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Xbox Catching Up in 2006

Although there was a delay in delivering the number of Xbox 360s that consumers demanded for the 2005 holiday season, Microsoft is expected to manufacture over 2 million of the gaming consoles in the first quarter of 2006. It's estimated that about 1 million Xbox 360s made it to stores in time for the holidays, so there's a pent-up demand for the console. In addition, reported bugs and cooling problems will likely be worked out in the near future. The Xbox isn't the only consumer electronic hitting the news these days. At the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, a number of manufacturers of cell phones will be honored with innovation awards. For example, Firefly Mobile will be honored for their "Mobile Phone for Mobile Kids," which is specifically designed for tweens.

In addition, Auvi Technologies will be presented an award for their innovative PHIP100 VoIP-enabled cordless speakerphone with a built-in webcam. CES will also honor a number of innovative computer manufacturers, including Hewlett Packard. HP has two products, the Media Center Photosmart PC and the Pavillion desktop PC, which combine computing with cutting edge digital entertainment features. Logitech will be accorded the 2006 Best of Innovations award for its customizable computer mouse, which allows the user to change the mouse's weight and balance. Consumer electronics continue to be integrated into car design and sold as after market features.

Audivox, for example, offers dual DVD players that offer backseat passengers a choice in which DVD they each watch, while Panasonic has an in-dash DVD monitor and receiver. Manufacturers are also producing after market products to integrate MP3 players and iPods into a vehicle's sound system. As a result, drivers and passengers no longer have to rely on a CD to bring their favorite tunes on the road. Although many developers of video games seem to be waiting until the next generation of gaming consoles saturate the market, a few recent titles are noteworthy. Psychonauts is a hit, and for the role-playing crowd, Jade Empire is the video game du jour for the Xbox. In portable gaming, the Sony PSP comes out on top with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, while the Nintendo DS offers Mario Kart. On the whole, consumer electronics continue to improve in reliability and performance, while becoming increasingly affordable. In all respects, 2006 looks like it will be a stellar year for everything from video gaming systems to cell phones. ZZZZZZ .


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