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Last night was the shot across the bow for the media.  We were invited to a huge press event called “CES Unveiled” where dozens of companies paid to exhibit their wares in a pre-show show.  Almost all of the news coverage you’re going to see this morning is from that show.  It’s another lesson in publicity — pay up.  Oh well.

The biggest news this year?  Tablet computers and better 3D television.  And, of those, Vizio is taking the majority of the steam.

Vizio, a U.S.-based company, has taken the television market by storm.  They’re now the top selling of quality, affordable LED and LCD televisions in the country.  I’ve recommended their TVs for a couple of years, and their market share has done nothing but grown.

Now, Vizio is in the process of moving into two other markets — Tablets and Smartphones.  And it starts this week.

At CES yesterday, Vizio has announced their new Google-Android based Tablets and Smartphone.  These look like they’re going to be great devices, and with their distribution channels it’s likely that they’ll have a huge shot at the current market leader’s slot.

Microsoft‘s CEO, Ballmer, is also rumored to be showing off a couple of third-party tablets running a modified version of Windows.  The Samsung device is expected to be “‘similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin,’” reported the Times, quoting its source. “‘It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.’” The tablet is also expected to “run the Windows 7 operating system when in landscape mode, but will also have a layered interface that will appear when the keyboard is hidden and the device is held in a portrait mode.”

Toshiba will reportedly unveil a tablet that will run Honeycomb, the next version of Google’s Android operating system. There’s also talk that Lenovo will unveil at least one, if not two, Android tablets.

Apple iPad — watch out!  But, if the iPod’s competition is any predictor of the future, there may not be much to worry about.

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