The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

CES: Four technology trends

January 6, 2009 |  5:47 pm

Robot LAS VEGAS -- The good folks at the Consumer Electronics Assn. were kind enough to give us clueless journalists a CliffsNotes version of the Consumer Electronics Show taking place here this week.

As the world's largest technology trade show, CES is regarded as a good place to sniff out trends. Though a few of these trends are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, they do show how technology has seeped into every pore of our lives. Without further ado, here are CEA's four predictions of what's hot at CES, and in the consumer electronics market, this year.

  1. Green gadgets: Though not new, environmentally friendly electronics will generate more buzz this year than ever. However, consumers are confused about what all that means. According to a CEA survey conducted last year, 40% of shoppers were confused by green marketing claims, 60% said they wanted more detail about what those claims meant and 65% believed companies overstated their green credentials. Companies that answer this confusion and skepticism face potential reward: More than half of consumers said they were willing to pay an average of 7.5% more for environmentally friendly electronics.
  2. More-intuitive interface: The revolution that Nintendo created with its Wii video game console and Apple with its iPhone will spread. Consumers will be able to talk to, make gestures at or manipulate their gadgets like never before. Though keyboards won't disappear, the number of ways people can command their devices will expand.
  3. Cutting the cord, but adding strings: Gadgets will increasingly come with fewer cords and accomplish more tasks wirelessly. But devices will increasingly come with "strings" -- services that sometimes require users to pay an extra fee to use. Think subscription service for real-time traffic information on a GPS.
  4. Internet everywhere: The ability of gadgets of all sizes to connect to the Internet and download or stream content will be more prevalent in 2009. Nearly all Blu-ray disc players, for example, will come with the ability to retrieve additional bonus content. Sling Media can now deliver your local TV programs to your iPhone.

Will consumers embrace these trends? You decide.
-- Alex Pham

Photo by genewolf via Flickr