CES To Offer Tech Evolution, Not Revolution - InformationWeek
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CES To Offer Tech Evolution, Not Revolution

In addition, CES has less star power with Microsoft founder Bill Gates no longer giving the opening night keynote, a job he filled for the last 11 years.

This year's mellower Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest tech industry event of the year, is expected to highlight evolutionary products that are unlikely to shake up the market but will showcase advancements in digital TVs, home networking, and mobile computing.

Bud*Bud earpieces.
(click for CES preview photo gallery)
Indeed, the glitzy Las Vegas show is smaller than last year's, as vendors have scaled back in anticipation of fewer attendees in the current economic recession. In addition, CES has less star power, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates no longer giving the opening night keynote, a job he filled for the last 11 years.

Instead, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer on Wednesday night will address attendees, who will number fewer than last year. The Consumer Electronics Association, which runs the event, expects 130,000 people; 8% less than the 141,000 a year ago. There will be 2,700 exhibitors covering 1.7 million square feet, which is 5% less than last year's 1.8 million square feet.

While unlikely to be jaw-dropping, the new products hawked at the show will cover many of the most exciting markets, including smartphones, third-generation netbooks, slimmer and better-looking digital TVs, touch-screen laptops, and gaming.

Lenovo, for example, is hoping to stand out from the crowd of computer makers with a slim, all-in-one desktop and a dual-screen laptop, one of several mobile PCs the vendor plans to unveil. The ThinkPad W700ds has a 17-inch LCD screen and a 10.6-inch display that slides out to the right, according to the Reuters news agency. The second screen is meant to mimic work environments where dual screens are used. The 11-pound system will sell for $3,600.

Lenovo also plans to showcase its thinnest and lightest 16-inch laptop, the IdeaPad Y650. The system weighs 5.6 pounds, measures an inch at its thinnest point, and will cost $1,199 when it's available in March, the company said.

The all-in-one IdeaCentre A600, which measures one inch at its thinnest point, is among the slimmest desktops of its kind, according to the world's fourth-largest PC maker. The desktop has a 21.5-inch frameless screen, a number of entertainment-focused features, an Intel Core 2 dual-core processor, and up to 4 GB of memory and a 1-TB hard drive. Scheduled to be available in April, the system is expected to sell for a starting price of $999.

Hewlett-Packard also plans to showcase thin and light notebooks, including the Mini 2140, which features an all-aluminum case and a 10-inch light-emitting diode screen. The system weighs 2.6 pounds, includes an 80-GB hard drive, and is powered by an Intel Atom processor. The netbook is scheduled to be available this month and sell for a starting price of $499.

HP also plans to highlight an ultraportable laptop, the Pavilion dv2, that features Advanced Micro Devices' new mobile platform for ultrathin notebooks. The AMD technology, comprising its Athlon Neo microprocessor and an ATI Radeon 3000 series graphic processor, will be launched at the show. The Pavilion dv2 sports a 12-inch display, weighs 3.8 pounds, and is less than an inch thick. Pricing and availability weren't disclosed.

HP also plans to show off two gaming desktops, the Firebird 802 and 803. Both run on Intel Core 2 quad-core processors and will be available this month. Pricing was not disclosed, but the high-end machines, which have liquid-cooling systems, are sure to be expensive.

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