The Apple Killers of CES 2011

Apple unveils its products on its own damn time. But just because they won't be a presence at CES doesn't mean CES 2011 isn't all about them. Take a look at 11 gadgets made with the express purpose of dethroning Steve Jobs. Heck, some of them are so pretty they just might succeed.

LG Optimus Black

Think your iPhone’s all slick and shit? LG’s Optimus Black is taking over as the world’s thinnest phone, measuring in at a whisker-thin 9.2 mm. Well, the iPhone is only .1 mm bigger than that, but that’s still going to kill you, isn’t it? Optimus Black, which will hopefully inspire someone to make a Blaxploitation Transformers flick, also has a 4-inch NOVA screen (that means it’s ultra-bright and clear like whoa even in direct sunlight). It’ll be running Android 2.2 Froyo when it goes on sale in the first half of 2011, but you can update it to Gingerbread later. There’s also a forward-facing camera, which seems to be required for all phones now.

Windows Phone 7

Did you see the Fable Coin Golf game Steve Ballmer led the Windows Phone 7 portion of the Microsoft keynote with? Just kidding, it looks a +1 stink-charmed pile of hobbe crap. Please stick to making me Xbox games, and try not to eff up Fable IV like you did III, eh? I do think the Windows Phone 7 has potential if Microsoft can get its mind right, and it might make more waves now that they've announced they'll be expanding to Verizon and Sprint. Bless you, little Sprint, for staying in business. WP7 is also getting a cut and paste feature and a much-needed boost in the app loading time department. Stay tuned.

Motorola Atrix 4

Motorola’s new 4G smartphone, an AT&T joint, claims to be the most powerful smartphone ever, of all time. They might not be bullshitting you, either: this thing has a dual-core 1GHz processor and 16 gigs of internal storage (you can expand it to 48 gigs with a microSD card). The phone isn’t technically 4G, though: it’s built for current HSPA+ technology, and many people in the know don’t consider that to be true 4G—despite T-Mobile and AT&T’s advertisements to the contrary. Motorola also demonstrated its ability to dock into a laptop, which lets you use the laptop to navigate your phone. Unnecessary by far, but appealing in a way. Also, forward-facing camera.

Motorola Xoom

Check it out: a tablet that runs Android 3.0 designed for tablets. The much-rumored Xoom, which I personally pronounce using the Jewish “ch”, has similar specs to the Atrix: dual-core 1 GHz processor, forward-facing camera, rear camera, etc. It’s also got an HDMI output (eat it, Apple), Flash support (hell yeah), 1080p HD video support, 720p video capture, and all the scopes that measure pressure and movement that you’ve come to require in your Apple-killing devices on a 10.1 inch screen. It’s coming to Verizon in March, and should you get the 3G version right away, you’ll later be able to upgrade the tablet to 4G (awesome!).

BlackBerry Playbook

Nerds are scuttling all over each other with rumors that Apple is coming out with a 7-inch device this spring. Blackberry has them beat to the punch with the new Playbook, a pocket-sized tablet if you wear JNCO jeans. It runs like a dream (including Flash) and looks especially slick for yet another black, rectangular woo-dad (I have a PhD). Be warned, though, that you have to link up with your BlackBerry smartphone if you want to check your email and calendar. If you don't already have one of those, I'd wait for the next 7 incher to hit the streets because that sucks in a serious way.

Samsung 9 Series Laptop

Samsung has begun standing out in the past few years as an aesthetic leader, and this MacBook Air killer (and the complimentary Series 9 3D HDTV unveiled mere hours before CES) is no exception. This 13-inch laptop is lighter and thinner than the 13-inch Air (not by much at all, but you can have your bragging rights regardless). It rolls with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 128 gig SSD (Solid State Drive). I also dig the display that automatically adjusts its brightness to your room's lighting to reduce strain on your precious peepers.

Samsung Infuse 4G

Another 4G (HSPA+ again, arguably not true 4G) Android phone coming down the pipes, this time for AT&T (it'll be the network's thinnest phone). The Infuse has a 1.2GHz processor, and, you guessed it, both rear- and forward-facing cameras. Next year I expect to see phones with sideways cameras as well. The mega 4.5 inch Super Amoled Plus screen looks just gorgeous despite sounding like terrible robot anime, reaffirming what I said earlier about Samsung being the pretty girl at the prom this year after producing earlier, cheap-feeling phones.

HTC Inspire 4G

The HTC Inspire will basically be AT&T's version of the EVO (on the Sprint network), practically the same phone with a different name. It's got the same specs: 1 GHz processor, 4.3 inch screen, and so on. Unfortunately, it will not be compatible with AT&T's LTE network (the "true" 4G) when it comes out, so you'll have to make do with HSPA+, you spoiled baby. As long as HTC keeps throwing its weight around different networks, it might build a base on which it can become a very serious contender.

LG G-Slate

Not one to be left behind (except when it comes to most things), T-Mobile has announced its own tablet, which, like several of its contemporary CES tablets, run on the Android 3.0 operating system (otherwise known as Honeycomb). Though few details are known, LG's G-Slate, which will hopefully be marketed towards gangstas, will run on some kind of 4G.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc

The phone everybody thought was going to be the Playstation Phone isn't. It does look good, though, with a meh 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 4.2 inch screen, Android 2.3, an 8.3 megapixel camera, HD video capture, an HDMI connector, and a svelte 8.7 mm thick body. The arc (intentional lower-case: yes, it is that cool) also has something called a "Reality Display" with the Mobile BRAVIA Engine to make pretty images; hopefully we'll find out what all that actually means sometime soon.

Asus Eee Slate EP121

The latest in Asus's line of the bestest, funnest named computers ever is a Windows 7 tablet PC. It's got a screen made of Gorilla Glass (one of the big buzz specs around CES this year), which means it's extra tough, and comes with a wireless keyboard so you can ditch your current laptop if you want. It's got a 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 processor inside, and comes in two versions: 32 gig SSD with 2 gigs of RAM for $999, or a 64 gig SSD with 4 gigs of RAM for $1099.