Cars, homes smarten up at Vegas tech extravaganza

Sat Jan 5, 2013 7:08am EST
 
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By Noel Randewich and Sinead Carew

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - At the world's largest technology conference that kicks off on Monday, the most intriguing innovations showcased may be gadgets and technology that turn everyday items into connected, smarter machines.

This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas promises a new generation of "smart" gadgets, some controlled by voice and gestures, and technology advancements in cars, some of which already let you dictate emails or check real-time gas prices.

Pundits have long predicted that home appliances like refrigerators and stoves will be networked, creating an "Internet of things." With advancements in chips and the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, it's now happening.

"We've been talking about this convergence of consumer electronics and computers and content for 20 years. It will actually be somewhat of a reality here, in that your phone, your tablet, your PC, your TV, your car, have a capability to all be connected," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Despite the absence of tech heavyweights Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp, CES still draws thousands of exhibitors, from giants like Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to startups hungry for funding.

Wireless chip maker Qualcomm Inc's CEO, Paul Jacobs, opens the festivities with a keynote speech on Monday, taking a spot traditionally reserved for Microsoft, which decided last year to sever ties with the show.

Jacobs said in a recent interview on PBS that he will show how wireless technology will be pushed way beyond smartphones into homes, cars and healthcare.

SMARTER SMARTPHONES   Continued...

 
Dave Mills (L) and Richard Halfpenny prepare an Audi booth in the automotive electronics area of the International CES show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada January 4, 2013. The annual CES electronics technology trade show is expected to cover 1.85 million square feet of exhibition space and attract 150,000 attendees. The show begins January 8. REUTERS/Steve Marcus