The Best Small Business Technology at CES 2011

By Thor Olavsrud | Posted January 13, 2011

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless it happens at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show, then it gets plastered all over the Internet. While the show is primarily dedicated to consumer products, more than a few of the exhibitors at CES 2011 had small business technology offerings to show off.

Here's a roundup of some of the best CES 2011 had to offer with respect to small business computing.

Small Business Technology at CES

The buzz leading up to the show was all about tablets, and exhibitors didn't disappoint.

Tablets Rule CES

Motorola Mobility showed off its new Xoom tablet, and it won the award for best gadget at the show. Xoom is the first tablet to feature the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, developed specifically for tablets.


Motorola Xoom; tablet PC; small business computing
The Xoom tablet from Motorola Mobility.
(Click for larger image)
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The Xoom features a 10.1-inch widescreen display, an Nvidia Tegra 2.1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB DDR 2 RAM and front- and rear-facing cameras, one of which is capable of recording HD video. Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) said unique docking options would allow HD content streaming to TV and easy connection to PC accessories like mouse and keyboard devices.

The company teamed with Verizon to deliver wireless connectivity, and said 3G versions would be available in the first quarter of 2011, with 4G versions to follow. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Research in Motion (RIM) also made a strong showing with its new BlackBerry PlayBook. Rim (NASDAQ:RIMM) designed the tablet around a new operating system, BlackBerry Tablet OS, based on QNX.

The 5.1-inch x 7.6-inch tablet features 1 GB of RAM and an embedded 1 GHz, dual-core processor, along with 4G wireless (it's exclusive to Sprint), front- and rear-facing cameras that both take 1080p HD video and a mini-HDMI port. The device supports advanced security features, multitasking and is capable of syncing with BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

"RIM believes a significant portion of the tablet market will want a higher-performing, multitasking, professional-grade tablet, and that is why we chose to design the BlackBerry PlayBook for premium performance with a powerful dual-core processor and multitasking OS," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM.

"Together with Sprint, we are now building on that performance advantage with 4G and providing an unparalleled mobile experience for users," said Lazaridis. The company has not yet announced pricing or a release date.

Lenovo, meanwhile, is taking small business computing in a different direction. With the IdeaPad U1 hybrid and LePad Slate, the company aims to provide an experience that transforms according to user needs.

The LePad Slate, built on Android 2.2, features a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 10.1-inch widescreen display. It features a front-facing camera. But slide the LePad into the U1 base, and it becomes a hybrid laptop with full keyboard, the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system and an Intel CULV processor. Lenovo said its Hybrid Switch feature lets you seamlessly change operating systems while supporting a continuous Web browsing experience.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1 hybrid and LePad Slate; tablet PC; small business computing
The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 hybrid and LePad Slate.
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"Our IdeaPad U1 and LePad truly fit today’s mobile lifestyle," said Liu Jun, senior vice president, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "Use the light-weight slate when you’re mobile, and then simply slide it into the U1 base when you need to create and edit content. Consumers shouldn't have to adapt their lifestyle to technology, and this product definitely delivers twice the functionality and fun in one device."

Lenovo said it would make the IdeaPad U1 with LePad available beginning in China in the first quarter of 2011. The LePad Slate will go for about $520. It can be purchased together with the IdeaPad U1 for about $1,300.

Lenovo also introduced its new V Series notebooks targeted at small office and home office (SOHO) users. The IdeaPad V370, V470 and V570 feature 2nd generation Intel Core processors and a host of integrated security tools. The tools include the OneKey Rescue System for data backup and recovery, the Lenovo Security Suite for encryption, Fingerprint Reader for bioauthentication and a USB Port Locker to prevent unauthorized access to USB ports.

The IdeaPad V Series will be available beginning in April and pricing starts at $599.99.



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