CES 2010: Sin City Heats Up for Annual Gadget Show

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?

Not this week.

As tech players big and small gear up for the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they all hope that what happens in Sin City starting Wednesday, ends up in your living room.

This week, the world's biggest gadget extravaganza kicks off, and thousands of technology companies are expected to show off their best, brightest and (sometimes) most bizarre.

VIDEO: Becky Worley looks at what new technologies are coming in 2010.
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The Consumer Electronics Association, which sponsors the industry tradeshow, expects it to draw about 2,500 exhibitors and 110,000 attendees from around the world. While that attendance level is consistent with last year's, it's still below the 141,000-plus tally from 2007 and previous years.

But analysts, industry watchers and all-around technophiles say that though the event may be more intimate, it will still be full of hot new gadgets and big announcements.

"It's always an opportunity to take the pulse of the industry – to see what technologies and marketplace dynamics are driving new products," said Ross Rubin, a consumer technology analyst for NPD Group and ABCNews.com columnist.

Entertainment, Sports Celebs Lend Star Power

Celebrities from entertainment and sports have signed on to lend their star power.

Drew Carey, host of the CBS game show, "The Price is Right," is expected to appear in support his corporate cousin CNET. Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller and Milwaukee Brewer's baseball player Prince Fielder will make appearances. And rock musician Tommy Lee, actor LeVar Burton and others will also roam the showroom floor this week.

But, as always, the most buzz-worthy stars will be the ones with LCD screens, touch screen displays, multi megapixel sensors and other digital designs.

While analysts think it's unlikely that a single product will grab the lion's share of headlines, they say a single class of products will definitely be an area of focus.

"I don't think you'll be able to turn a corner without running into an ereader, tablet or something of that form factor," said Lance Ulanoff, editor in chief of PC Magazine.

Tablet Computers All the Rage

For the past few months, tech blogs and columnists have been trading rumors about hotly anticipated tablet-like computers that would let users watch video, surf the Web, comfortably read text and more.

Though a "mythical tablet" from Apple has garnered the most attention, analysts say a number of manufacturers are getting ready to enter the market.

Earlier this month, tech blog Slash Gear leaked specs for a multimedia tablet it expects product development firm Notion Ink to launch at CES. According to Slash Gear, the device (rumored to be named Adam) measures 6.3 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches and weighs in at 1.7 lbs.

The screen can be viewed indoors like a color LCD, or brought outside (like Amazon's Kindle e-book reader) with a grayscale mode. Other manufacturers, such as Dell and Lenovo, are also rumored to have tablets up their sleeves.

This week, Freescale Semiconductors announced a $199 7-inch touch screen tablet computer will debut at CES.

Ulanoff said he expects to see ereaders and tablets boasting a range of features, from traditional grayscale e-readers (like Amazon's Kindle) to computer-like tablets with richer functionalities.

Mobile Technology to Be Major Area of Focus

But he also said that mobile technology will be another major area of focus this year.

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