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CES preview: Beware the lemon gadgets

A participant at the Consumer Electronics Show in

A participant at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas tries out 3D glasses while watching a Sony three-dimensional television demonstration. The changes in 3D glasses for home television viewing was a highlight of the show. (Jan. 7, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

The Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner. I'm looking forward to seeing the next generation of dual-core 4G phones, "smart TVs" and wireless audio solutions. But as reported by The Associated Press, CES is also home to flops (see Android Tablets, Netbooks, 3-D TVs). Here are some potential downers that tech companies will continue to push onto consumers this year.

-- 3-D
This is a novelty/fad that's outworn its welcome by at least a year. Yet as long as Hollywood keeps producing terrbile 3-D movies, manufacturers will keep producing terrible 3-D products, and consumers will continue to produce 3-D-induced motion sickness. In 2012, look for more unwelcome 3-D gadgets, including video games, digital cameras, smartphones, digital frames, books, tablets and more. It could be a great year for Alka-Seltzer.

-- Ultrabooks
These are essentially Windows versions of the MacBook Air laptop that are lighter and thinner than traditional laptops. It remains to be seen whether Windows 7 and 8 will be able to play nice with the hardware contraints of these machines.

-- Cheap tablets
Last year, tech companies tried to ride the popularity wave of the iPad with $500 tablets -- and they failed miserably (see the HP Touchpad, Motorola Xoom, RIM Playbook). The only non-Apple tablets that were hits -- Amazon's sub-$200 Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire. Look for other manufacturers trying to emulate Amazon's success with their own bargain tablets.

-- OLED TV's
If you're in the market for a TV this year, you'll find plenty of buzz on OLED TV's. These TVs are razor-thin, super-light and have unparalleled video specs. Should you care? No, unless you're the type of person who uses $100 bills to wipe spilled Cristal off your mink coat.

LG is set to debut one of the world's first large OLED TVs at CES, and it's expected to sell for $8,000 when it hits shelves sometime in the third quarter of 2012. But there is very limited entertainment content available today that can take full advantage of the specs produced by OLED TVs. The LG OLED TV set will reportedly be able to play resolutions up to 2,560 by 1,500 pixels. By comparison, high-definition sources today are limited to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels -- and that's only from Blu-ray discs.

The "good news" is, these TVs will drop to $4,000 by the end of 2013. Avoid the hype for now and focus on the current-generation LCD and plasma "smart TVs."

CES is set to kick off Tuesday, Jan. 10. Check back here to get the scoop on what's hot and what's a flop.

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