It's time for new gadgets at CES in Las Vegas
More than 20,000 new products will be shown by 2,500 companies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas starting Thursday.
Seattle Times technology columnist
Consumer electronic gadgets that may change your life
Plastic Logic's Que e-reader has executive touch
Microsoft unveils slate PC, motion sensor for Xbox games
Stars of CES: anything in 3-D
Google has its own phone and online store now
Get out the goggles: TV begins big push for 3-D
It's time for new gadgets at CES in Las Vegas
New award-winning gadgets at CES
Microsoft likely to talk games and music
Video: A netbook that fits in your palm, the Viliv N5
Video: When the CES televisions are coming to Costco
Video: Samsung MP3 player measures your stress
Video: Martial arts craziness at Casio booth
Skype videoconferencing coming to Panasonic TVs
Nokia issues $1M challenge to aid developing world
Blio is making e-reader software
How to get mentioned in a Steve Ballmer keynote
Microsoft will show up in Kia Sorrento on UVO
Photo of Microsoft booth
Up close to new HTC HD2 phone on Windows Mobile 6.5
Ford introduces new Sync Microsoft features
Natal, motion sensor for Xbox, goes on sale this year
Steve Ballmer pens a blog item at the Huffington Post
Livetweeting Steve Ballmer keynote at 6:30 p.m.
Toshiba says Cell TV will turn your 2-D video into 3-D
NYT: Ballmer will announce new tablet from Microsoft
Microsoft Office 2010 will cost $99 to $499
Microsoft goes to Vegas for CES
Photos: Most amazing TVs of the show
Video: Demo of new Kia Uvo dash stereo from Microsoft
CES: Rocking in the afterlife
CES: Graffiti says Steve Ballmer + Alan Mulally = BFF
Charity PC race, live video stream
Mobile digital TVs from Vizio, others for car, ballpark and?
Xbox "Game Room" demo -- the 360 goes retro, 8-bit
Intel's amazing "Infoscape" touch wall o' feeds
Windows 7 tablet looks like big iPod Touch
Wild art installation, or is it a TV display?
Obligatory huge TV pic - 152" ultra high def plasma
Power up with a home fuel cell generator
How about a 100 Mbps laptop card? LG's got 'em
Plastic Logic Que, the executive eReader
Lenovo takes early lead in 2010 Tablet race
Sprint's 4G "Overdrive" hotspot, with gang from Seattle
Samsung: TV, gadget sales to enter new dimension
Sony upgrading PS3 to play 3-D games and movies
Sony's home Web device unveiled — "not a tablet"
Microsoft slate/tablet computer on sale now!
Bargain TV maker Vizio unveils 3-D wireless sets, wow
Kirkland's Ceton releasing quad TV tuners for PCs
3D networks from ESPN, Discovery
Google Nexus ups ante for Microsoft, WinMo7 time?
A peek at Hearst's Skiff reader
CES Party List: John Legend, Twitter and not much more
CES preview: Xbox Natal, Orb rings and more ...
Photo GalleriesThe latest products and trends UPDATE
VideosDemo of new Kia Uvo audio system by Microsoft
CNET: Live at CES
3D leaping from TV screens at CES
Largest gadget fest recovering from recession
GadgetsNight vision camera for everyone
Play music with laser beams
Camera Masks for Ski & Scuba
Google Nexus One
E-readers and tablets hot items at CES
Sharon Chan on Twitter
Brier Dudley on Twitter
Las Vegas always seems like it's in another dimension, but this week it will be even more so when the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show takes place.
More than 20,000 new products will be shown by 2,500 companies starting Thursday.
They're expecting to sell $166 billion worth of TVs, phones, stereos and other gadgets in the U.S. alone next year.
You'd never guess the economy's limping and millions are out of work.
But gadgets are the new religion, objects of worship promising a better future, and the annual CES extravaganza is Mecca.
"I am more excited about this upcoming show than any one in 30 years," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association that hosts the show.
Shapiro said it's been a tough year-and-a-half for the industry, but innovation and products surfacing at the show may help the economy recover.
Attendance will be down about 15 percent, but there will still be 110,000 people at the show, including 43,000 retail buyers looking for products to sell in 2010.
Yet not everything electronic makes it to Vegas. Google declined to participate and is expected to announce a new phone at its Silicon Valley headquarters on Tuesday, and Apple's expected to announce its new handheld computing device a few weeks later in San Francisco.
Among the companies exhibiting at CES are more than 45 from the Northwest, ranging from Microsoft to Kirkland traffic data startup Inrix.
Behind the scenes, deals will be made between media, tech and electronics companies jockeying for a bigger share of the digital-entertainment business. Shapiro said a record 32,000 chief executives and other "c-level" executives will attend this year.
Maybe the bosses are just shopping for cool new toys.
Here are some of the big products and stories I'm expecting to come out of CES this week:
• 3D televisions and video players will make the biggest splash. After trickling out for years, 3D televisions will be mass produced this year by companies such as LG.
Hollywood's pushing things along by producing 3D versions of its major films, and the industry has agreed on a standard for discs that play movies in both 3D and high-def Blu-ray formats, avoiding another format war.
Expect to see new combo players that Blu-ray, 3D and standard DVDs. Hopefully they won't charge extra for the 3D glasses.
• Amazon.com's Kindle may seem quaint after this week.
Dozens of new electronic-book readers will be shown at CES, including new models with color displays, touchscreens and backlights. Manufacturers range from unknown Asian factories to heavily financed startups such as Plastic Logic, which is introducing its color "Que" e-book reader Thursday.
As Shapiro put it, the markets for large-screen devices like TVs and small-screen devices like phones are established. Now the sweet spot is in the middle: electronic book readers, tablets and other book-sized wireless, computer-like devices.
"There's a lot of action right there; there's jockeying for position," he said.
• Automotive computers and services, perhaps including broadband to the car, will be highlights.
Expect to hear about new capabilities added to Microsoft's auto platform that's used by car companies such as Ford. Keynote speakers include Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally (the former Boeing Commerical Airplanes boss).
Ballmer's also making an appearance with another former Seattleite: Sprint boss Dan Hesse, whose company is providing mobile broadband to Microsoft-equipped Fords.
• Lots of new mobile-TV receivers will be on display, including systems for receiving digital TV in cars and mobile phones that receive over-the-air digital TV broadcasts. They're not yet 3D.
• Microsoft's "Project Natal" motion controller for the Xbox 360 is likely to be one of the belles of the ball, especially if Ballmer reveals pricing and launch details — and demonstrates the system on stage at the Las Vegas Hilton. Sony's also likely to provide more details about its new motion-tracking input system for the PlayStation 3.
• Google's new phone won't distract too much from all the handsets expected to debut at CES. LG, Samsung, Motorola and Palm are expected to introduce new smartphones at the show, and Microsoft may (finally) show off Windows Mobile 7 devices.
• Best of all may be the wacky gadgets surfacing at the show, such as the Orb ring that vibrates and displays caller ID and messages from a wearer's phone and twists into a Bluetooth earpiece. Another contender is Jedi Mind's "thought controlled" game software, which uses a wireless headset to pick up brain activitiy.
Jedi's release said it "can detect emotions, expressions and cognitive thought processes which are then sent to the game and portrayed on the screen."
Can't wait to see that one.
Brier Dudley's column appears Mondays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.