Microsoft Windows Plan
I attended Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s first CES keynote, and the strongest message sent was regarding Windows 7 (www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7), which Ballmer stated would be the most secure and stable version of Windows. The main announcement was that they were allowing people to download the Beta immediately, so this signals Microsoft not trying to push Vista much more. While I have been recommending that firms standardize on Windows XP Service Pack 2, I feel it would be worthwhile for your IT personnel to download the Beta and try it on a machine if they have some downtime during the busy season.
One of the strongest trends at the show was the explosion of mini-notebooks that have limited hard drive and applications built in, but have maximum communications capabilities to access web-based information and applications. These devices are usually in a smaller format with screens in the 8- to 11-inch range but are super light and have long battery life. As the accounting industry vendors roll out their entire accounting suite of applications and document storage on the web, we can expect tax and accounting firms to pilot the use of Netbooks as a low cost and convenient alternative to the traditional laptop. To see what we are talking about, take a look at the Dell Mini (www.dell.com/mini) or the ASUS Eee PC (http://eeepc.asus.com).
Sony Vaio Lifestyle PC
Sony takes the evolution of the portable computer another step with its VAIO Lifestyle PC (www.sonystyle.com/vaio), which won CNET’s Best of CES award (www.cnet.com). This mini-laptop has an 8-inch screen and a very functional keyboard even in such a small package. The only thing I didn’t like was that it uses a “track nub” rather than a touchpad, so I would have to opt for an external optical mouse.
LiveScribe Pulse Pen
This product (www.livescribe.com/smartpen) was touted at the annual CES Last Gadget Standing press event and integrates note taking with audio in a format that can be captured and replayed digitally. Imagine taking notes with a client and making recommendations that can all be saved in a client file on your network. These notes and conversations are all recorded and queued to the specific event to be accessed whenever you want. The Livescribe allows the user to click on specific points within their notes and listen to a recording of exactly what was said at the time the notes were made. One cool feature is that you can draw a calculator and then actually use it, but the catch is that you must do this all on their special paper.
LG Touch Watch Phone
Calling all Dick Tracy fans … oops! Two-thirds of your staff members probably don’t know who he is! While a number of phones have been built small enough to go on the wrist, LG (www.lge.com/us) is the first major carrier to bring an actual one out. For a really upscale appeal, LG has created a Prada Link Bluetooth version. Fully loaded, the watch phone integrates a quad band GSM phone with a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, a full HTML browser, stereo Bluetooth, FM Radio, Document Viewer, and 60MB storage, all viewable through a 3-inch touchscreen. Probably time to upgrade my eyeglass prescription.
Prototypes for micro projectors have been around for a few years, but you can finally buy one that will fit in the palm of your hand. Devices such as the Nextar Z10 (www.nextar.com), MicroVision PicoP (www.microvision.com/pico_projector_displays) and 3M Mpro (www.3MMPro.com) are available and will eventually be built into cell phones. Financial reports and tax returns could be easily reviewed with clients by projecting the information on a small screen or wall.
Roman's TOP CES Gadget Picks
- Lenovo W700 Dual Screen Laptop
- Solid State Disks
- DisplayLink Integrated Monitors
- USB Backups
- Microsoft Windows
- Sony VAIO LifeStyle PC
- LiveScribe Pulse Pen
- LG Touch Watch Phone
- Micro Projectors
- Digital Paper
- 3D Opportunities
- Personal GPS
- EmWave Personal Stress Reliever
- iClubby Workstation
Read about more about Roman's top gadget picks from CES 2009 at www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/2310,
where he discusses Digital Paper, 3D Opportunities, Personal GPS, Stress Relievers & the Ultimate Office Chair.