CES round-up: Thin is in for 2012

CES 2012 round-up
Gadgets are slimming down for the new year

It's digital Christmas! For the tech industry, January's Consumer Electronics Show is more exciting than waiting for Santa to come down the chimney: it's when the big names of consumer technology show off their biggest and best products - and by "biggest" we mean "smallest", because this year thin is in.

Tech firms usually boast about power or pixels, but this year they sounded more like supermodels who haven't eaten anything but air for six months.

Take LG, for example: its 55-inch OLED TV wasn't remarkable for its screen size, but for its thinness: it's just 4mm thick, which means it's thinner than any of LG's phones. Marc Chacksfield has an important warning, though: "it's not as light as a phone".

Bang & Olufsen's doing the skinny thing too. Its BeoVision 12-65 "ultra flat" 3D plasma is "very thin indeed", says Kate Solomon, and comes with typically B&O pricing: "it's likely to be high - now take that price you're thinking is high and double it. About that."

Samsung's been at the skinny-TV game too. It's own 55-incher is millimetres-thin and made from a single pane of glass, delivering 2D, 3D, motion sensing and voice recognition, dual-core processing and a whole bunch of apps. Hang on, doesn't that mean it's a PC?

On the subject of PCs, they've been on the Slimfast plan as well, courtesy of Intel, who showed off a whole bunch of Ultrabook laptops and convertible tablets that are just 18mm thick, with even thinner models on the horizon.

Our intrepid correspondent Dan Grabham was particularly impressed by the "incredibly thin convertible Windows 8 Ultrabook-tablet hybrid" the IdeaPad Yoga, which is "like Microsoft's vision for the tablet PC from 2002. Only good."

It's an impressive bit of kit not just for what it is, but for what's coming in its wake: "What's most exciting is that we'll be seeing plenty more devices like this during 2012," Grabham says. "We cannot wait."

Thin phones and cameras

Is there anything else we can slim down? How about smartphones? Motorola's Droid 4 is "the thinnest LTE QWERTY phone in the world", which sounds awfully like band website claims such as "we're the most popular six-piece Welsh language jazz-funk fusion band in Scunthorpe".

Nevertheless, at half-an-inch thick - 7.1mm in proper measurements - it's certainly quite thin, especially if you compare it to things that are thicker.

"This is getting silly now," Gareth Beavis writes about the 6.68mm thick Huawei Ascend P1 S. The P1 claims to be the thinnest smartphone on the market, although "it will be interesting to see how thick that lip at the bottom is, as that's the part that will stop it from being able to tout any records in advertising should it be fatter than the iPhone 4S."

There's another Ascend, the P1, but at 7.69mm that one's so thick Huawei should call it the Ascend Porker, or something.

Anyone else been to fat camp? Yep: here comes Toshiba with "something that has made us genuinely excited". It's a tablet! Huawei should take note: the Toshiba Excite X10 is just 7.7mm thick, and that's for a full tablet, not a wee smartphone.

The Excite X10 isn't just a thin tablet: it'll make your wallet thinner too, because the entry level 16GB version's pegged at a hefty $530.

Fancy a thin camera? There's a new bunch from Olympus, some new Kodaks and some rather nifty all-weather cameras from Fujifilm, while Samsung tells us it's considering "producing a more advanced compact system camera... in order to attract enthusiast photographers".

Last but not least, you're getting thinner too: Kinect is coming to Windows next month. "Prepare to gesture at your PC like a loon", Kate Solomon says.

The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.