyone and their mother (especially in the Taiwan and China wings) was churning out the diminutive computers. It's only a matter of time now before these are being given away with Happy Meals.Abby Seiff
OLEDs

OLEDs

Yep, these things again. Samsung's prototype version is almost completely transparent when switched off. Someday these will be on windows, and we'll never have to look at nature without a healthy dose of television involved.Lauren Aaronson
nPower Personal Energy Generator

Power Up

Throw the nPower Personal Energy Generator in your backpack, and an ordinary stroll will help you generate enough juice to power your phone or camera. At nine ounces, it's not quite light enough, but we can't wait to see it shrink to a gadget pop-on size.Abby Seiff
Johnny Rabb

Quicker, Quicker!

A very chill Johnny Rabb sat around for at least two days while bloggers and buyers and other would-be-drummers wandered into the Roland booth to challenge the "fastest drummer on Earth." Click here for a video.Abby Seiff
Robots

Robots

Lets hope our robot overlords look like this. Click here to watch it move.Abby Seiff
Speakers

Speakers

They're speakers! And fruit! Get it? No, neither do we.Abby Seiff
Techlebrities

Techlebrities

The Sendero Group had Stevie Wonder, one keynote address had frontmen from Maroon 5 and Counting Crows, Sony had Alex Trebek, and Sharp had Joba (along with about half the MLB, it seemed). Sure, they're paid a ton to say things like "I've only seen the Sony booth, but they have some terrific technologies," but generally they were gracious and polite and, considering they had to spend four days with fanboy spectators, extremely good-natured.Lauren Aaronson; Lamar Mitchell
power our phones

Unbreak My Phone

It seems less and less likely that hydrogen fuel cells are indeed the future of energy, but at least they can power our phones in a pinch.Lauren Aaronson
electric bikes

Vroom

After a year of record gas prices, the proliferation of electric bikes was no surprise. Areaware's sleek Moof bike is equipped with solar-powered LEDs.Lauren Aaronson
plush president elect

WTF

Why, yes, that is our nation's president-elect, in plush form, as an iPod dock. But can somebody please explain the Evel Knievel–style jumpsuit?Abby Seiff
Adult Entertainment Expo

XXX

Every year, the Adult Entertainment Expo and CES are held at the same time, in overlapping venues. And every year, dozens of engineers and tech journalists go home with severe cases of whiplash.Abby Seiff
camera

You're So Vain . . .

You probably think this camera's about you. The point-and-shoot with a built-in mirror costs $50. But you might be better off adding that to your therapy slush fund.Lauren Aaronson
Zen

Zen

Well, it's been fun, folks. If you just can't let go, or missed a moment of the action, turn your browser toward popsci.com/ces2009 where you can relive every gadget-filled moment. Otherwise, take comfort in the promise that 2010 will be here before you know it. In fact, if you'll excuse us, we have a stack of press releases for next year's show to dig through. Enjoy these pretty, calming, high-efficiency HDTVs as we bid adieu.Lauren Aaronson