Top 5 Technology Trends at CES 2009

CES can set technological trends for the entire year.
CES can set technological trends for the entire year.
© AP/Paul Sakuma

­Every year in Las Vegas, Nev., hundreds of electronics manufacturers, retail store buyers and members of the press descend upon the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding hotels for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The convention is essentially an enormous commercial -- it allows manufacturers to advertise products that will soon come to market. Companies can also unveil conceptual devices that may still be a few years away from mass production. The 2009 CES was no exception.

There's always a wide spectrum of exhibitors at the show. On one end, you have small companies that may offer only one or two products. These companies tend to occupy small booths crammed together in a corner of the showroom floor. On the other end of the spectrum are the big companies like Sony, Panasonic and Microsoft. These corporations use CES to showcase dozens or even hundreds of products. Their booths may have private rooms, multiple levels and even a professionally-lit stage.

You might think that the relatively tiny exhibitors have little in common with their gargantuan counterparts. The truth is that certain themes and trends stretch across the entire show, uniting some of the largest and smallest exhibitors in a common philosophy. The themes you see at CES can give you an idea of what to expect from technology companies over the course of the year. In past years, themes like portability and the rise of MP3 devices were prevalent. What were the themes of CES 2009? In no particular order, we'll look at the top 5 themes.