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CES 2009 Preview

Gordon Kelly


CES 2009 Preview

By the time you read this Riyad, Andy and I will be jetting off across the Atlantic to step into the annual madness known as the Consumer Electronics Show.

One of the largest dates in the technology calendar, CES promises to be an even greater occasion in 2009 with more than 2,700 exhibiting companies this year - 300 of which will be there for the first time.

Geographically then CES is a huge, sprawling behemoth that has grown beyond its original heart at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and spread into the nearby Venetian, Bellagio and Hilton hotels with even some local restaurants becoming temporary showrooms for eager companies and hungry journalists.

So enough of the show stats, what can we expect? Well, while shocks are welcome, there are trends emerging. High definition TVs will continue to be a focus with OLED getting its biggest push to date (expect 50 inches and more this time around), a lot of LED backlit models and a push to integrate as much streaming content as possible. Thin will also be in with wafer slim designs already being touted in the shape of the 24.8mm thick 55in LG LH95 and the mysterious unnamed 6.5mm thick LED TV from Samsung. World's largest TVs? Possibly, but they're getting rather dull and we're in a credit crunch after all...

SSDs will get a major push however with 64GB and 128GB drives (arguably the first consumer friendly capacities) being aimed squarely at the mass market for the first time. Don't expect them to arrive en mass for another six months though.

Then there's that Doogie Howser of a format, the netbook. Now in its third generation for many manufacturers, the netbook will likely find some more performance at long last in 2009 with HD capable playback and HDMI connectivity certainly on the horizon and integrated HSDPA an increasingly core feature. We'd also hope to catch some time with Windows 7 - an allegedly netbook friendly OS after all - and the Blu-ray will continue to flaunt its victory over HD DVD with innumerable players and ever decreasing prices.

Any downers? Well, I can't possibly see how the Zii Processor and its claimed 'StemCell Computing' can possibly live up to the unbelievable hype Creative has placed upon it. "The world is poised to experience a breakthrough that will better lives beyond our imagination" we're told. Well, we'll try and approach it with an open mind - it just better not be another sound chip!

Aside from this, let's hope for some pleasant surprises. With Apple's last ever attendance at MacWorld (and consequently the last ever decent MacWorld?) taking place simultaneously we should certainly be in for an exciting week, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!


CES 2009

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