CES 2009 in review

This year main topic in CES 2009 was wireless, the web, netbooks and 3DTV are key themes for the year ahead.

The 42nd annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is considerred a roaring success, despite the economic gloom that is all around us at this time.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer said "it's the power of ideas and innovation that drive us forward, regardless of the economic environment. Companies and industries that continue to pursue innovation will deliver significant competitive advantages."

A lot of clever gadgets and innovative ideas was presented of this year's Ces edition. Here are the three trends that rise from the show:


Ultra-portable-cheap laptop computers were hugely popular with consumers last year, who loved their compact size, internet connectivity and ease of use. Unsurprisingly, a slew of new netbooks made their debut at this year's show, with Asus, in particular, earning plaudits for its swivel touch-screen T91, which transformed from an ordinary netbook into a tablet-style computer. But the star of the show was Sony's Vaio P Series of computers. These tiny letterbox-shaped laptops had an 8in screen, plenty of computing power and a dual operating system that means users can either boot up quickly to tap out a speedy email, or load Windows Vista for a truly rich computing experience. When Windows 7 launches, these will surely be the machines to covet.


Televisions traditionally dominate gadget shows, with manufacturers vying to be the thinnest, biggest or highest-definition. This year, however, it was TVs with a twist, as the idea of 3D television made the leap from science fiction to reality. Almost every single manufacturer, including Sony, LG and Samsung, had a 3D television to show off, with a senior LG executive boldly stating that 3D TV would be the "next big thing", in people's homes within the next two years. But whether or not people are prepared to sit on their sofas wearing 3D glasses in order to watch the FA Cup final or latest Bruce Willis film remains to be seen.

Internet everywhere

Our love affair with the world wide web shows no signs of abating, so it's little surprise that consumer electronics companies are keen to build the internet into their products in order to ensure their future. Sony, for example, declared that by 2011, 90 per cent of its products would be able to connect to the internet, and showed of a range of digital cameras and MP3 players with web access built in. Televisions, too, are an internet battle ground. Samsung showed off its new Yahoo!-supported widgets platform, which allows viewers to call up the latest news headlines or weather reports on their television while watching their favourite TV show.

Wire-less home

While the plug will be around for a few more years to come, wires and cables are becoming increasingly obsolete. Tech companies showed off a wide range of home audio systems and televisions that could communicate wirelessly with one another to stream even high-definition audio and images smoothly between devices. With televisions getting thinner, and looking more like giant, wall-mountable digital photo frames, it's imperative that there's not a tangle of cables trailing out the back. Instead, consumers will be able to stash their Blu-ray DVD players and games consoles out of the way, knowing they will be able to wirelessly stream content to the television. It's a huge pity that, in the UK but not the USA, wireless HD is some way off because of regulatory restraints on which bits of spectrum manufacturers can use to transmit signals. Wireless electricity itself, meanwhile, is still in the experimental stages, but a number of exhibitors at CES showed off gadgets that could charge devices such as mobile phones and iPods without the use of plugs.
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