CES: Exciting Tech to Watch

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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

Forget about the "consumer" moniker. The Consumer Electronics Show—commonly known only as "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–flat-screen displays in the form of digital signage, smart phones and wireless connectivity.

Here's a list of technologies 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 revitalize 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 cell phone coverage. Femtocells are designed to fix that problem. Is there a channel play 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.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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