CES 2009: What to Watch

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It might be called the Consumer Electronics Show, but there’s a lot of business-to-business activity and technology that will find its way from Las Vegas into the workplace. Here are the most exciting technologies coming out of the show.

Forget about the Consumer part of its name: the Consumer Electronics Show – commonly known by its abbreviation “CES” – is the biggest technology trade show in the world right now, making it relevant for businesses that serve other businesses, as well as those who serve consumers. Not to mention the fact that plenty of consumer technologies have migrated their way into the corporate setting: take, for instance, flat-screen displays, smart phones and wireless connectivity.

Here’s a list of technologies that were presented in Las Vegas at this year’s CES, that solution providers should keep an eye on in 2009.

Putting on the Green: plenty of manufacturers are focusing their CES efforts around green, eco-friendly technologies, taking about devices that sip power instead of guzzle it. For example, Toshiba was pushing devices including energy efficient LCD HDTVs and EPEAT-Gold rated laptops.

Batteries: although they aren’t the sexiest or most fun of gadgets, batteries are big news these days as businesses and consumers alike are looking towards energy efficiency, less environmental impact and extending the life of devices. Fuji was showing AA and AAA batteries that were 94 percent recyclable, lessening the environmental impact.

Batteries (part II): Energizer used CES to unveil a new battery designed to replace Lithium Ion batteries used in many consumer and business electronics today. Energizer’s Zinc Air Prismatic battery uses the same technology that’s used in hearing aid batteries. Energizer says this offers up to three times more runtime compared to similarly sized alkaline or Lithium Ion batteries. In addition, the cost is lower than Lithium Ion.

Mobile phones: all eyes were on Palm as it unveiled its Pre smart phone in the increasingly competitive field where iPhone is considered the brand to beat in terms of mindshare, and Google has released its Android iPhone killer. Early reviews: The Pre is impressive. The jury was out on whether it’s enough to revitalise Palm.

Netbooks: mobility is not just the job of mobile phones anymore. The netbook mini-PC category has garnered a lot of attention and has gathered much momentum in recent months with all the major PC manufacturers offering one or more entries in the space. For businesses, these affordable devices are often viewed as the ultimate PC for traveling because of their lightweight portability.

Femtocell: ever gone inside an office building and lost your mobile phone coverage? Well Femtocells are designed to fix that problem. Is there a channel angle here? That’s not yet clear. It looks like the devices will be offered by carriers on a fee-per-month basis. But if you work with customers on their mobile phones, you may be in luck.