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CES: Has the world's largest gadget expo lost its mojo?

Jay Alabaster | Jan. 5, 2012
The International Consumer Electronics Show takes place next week in Las Vegas, and as always there will be plenty to trigger our technolust.

With manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony gradually moving toward making their TVs "smarter," with Internet connectivity and downloadable apps, Google pushing its TV solution and the possibility of Apple's entry into the market, a battle is unfolding over how to zip photos and movies around the home without having to connect everything with wires.

Chipset maker Wilocity says it will demonstrate short-range data transfers at speeds of up to 7 Gbps based on the specifications of the The Wireless Gigabit Alliance, or WiGig, which includes Microsoft, NEC and Intel.

This competes with standards such as WirelessHD, which already has products on the market from the likes of Sony, LG and Vizio.

Following in the footsteps of Apple's iCloud, PC makers will also outline strategies to let customers access and synchronize their content over the Internet. Acer is one vendor that has said it will detail its cloud technology at CES, and Lenovo will provide more details about its plans to build cloud services.

Cars are also an increasingly big part of the show. Last year Ford introduced its new Focus Electric at CES, the first time it made such an announcement outside of a major auto show. The company has a keynote this year and has said it will demo its cloud-connected concept car, which syncs schedule and music, can beam data directly between vehicles, and monitors the heart rate of passengers, for the first time in North America.

The head of Mercedez-Benz, Deiter Zetsche, will also deliver a keynote, on "the interplay between automotive innovation and the digital realm," and other major names like Audi will be in attendance.

There will be plenty of new gadgetry on display in Las Vegas, with nonstop coverage from the army of tech press that descend on the town each January. But the halycon years of new must-have items -- CES was the launching pad for VCRs, camcorders, CDs, high definition TV, and products like Microsoft's Xbox game console -- may be over.

(Agam Shah in New York contributed to this report.)


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