Jumat, 04 Januari 2008

The Mobile Internet, Other Technologies Sing Viva Las Vegas (Investor's Business Daily)

Mobile Internet devices, next-generation high-definition TVs and new and improved systems for watching video entertainment from the Internet on your living room TV are among the buzz-worthy products to be shown at this years Consumer Electronics Show.

The giant high-tech conference, known as CES, officially starts Monday and runs through Thursday in Las Vegas. CES is expected to draw 140,000 attendees and 2,700 exhibitors. Its the worlds largest consumer technology trade show and North Americas largest annual trade show of any kind.

Industry analysts say Internet-connected mobile devices will be one major focus of the show. Chipmaker Intel (NasdaqGS:INTC - News) will be touting its platform for mobile Internet devices, or MIDs. Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini is giving a keynote speech on Monday, when hes expected to discuss microprocessors optimized for handheld communications, ultramobile PCs and more.

"All kinds of mobile devices are taking center stage," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. "One big theme (of the show) is the Internet in your pocket."

Smart phones, GPS navigation devices and portable media players are getting wireless Internet access. And location-based services are becoming a more common feature in phones and navigation devices.

Cell phone maker Motorola (NYSE:MOT - News) plans to show off a mobile video player. The device has a 4.3-inch screen and shows live TV, on-demand video clips and programming saved on digital video recorders.

Handset makers will roll out their answer to Apples (NasdaqGS:AAPL - News) hit iPhone. Some might introduce phones running Googles (NasdaqGS:GOOG - News) Android mobile phone software.

Consumer electronics firms, including Sony (NYSE:SNE - News) and Matsushita Electric Industrials (NYSE:MC - News) Panasonic, will flaunt super-size high-definition TV sets to show their technological prowess and give a glimpse of whats ahead.

At this years CES, liquid crystal displays will take a victory lap, says Marjorie Costello, editor and publisher of Consumer Electronics Online News. Flat-panel LCD TVs are outselling plasma TVs by a large margin. And rear-projection TVs are disappearing from the market.

"Its pretty clear which display format has won," she said. "CES will put the exclamation point 14 how LCD rules."

LCD TV makers will trot out thinner models and larger screen sizes at the show, says Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group. Some will feature faster screen refresh rates for improved picture quality.

Waiting in the wings to give LCD a run for its money are organic light-emitting diode TVs. OLED TVs are whisper-thin, low-power displays that beat LCDs on color, contrast and side viewing angles.

But OLED TVs are small and expensive. Sony is selling an 11-inch OLED TV in Japan for $1,800. At last years CES, Sony displayed a 27-inch prototype OLED TV.

Samsung Electronics is expected to unveil a 31-inch OLED TV and a 40-inch prototype at the show.

Mitsubishi Electric will premiere its Laser TV. The technology promises crisper images and more accurate colors. Its targeted at the large-screen home theater market.

Also, PC firms such as Dell (NasdaqGS:DELL - News) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ - News) will be showing off fashionable computers to entice consumers. These include bright-colored notebook PCs and all-in-one, sleek desktop designs.

Chinas Lenovo Group will be unveiling its first consumer PCs. The company, best known for its ThinkPad business notebook PCs, has branded its consumer notebooks under the IdeaPad name.

Taiwans Asus Computer International will take the wraps off a notebook PC with 1 terabyte of data storage, the first such device.

Besides Otellini, other prominent speakers at CES include Microsoft (NasdaqGS:MSFT - News) Chairman Bill Gates, Comcast (NasdaqGS:CMCSA - News) CEO Brian Roberts, General Motors (NYSE:GM - News) CEO Rick Wagoner and Yahoo (NasdaqGS:YHOO - News) CEO Jerry Yang.

One major company not at the show is Apple. Its saving its product announcements for the Macworld conference Jan. 14-18 in San Francisco. Analysts say Apple could announce an ultralight notebook PC with a touch screen and a refresh to its Apple TV set-top box, possibly with online movie rentals.

Hollywood movie studios and other content providers could make a splash at CES by announcing content deals with hardware makers, says Danielle Levitas, an analyst with research firm IDC.

Online movie rental service Netflix (NasdaqGS:NFLX - News) and hardware vendor LG Electronics announced Thursday they are joining forces to develop a set-top box for consumers to stream movies and other video from the Internet to HDTVs -- bypassing the need to use a PC.

Netflix says it expects to reach similar deals with other consumer electronic companies. LG plans to deliver its networked player in the second half of the year.

Two formats competing to be the high-definition successor to the DVD also will be touting their content at the show. The major movie studios are split between Toshibas HD DVD and Sonys Blu-ray Disc. But on Friday, Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would support the Blu-ray format exclusively.

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