It's January and in the tech industry that means packing your bags and heading to Las Vegas, the home of the Consumer Electronics Show. As ever we'll be there to cover every inch of the show, or at least as much Riyad, Gordan and I can manage between us - which will be a lot, be sure of that!
While the show proper runs from Thursday until Saturday, news - such as a new range of cool looking new Lenovo laptops - has already begun to leak and the big press conferences from the likes of Panasonic, Microsoft and Samsung et al kick-off on Wednesday. As such, expect the next week to be a veritable geek feast of tech news to rival the Christmas festivities.
Here's a quick guide as to what to expect and how to keep track of it all.
Facts & FiguresDue to the "global economic downturn" (read: recession) and some deliberate cost cutting by the show's organisers, attendance last year fell by 22 per cent to just over 110,000. It's still the biggest show of it's kind of the world, though, boasting close to 3,000 exhibitors and spanning just over 1.8 million square feet. It truly is gadget nirvana and what better place to host it all than Las Vegas?
Who & When?As already noted the show proper starts on Thursday, but there's a lot going on before that happens. Tomorrow (US time) will be CES Unveiled, the official pre-show preview event where many manufacturers choose to exhibit in the hope of getting the jump on the competition. We'll be heading there directly from the airport, so expect to see news from there when you check the site Wednesday morning.
Wednesday in Vegas is the press day when all the manufacturers conduct their press conferences. LG kicks off at 8am (4pm GMT) with all the big guns (Toshiba, Pioneer, Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and more) following throughout the day, culminating in the Microsoft keynote at 6:30pm (2:30am GMT).
More press conferences are to be had throughout the week, most notably including Ford, Intel and nVidia on Thursday.
What's going to be hot?Some trends have already begun to reveal themselves. Just like 2009, expect 3D to play a large part. While the jury (in some parts) is still out on Avatar, box office figures show it has been a massive success, giving manufacturers more excuse to push the technology where none was needed. Another perennial TV related technology, wireless HD, is also expected to make a splash, though whether we're any nearer to seeing usable consumer products is another matter. Expect even more OLED TVs appearing, too.
With stateside going mad for eBook readers, particularly Amazon's Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, eBook readers are bound to be arriving in numbers. That said many are likely to come from little-known manufacturers, so it remains to be seen if they'll be worth the trouble. Along similar lines, tablets of all shapes and sizes are inevitable, some masquerading as eBook readers and PCs combined.
New netbooks and laptops should be plentiful since Intel is officially unveiling its much talked about Pine Trail platform for netbooks and Core i3 for laptops, with both integrating the graphics chip onto the CPU. Some details of these new machines have already begun to leak and we fully expect all the major manufacturers to have something to talk about here.
Some interesting things will be happening outside the show, too. Google has announced a press conference tomorrow, where it is expected to officially announce its Nexus One Android mobile phone. There's even some talk of a tablet PC, but that's strictly gossip right now. While we won't be in Mountain View ourselves (we might fly over it), we'll let you know the details when they arrive.
How to follow the showNaturally TrustedReviews should be your first destination for in-depth, non-copy & pasted news coverage and hands-on impressions. As ever there's the TrustedReviews News RSS to subscribe to and those of that persuasion can also use our Twitter feed to keep up-to-date.
Myself (@andyvan) and Gordon (@gordonkelly) will also be tweeting from the show, so follow us to see what we're up to and ask us to seek things out if you like.
Finally, to see all the CES 2010 news all in one place, our CES news index page will be the place to go.
Next stop, Las Vegas.