And the hottest products of 2008 are...

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is creeping up on us yet again and, as a taster of things to come this time around, the show's organisers have just announced the winners of the CES Awards 2008.

The annual gongs are given out to products in over 30 categories, spanning from the best TVs to the coolest computer accessories.

The awards are meant to be a neon-lit pointer to the hottest products that'll be on display at the show in January. But with many tech companies choosing to launch or unveil new products at CES, the awards can only encompass products that have already been announced.

So rather than a showcase of the hottest products of 2008, the CES Award-winners are (mostly) a muted celebration of technology tat from 2007. Ho, and as they say, hum.

Awards winners

With the iPod firmly established as the most ridiculously popular thingamajig of all time, you can be sure there'll be an enormous supply of third-party accessories on display at CES 2008.

Kensington's LiquidFM radio transmitter scooped up the 'Best Audio Accessory' award for 2008. FM transmitters used to be illegal in the UK until recently, but since they've become legit, we've been buying them in our thousands.

And is there anyone out there who hasn't heard of the Yoggie Pico? It's a USB dongle which acts as a one-stop solution for security on your laptop. It picked up the gong for best computer accessory and you can bet that Yoggie will have something more to show us this year too.

One company that always puts up a good show is the world's biggest PC manufacturer, Dell. It's recent emphasis on stylish design as well as solid build has seen it pick up the 2008 CES Award for computer hardware, specifically for its XPS M1330 family of consumer notebooks.

Now that high-end systems are becoming ever more affordable, more emphasis is being placed on the aesthetics, so you can be sure that come January we'll be seeing more snazzy new laptops boasting Centrino technology and either (a) a brightly-coloured lid or (b) a headline-grabbing sponsorship.

Style revolution

Sanyo's Xacti E1 underwater video camera picked up the 2008 award for digital imaging. It's completely waterproof, has a 5x optical zoom, takes 6 megapixel photos and can capture over an hour of footage in one go.

And if you're in the market for some new headphones or a headset for your phone, Motorola's MotoRokr S9 wireless Bluetooth headphones might suit you. They've been named the best headphones of 2008, and eliminate the need for trailing wires through your clothes.

The best gear

Portable media devices have been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. With the buzz generated by the likes of the Apple iPhone, standards have been set pretty high.

Samsung's YA-BS900 'hyper-directional 3-channel surround sound speaker system' has been named 'best portable media player' device. It's Bluetooth enabled and lowers the volume of your music when a Bluetooth phone is picked up.

The Belkin TuneStudio, meanwhile, walked the 'best portable media accessory' category. It's an audio mixing deck that lets you create high-quality digital recordings directly onto your iPod. it was only a prototype this year, but now it's a fully-fledged music mixer.

Beyond fad gadgets

It's a decent mix of products, but the award winners here lack the fizz of excitement you expect from CES and they don't really reflect the content of the show.

This year's CES will obviously be dominated by high-def TVs - walk the halls and almost every stand will have a rack of 26-60-inch flat panels. The addition of Panasonic AVC president Toshihiro Sakamoto to the keynote list also suggests a high-def theme. Sakamoto is reponsible for Panasonic's "digital consumer electronics device strategies for flat panel displays and other high-definition networkable products."

Beyond the battle to have the biggest and best HD TV at CES, expect the Blu-ray and HD DVD battle to rumble on and for home networks and digital home technologies (from the hardware to the software) to make another big play for industry acceptance.

We'll be at CES again this year to sniff out the best that the technology industry has to offer and to suggest the tech trends that will define 2008.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.