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Travel Tech News from CES

Smart Women Travelers isn’t just about flights, car rentals, and hotel stays. The tech toys we bring with us are all part of the fun! This year we’ve sent a SWT Correspondent to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to bring back news on what will be this year’s greatest travel companions – the gadgets we use everyday to keep in touch.

The big story from the Consumer Electronics Show this year may be Microsoft, as much for what they did as what they won’t be doing. At his keynote speech, CEO Steve Balmer talked about applying their Metro interface to the new Windows 8 platform due out later this year. It will be not only for PC’s but also tablets and phones. Hands-on experience at the show says this will be a nice improvement over Windows 7. Nokia announced their new Lumia 900 phone will use Win 8. However, the jury is out on whether the platform can make serious inroads against Apple and Google-based phones.

Most disappointing was Balmer’s announcement that Microsoft will not have a booth at future CES events. He cited the same reasons as other majors in the consumer electronics arena: Too much pressure to work their production calendar around this event because everyone expects major announcements at CES. Their presence will be missed.

Elsewhere, Samsung is offering a new smartphone with a huge 5.3″ screen, sized between a standard phone and a 7″ tablet. It comes with a stylus, which is handy if you are a graphics artist or designer or just someone who loves to write or draw on a phone. These handwritten notes can even be sent as text messages. So who would buy such a large phone? Some women may enjoy the larger size because it will still fit in a handbag easily. Those who mostly use their phones for games or video definitely will enjoy the larger, brighter images. Perhaps some seniors also will appreciate the easy reading from a larger screen. The phone will be coming to AT&T shortly.

Samsung also used CES to introduce their line of “ultrabooks”. The 13-14″ screen size may be the sweet spot for most travelers, and the 1 TB hard drive should be sufficient for nearly everyone. On the downside, the inclusion of such a large drive brings the weight to over 4 lbs. They’re beautifully designed, but not “ultra” light weight.

Other vendors were showing ultrabooks (a term coined by Intel) which are far more practical for travelers. Most have screen sizes around 13″ but use the lighter (and smaller capacity) SSD instead of the traditional hard drives. Also, they eliminate the DVD drive to bring the weight down to a very appealing 3 lbs or less. Look for them to arrive later this year loaded with Windows newest operating system. Expect prices generally higher than current laptops.

Next week: More from CES 2012 featuring handy travel products.

To receive a free copy of our ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel — Because Your Life Can Change in a Heartbeat, and for more travel savvy info to help you travel smarter, safer and with more enjoyment, visit and Watch for my new book, Business Travel Success – How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence, being published by Morgan James in early 2012.

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