Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Microsoft's Ballmer Sets the Mood at CES


The keynote address from Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, his first at this event, no doubt set the mood on the eve of the 2009 International CES. Produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), it's still the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology.

"The pre-CES events created an incredible buzz throughout Las Vegas and around the globe as the world waits in anticipation for the innovative products that will launch this week from the International CES," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.

With 2,700 exhibitors, including 300 new technology companies, spanning 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space, the products introduced at this year's CES are likely to further change the shape of the CE industry.

During a market research presentation on Tuesday afternoon, CEA released the Global CE Sales and Forecast. According to new data from CEA and the Gfk Group, CEA projected worldwide revenue for consumer electronics will grow more than four percent to reach $724 billion in 2009.

The pre-CES media event was launched Tuesday evening, which hosted more than 900 media people. With 56 exhibitors, including AMD, Boxee, Lenovo and Phoenix Technologies, "CES Unveiled" showcased the latest products and technologies in home networking, text to sign language technologies, gaming keyboards, embedded technologies, and digital imaging.

CES exhibitors making product announcements included LG, which announced a wireless wristwatch phone with video chat and text messaging capabilities; NETGEAR, which introduced an Internet TV player and a 3G Mobile Broadband router and Panasonic, which unveiled the world's thinnest Plasma TV, measuring one third of an inch thick, with NeoPDP technology.

Ballmer's keynote outlined three opportunities that lay ahead for the consumer technology industry -- the convergence of the PC, phone and TV; a more natural consumer interaction with devices that will incorporate speech and hand gestures and the connected experience between devices. Updates on the status of Zune and Vista apparently were not discussed.

Robbie Bach returned to the CES keynote stage to discuss the latest in Microsoft gaming. Bach announced the upcoming release of two new Halo titles, Halo Wars in February, and Halo 3ODST in the fall.