(Disclosure: I write a weekly blog post for the Consumer Electronics Association, the Arlington, Va., trade association that runs CES.)
Phones occupied a large fraction of CES's 1.86 million square feet of exhibit space, and they too showed signs of screen-size inflation. An iPhone's 3.5-in. LCD looks tiny next to the 4.5-in. screens on many phones, let alone the 4.7-in. display of HTC's Windows Phone 7-based Titan 2 or the 5.3-in. screen of Samsung's Galaxy Note.
Perhaps because a phone with display almost as big as the screens on some 1990s-vintage laptops can be tricky to fish out of a pocket, vendors like Motorola and startups WIMM Labs and I'm Watch were showing off watches that act as external monitors for phones, using Bluetooth wireless to present messages and other relevant info. Like, you know, the time.
All of these portable devices need constant charging. So the last screen I'll note here is the battery display: To judge from all of the external power packs, solar-cell chargers and even one portable fuel cell that I saw on the show floor, the most desperately needed innovation at next year's CES must be longer-running batteries.