The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ended yesterday with a bang, not a whimper. Drawing more than 140,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center, the show was back to its pre-recession size. More than a trade show, CES has become a spectacle. Each of the 2,700 vendors tried to outdo the others, with bigger booths, splashy tech gear, and marketing tricks such as giveaways and booth babes. Here’s a sample of the show’s scenery, from beginning to end. Our top photo shows off the beauty of Microsoft’s newest Surface touchscreen table, which will be built by Samsung and sold for $7,600. The hands belong to Microsoft’s Surface exec, Chip Wood.

Panasonic wins the award for the over-the-top booth. Anyone care to guess how much electricity this one consumes, even if the TVs are billed as energy efficient? Still, it was cool to see so many pretty TVs.

Google’s Android 3.0 mobile operating system and 4G LTE wireless service were in the air, from the beginning to the end of the show.

The Nvidia folks tied me up and forced me to appear in this picture, which features two warriors from World of WarCraft. I wasn’t scared.

Marketing the old fashioned way. This company in the South Hall of the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center was one of many that used the combo of sex appeal and contests. Here, Miss Playboy Club from the Palms hotel picked a raffle winner.

Gary Shapiro (left), president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, has written a book called The Comeback about how innovation will restore the American dream.
Smart meters like this one can bring the internet into your thermostat. Not only does it tell you how to cool your house, it reports back on your usage and the efficiency of your energy usage.

LG Electronics debuted its ThinQ line-up of smart appliances, including this web-connected washer and dryer. You can download new laundry cycles. and the device can help you lower your electricity bill as it figures out the most appropriate time to do laundry.

Seeker Technology unveiled its pipSqueak Bluetooth device that helps you screen calls. You can attach it to your clothing and check to see who is calling you. You don’t have to immediately pull your phone out of your pocket or your purse.

TVs are getting thinner, sharper, and web-connected. More than half of models can display in stereoscopic 3D.
Toshiba had its, uh, marketing women ready at the Tao Nightclub event in the Venetian hotel, where it unveiled its glasses-free TV and laptop.

Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini gets credit for the mega boasts of the show. He said Intel had more than 500 design wins for computers based on Intel’s new Core microprocessors, code-named Sandy Bridge, which combine a microprocessor and graphics on the same chip. He said that Sandy Bridge chips would likely lead to more than$125 billion in computer industry sales in 2011.
Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, went long on his presentation. But he saved a whopper for the end. He said Nvidia is working on a high-end microprocessor based on the ARM architecture. This chip will be able to run a future version of Windows, breaking Intel’s near-monopoly on Windows chips.

Sony pulled out the coolest stars at the show. Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, the stars of the upcoming film The Green Hornet, showed up on stage in a car with twin machine guns on its hood. They chatted with Howard Stringer, (right), the whimsical CEO of Sony, who likes 3D TV so much that he kept his glasses on even after the presentation of 3D was over.

Sony’s new 3D glasses looked cool. But is this a new version of dressing up the pig? Some people still don’t see the value of 3D, even though the marketing departments of the tech giants are in overdrive.

We’re suckers for album cover art. Sony’s new Music Unlimited cloud-music service finally got the green light to launch in the U.S. Sony TV and gadget users will be able to access it via internet connections and discover new music.

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said at the opening keynote that future versions of Windows would run on ARM chips. That’s a nod toward smartphones and tablets. But is the move coming too late, given the success of Apple and Google in mobile?

Asus showed off a dual-screen laptop computer that had glass where there is normally a keyboard on a laptop. But if you want, you can open a virtual laptop on the bottom screen and type as if it were a laptop.

It’s going to be a broadband world. Lowell McAdam, chief operating officer of Verizon, said that 4G LTE networks will give users multiple megabits a second data speeds. Those wireless networks will in turn fuel the growth of Android-based products such as Motorola’s Atrix 4G phone. Meanwhile, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said that some fiber-optic broadband network subscribers are getting as much as 150 megabits a second service to the home.

Yep. Lowell McAdam, COO of Verizon Wireless, wants to conquer the world.

The Motorola Atrix sports the Google Android software, and its bright screen can do important things like display games.

Small and colorful are in fashion. Kodak came up with a bunch of small camcorders and digital cameras, including the big yellow waterproof model.

Intel’s booth had this inexplicable puzzle, but it sure looked pretty.
Intel also showed off some cool-looking touch screens that touted its Core microprocessors.

The crowds were huge this year. Forget about trying to get a Starbucks Mocha or a burger for lunch.
B.K. Yoon, a Samsung executive who gave one of the keynote talks, promoted “human digitalism,” which focuses on the human side of technology that really makes our lives better.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, comes back every year to tout 3D viewing. And guess what? This year is the year of 3D again. So Jerry says.

B.K. Yoon of Samsung set off some digital fireworks in the background to show off Samsung’s theatrical 3D sound system.
Car computers were back in force at CES. Putting a cool car in a booth is the next-best thing to the booth babe when it comes to CES exhibits.
Yes, showgirls are techies too. Here’s the proof, though I have no idea what she was hawking.
Yep, Motorola is back as the tip of the Android spear, which is pointed right at Apple. Motorola’s Atrix 4G and its Xoom tablet were hot tickets this year.
Every year, someone has to claim they have the world’s largest TV. Here’s Samsung said its 75-inch model was the world’s largest full HD LED TV with 3D viewing.
Stantum showed off software for touchscreens that allows you to write on them even if your hand is touching the surface.
Monster Cable always has the biggest marketing budget. The company’s concert performers this year were Earth Wind & Fire. Hewlett-Packard captured the performance in 3D and streamed it live to a huge stereoscopic 3D screen. The system used a wide camera with 19 imaging engines and 12 synchronized projectors.

Out on the Las Vegas strip, Michael Jackson was still alive. In digital form, Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson game sold 2 million units on the Nintendo Wii.
I wonder how much this rather large poster cost?
Warren East, CEO of ARM, is happier than he looks here. He has 220 licensees building ARM chips. And soon, those chip makers will be building machines that run Microsoft’s Windows.

This is Paro, the therapeutic robot for patients who need a little physical interaction.
Kenmore and General Electric had booths that were near each other. They showed off internet-connected refrigerators that can use smart grid technology to figure out when is the best time to turn on their energy-consuming compressors. The time to do it is when the electricity costs the least.

The little toy on the lady’s back is a Dream Bots Whee Me portable massage robot. It applies a gentle massage and is smart enough not to fall off as it rolls back and forth.
DEMO award winner Jeff Mullen, CEO of Dynamics, showed off his company’s newfangled electronic credit cards, which can stop fraud because they have numbers that change and buttons that can be used to enter special codes. Dynamics announced a deal with Citibank, which is issuing cards using the technology this year.

Murata showed off a robot that could ride a unicycle. It was part of a larger section dedicated entirely to robots.Chris Culver of National Instruments showed that you could control a game with your eye movements.

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