The world's largest trade show for consumer electronics has gone green this year -- at least that's what the folks from the organizing group Consumer Electronics Association are trumpeting. It seems the International Consumer Electronics Show had more than one milestone, what with Bill Gates' last annual keynote address there (ending with him introducing Slash (yes, from Guns N Roses) on Guitar Hero.
The show has run this week in Las Vegas, with an anticipated 140,000 attendees, and boasts such green features as recycled carpet, recycled and soy ink paper materials, biodegradable food containers and beefy on-site recycling programs. The organizers say the event will be carbon offset with investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
But what really has gear heads excited of course is the gadgets, and of 2,700 exhibitors, a goodly number are showing green products in Sin City. Our research so far has turned up these eco-friendly offerings:
1. The Iqua SUN Solar-Powered Bluetooth Headset
Turn your Bluetooth setup green with the Iqua Sun, which powers up with the sun's rays. Weighing in at 14 grams, it fits directly into the ear without a hook. The manufacturer says it lasts for 200 hours standby time, or 9 hours of jibber jabber in complete darkness.
The Iqua Sun is compatible with many Bluetooth enabled devices, including mobile phones, PDAs and computers.
2. LCD HDTVs
For high rollers and early adopters, CES showcased cutting-edge TVs that use highly efficient LEDs as their primary light source. Besides using a lot less energy (and releasing less heat into surrounding rooms), these sleek gadgets boast superior performance (darker blacks and brighter colors).
Manufacturers include Panasonic, which showed several sizes from 26 inches to 37 inches, and Samsung, which brought a 31-inch TV made of organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs. OLEDs offer promise as even more energy efficient than regular LEDs, and Sony has announced an 11-inch OLED display for $1,700.
3. Laptop Made with Corn-Based Cases
Fujitsu is making waves by showing a laptop model they say they are considering for the U.S. market. Perhaps not surprisingly, the company has sold a corn-based laptop in Japan since 2006.
4. Green Plug's "Intelligent" Chargers
With Green Plug's "intelligent power supplies," the charger communicates with your gadgets, allocating the proper amount of juice and no more. It ends the phantom load waste problem, and maximizes energy transmission and conversion.
Plus, you won't need a zillion different chargers for all your gizmos, since you should be able to power pretty much anything.
5. ZPower's Silver-Zinc Rechargeable Batteries
Z-Power's silver-zinc batteries are expected to pack capacity 20-30 percent higher than lithium-ion batteries. The nanotech-improved products are based on water chemistry, and are said to provide less risk of damage or contamination than lithium-ions.
Since the batteries contain valuable silver, the company hopes more will be recycled. Plus, the materials are said to be easier to extract and handle than conventional rechargeables.
In addition to such exciting green gadgets, many of the major players at CES were speaking green, boasting of more efficient chips and new models that are hoped to meet Energy Star's recently upgraded standards. It's no small goal, given consumer electronics consume 11 percent of U.S. residential electricity, according to the CEA.
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