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CEA Highlights CES ’10 Features, Changes

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), producer and owner of the International CES, held its annual press preview, here, earlier this month, highlighting some of the main events scheduled for the show and announcing several updates.

The updates include an additional major keynote speaker, an international retail panel, more “Tech Zones” highlighting up-and-coming categories and an official car for the 2010 International CES, to be held in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10.

As previously reported, the show’s main venues this year will be the Las Vegas Convention Center/Las Vegas Hilton for most exhibits while the Venetian will be used mostly for high-end audio. The Sands Convention Center will not be used for the first time in several years.

Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, and Karen Chupka, CEA’s events and conferences senior VP, both highlighted the fact that the show will draw 330 new exhibitors for the 2010 event, but sidestepped the usual questions about estimates of total exhibitors and estimated attendees.

Shapiro said CES for 2010 will “not be as big as this year or the year before … similar to other major trade shows.” He did highlight that most major companies are still exhibiting and that Philips, Mitsubishi and Sanyo are back as show exhibitors.

Chupka was hesitant about comparisons with last year because the pre-registration system is different from last year and, due to the nature of the economy, more potential attendees and exhibitors are making plans for the show now, rather than earlier in the year.

For what it’s worth, CEA has been estimating during the year that there will be 110,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors from 130 countries attending. That compares with 2009’s audited numbers of 113,085 attendees with CEA estimates of 2,700 exhibitors from 140 countries.

Dr. Paul Jacobs, chairman/CEO of Qualcomm, will deliver a keynote address on Friday, Jan. 8, at 11 a.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Center and will discuss the FLO TV technology among other issues. In effect, he replaces Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, who was scheduled to deliver a keynote at that time but recently canceled due to a scheduling conflict, according to Chupka.

Jacobs joins Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA; Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia; Zhou Houjian, chairman of Hisense Group; and Alan Mulally, president/CEO of Ford, as CES keynoters.

Speaking of Ford, Shapiro announced that the 2010 Ford Taurus has been named the official vehicle of CES, where the company will announce enhancements to its Ford Sync communications and entertainment system.

There will be a global retail panel during CES. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, X-cite CEO Srikant Gokhale, Systemax’s technology products group CEO Gil Fiorentino, and Gary Severson, senior VP and GM of entertainment for Walmart Stores U.S., will discuss worldwide CE retail trends with Shapiro during the show.

There will be 10 CE Spotlight areas at the show, highlighting different technologies and concerns revolving around the industry including Sustainable Planet at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall.

The CES TechZones showcase 21 different upcoming categories and technologies where suppliers and their products are grouped together to gather the attention of attendees and the media. Among the categories with TechZones are digital health and wellness; e-books; 3D TV; HDMI; HD powerline communication; Home Plug; Mobile DTV; products for kids, mothers and seniors; netbooks; and robotics and more.

And Monster Cable’s Gary Yacoubian, strategic development VP and chairman of CEA, announced with Monster’s Kevin Lee that singer John Legend will headline its annual CES concert, held at the Paris Ballroom on Jan. 8.