CES 2010: Smart books, speeches and Spider-Man

Government speakers and digital products take the stage at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show

As I pack my bags for the Consumer Electronics Show this year, I’m looking forward to scouring the Las Vegas Convention Center for anything cool and new that might pique the interest of the government IT community.

First off, I plan on attending a speech by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Wednesday night, 6:30 p.m. sharp at the Mirage Hotel. Last year, the hotel staff barred me from the speech. This year I plan on being a little early, taking a 5:45 a.m. flight from D.C. So fingers crossed, I’ll try to give you advance notice of the latest and greatest news from Microsoft. I will see you speak, Steve Ballmer. I will.

I could keep busy for a day or so just covering keynote speeches at CES. I’m planning on attending talks by White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, who will discuss innovation, and by Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski, who takes the floor Friday to talk about competition policy, wireless spectrum scarcity and broadband.

As always, technology companies use this week in January to unveil their new offerings. I’ll be trolling the show floor to report on the best and brightest.

Lenovo is announcing 20 new products at CES, so there will definitely be a flurry of news from the ThinkPad maker. The company is unveiling a new trend, the smart book, a mini-laptop that offers quick Internet access without weighing the unit down with PC functions. Lenovo also announced that it is using AMD chips in two ThinkPad models, instead of the usual Intel chips.

One of the big surprises this Christmas was the brisk sales for the Amazon Kindle, which has really heated up the whole e-reader market, including screens and software. Six or more companies will be displaying e-reading devices at CES, including Plastic Logic, Hearst Corp.’s Skiff and Entourage Systems. I’ll definitely be making a stop or two in that aisle and reporting on the display technologies I find there.

Zyxio is demonstrating breath-enabled technology that lets users control their iPod and other devices by breathing on them. Another use for the one resource my beloved hometown of D.C. is never short of: hot air.

And my inner comic book geek, of course, is thrilled to see that Marvel’s Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, is going to be at CES on Thursday. Maybe I can ask him for Spider-Man’s thoughts on Web neutrality.

This is just a sliver of what I’ll be seeing tomorrow through Saturday. To do justice to the proliferation of mobile apps alone would probably take months. I’ll try to keep you posted about my experiences daily at www.twitter.com/trudywalsh and also gcn.com.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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