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Welcome to the World of Tomorrow: The Top Gadgets of 2011

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3D laptops at the 2011 CES.
3D laptops at the 2011 CES.

Here’s an advance look at some of the hottest gear headed your way in 2011.

3D Laptops – Following in the footsteps of 3D TVs, video cameras and Blu-ray discs come several portable computing solutions that promise to let you watch Avatar in its full three-dimensional glory. Sony’s Vaio 3D laptops will display 3D video, gaming and multimedia at maxed-out 1080p resolution, while Toshiba has prototype Qosmio units up and running that offer glasses-free viewing solutions.

iPad 2 – The rumored second-gen iPad, purportedly due in April, may add features including dual cameras for FaceTime videoconferencing, a higher-res screen, gyroscope and thinner form. However much it apes or differs from the iPhone 4 though, it’ll need to gear up to compete with dozens of promising new rivals such as the BlackBerry Playbook, Motorola Droid Xoom and HTC Scribe.

Nintendo 3DS – Makes 3D game playing and video viewing possible without cumbersome glasses in a durable, affordable and portable format, and features an impressive range of software including new Mario Kart, Nintendogs and Kid Icarus titles. It’s potentially the strongest, and most cost-conscious, case for interactive 3D entertainment yet.

iPhone 5 – Besides the long-rumored Verizon iPhone, insiders expect Apple to introduce the iPhone 5 with near-field communications (NFC) support for mobile payments (similar to the Google Nexus S), previous antenna issues solved and an enhanced form factor. Other alleged new features include more memory, a speedier processor and larger screen, making it more of an evolutionary than revolutionary jump, but a potentially envy-inducing one regardless.

PlayStation Phone – Like tablet PCs, touch-sensing cellular handsets are everywhere in 2011, from Spring’s EVO Shift 4G to Vizia’s VIA Phone and the LG B (working title). But it’s Sony Ericsson’s long-rumored smartphone, complete with traditional console-style directional pad and button controls as well, that may garner more attention for its premium gaming capabilities.

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