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

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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