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Top 5 Technology Trends at CES 2009


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Convergence
Panasonic's Internet televisions featuring Viera Cast are an example of televisions converging with computers.
Panasonic's Internet televisions featuring Viera Cast are an example of televisions converging with computers.

Convergence has a special meaning in the field of technology. It refers to the trend of different technologies evolving to fill the same function. This usually involves two different approaches to meet the same set of consumer needs. Ultimately, convergence might mean these two different technologies will merge into one.

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For example, smartphones are becoming increasingly powerful. The latest smartphones on the market have WiFi capability, a GPS receiver, a powerful operating system (OS) and a library of applications ranging from music players to productivity software. Meanwhile, portable computers are shrinking. The introduction of netbooks -- generally defined as computers with a 10-inch (25.4 centimeters) or smaller screen and limited processing capability -- took CES 2009 by storm. The result was convergence: Phones looked more like computers and computers looked more like phones.

Phones and computers weren't the only devices that seemed to be on a collision course. Practically every television manufacturer at CES had an interactive TV on display. These televisions paired native processing capabilities with the power of the Internet. Many used widgets -- small programs dedicated to simple tasks like displaying weather reports. Others, like Microsoft's MediaRoom technology, blurred the lines between watching television and accessing the Internet.

Perhaps the best example of convergence at CES 2009 was the LG GD910 watch phone. The watch phone featured a simple three-button interface, Bluetooth capability and 3G compatibility. The watch phone received a lot of buzz during CES 2009 -- the sleek design and simple interface impressed many people.